Ayurveda is known for its very outstanding unique concepts which we generally don’t get to know in any other science. One of such concepts which feels surprised about the precisions of Ayurveda science is ashta vidhi ahara visheshayatana. In simple terms this means eight basic considerations while choosing or having food.
Let us have a quick peep at the details of all the eight factors.
- Prakruti – the word meaning of prakruti is ‘nature’… So it means nature of the food taken… This refers to the inborn quality of the food like heavy, light etc…. Like for example, black gram is heavy for digestion by nature but green gram is light for digestion, similarly if we see, pork, beef etc are heavy for digestion but meat from arid regions are light for digestion…. In the similar manner, we can categorise the food ingredients based on the basic nature… Apart from heavy and light, there are other qualities like unctuous or dry, cold and hot potency etc… Based on this we can these we can choose the best food for us…
- Karana – this is nothing but the method of processing food… Like eg- processing using water, heat or fire, the container used for cooking etc… All these have an impact on the quality of food we prepare differently…
- Samyoga – combinations of food articles or raw materials used for cooking… Some combinations when done are beneficial while some combinations are fatal like for example, when honey is combined with water and taken, it can help reduce obesity but when the same honey is combined with equal quantity of ghee, it can be called virudha ahara and is not recommended.
- Rashi – this is nothing but the quantity of food… Having adequate quantity of food, not more not less is very very important for the maintenance of health.. this is again of two types, quantity of food as a whole and quantity of individual ingredients taken to prepare that food.. all of them matters.
- Desha – this refers to the place where food is grown… Like for example, food and medicinal herbs grown in the Himalayas are said to be very potent, food grown in dry, Jangala regions are very light for digestion and on the contrary that grown in anoopa or marshy land is in general heavy for digestion…
- Kaala – kaala means time… So this refers to the time of consumption of food… This can influence our doshas too. here, time refers to both, time of day, season etc… And also time of disease progression or disease condition. What food to select greatly depends on all these time factors..
- Upayoga samstha – These are nothing but general rules for intake of food.. like eg- following the hunger cues, eating only after previous food is digested etc… There are separate rules for method of having food which need to be followed under this category.
- Upayokta – This refers to the person who is consuming the food. Like eg- the body constitution and prakruti of the person, his disease and dosha status etc. This consideration is highly customised and depends on individual person having the food.
So, these are the eight rules. This is just a bird’s view of all of them.. each of them are huge enough to be discussed seperately.
This clearly indicates the vastness of dietetics and it’s importance in Ayurveda.
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Happy time !!!!