Why is it important to follow a natural diet?
Insights from the Yogic & Ayurvedic diet perspective.
Natural diet consists of whole, unprocessed, living foods that come directly from nature and are eaten fresh, slightly and freshly cooked. Seasonal and locally-grown ingredients, fresh vegetables and fruits are part of this category and constitute the optimum diet that one may apply in their everyday life.
To answer the question of this article, I would say that it is essential to follow a natural diet in order to stay healthy and avoid, relief or cure metabolic disorders. Our connection to nature, physical exercise, proper relaxation, sleep and rest, quality time and a proper mental attitude are a few important factors for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Regarding nutrition, food should be taken raw or slightly steamed or cooked, well chewed and easily digestible. Ayurveda says that "you are what you digest", not "...what you eat", as others say. This means that eating raw all day might be good for someone, but not so beneficial for someone else who might need warm, oily food to feel grounded and therefore bring balance in their system. Therefore there is not one way of doing it, as long as you always listen to your body and always ask yourself whether your eating habits are the proper for you.
In addition, the quality and quantity of food we eat is very important, alongside the regularity we eat during the day. The food we choose to put in our body should be fresh and alive. Food that is artificial, sweetened, processed, packed, frozen, cooked the previous day, reheated the next day and overcooked are not only a source of dead nutrients but they also take from us a lot amount of energy in order to process and digest that food. Consequently our energy decreases and if we eat these kinds of foods regularly we will feel tired and without energy the most of the time, while forcing our liver to over-work. Additionally, if we eat junk food or if we overeat, our liver has to do a lot of work in order to filter our blood from the bad food we had consumed and to separate the things that our system needs or don't need. This process requires a lot of energy from the liver and therefore we might feel tired, lucking mental energy and clarity. On the physical level, the overwork of the liver might decrease its effectiveness and consequently cause other diseases.
Moreover, when we eat heavy or junk food, or when we eat an excessive amount of food, then all the energy goes to the stomach for the digestion process and therefore we have not enough mental energy to perform our daily actions with ease. On the other hand, for those who are on their spiritual journey, this will affect their spiritual practice and meditation because of the luck of clarity and proper attention & focus in the mental level.
Many foods may also affect our emotions, especially when we eat dairy and meat. According to the way that animals are treated nowadays for the sake of mass production and over consumption, the pain and feelings of animals are transmitted to the products we eat. Considering the low frequencies created under these conditions, animal products are quite dangerous for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
According to Ayurveda, dead flesh is a tamasic energy, which is a lower vibrational energy. Therefore when we eat any kind of food that vibrates in these levels, then most probably our body will vibrate in that level too. On the other hand, regarding dairy products, it is important to know how they are produced, how the animals are treated for their milk, and what is the intention behind the production. If you choose to continue eating dairy you might need to find this out yourself, especially if you live in Europe or in the U.S. where mass production is happening. In Asia things are much different, as the cows are treated in a much different way. They are considered as holy and nobody is allowed to harm them in any means. Therefore you need to investigate how things work in the area you live and wether is possible to find someone who produces dairy products in an ethical way, maybe a small farm or a family farm where animals are treated like family and are happy to give some of their milk to their people. If that sounds difficult for you, then maybe you should consider going vegan.
Now, lets talk about superfoods. Superfoods that are not local or seasonal they are actually not so beneficial for you for two particular reasons: firstly, they may not be compatible with your DNA, and secondly, when a tropical fruit travels from the other side of the world to arrive in your plate, it looses its vital energy that would otherwise offer to you if you were in its country of origin. I remember myself, when I travelled to Sri Lanka my breakfast meal was a whole papaya fruit, which I still remember its aroma and taste, but I never buy it in the local stores here in Cyprus. Why would I do that anyway?
The Ayurvedic and Yogic diet are a well designed system where all 6 tastes and 5 elements are included in one's meal and that makes one feel truly satisfied and content, while receiving at the same time all nutrients through the most proper and balanced combinations of seasonal, locally-sourced food. In this way, our dietary habits and other habitual patterns may unlock or create diseases that exist in our cells, which we have taken from our parents. Therefore we can choose a healthy diet to prevent this to happen alongside the environment we live in.
So go ahead and choose local and seasonal whole foods, and feel that satisfaction when you support small local businesses, while tasting the fruits of your country's soil. This is a blessing in itself, do not waste it!
© Christina Georgiou