A Yogic diet is that which helps the aspirant to keep the mind calm and to curb the restless indriyas. A Yogic diet helps him to squeeze out the rajas from his mind and fill the mind with sattwa and to practise unceasing meditation. All the indriyas should be filled with pure mateials. Then only the mind will attain one-pointedness. Then only it will become pure. Then only you can attain self-realisation. The eyes should see the picture of your Ishtam or any other holy object. The ears should hear the Upanishads, Ramayana or Bhagwat. The tongue should speak of matters that concern God. These are all pure materials or food for the indriyas.
The right kind of food is most important. Half the illnesses of the nation are due to an ill-balanced diet. There is no mystery about diet. It can be learnt very easily. A correct diet is fundamental factor in the maintenance of perfect health and a ghigh standard of vitality. Good food is not expensive. And well-balanced diet is not costly. It is knowledge of dietetics that we hopelessly lack. The Ministers of health should tackle this problem of diet for the young, adults and the convalescents. The Board of Education should train experts in dietetics.
Unwholesome stale food or any of unsuitable diet or drink produces irritating poisons in the blood which causes various kinds of disorders. The liver and the kidneys are taxed by high or luxurious living. Rich people who lead a life of dissipation suffer from organic diseases of the liver and the kidneys. They have to pay a heavy penalty, because they have violated the laws of nature and the rules of health.
Drinking alcohol affects the liver. Eating meat, beef, etc., affects the kidneys/ Nature puts a check on the man who violates her laws by inducing chronic structural diseases of vital organs. If you take too much of sugar or sweetmeats, you may suffer from diabetes and you are forced by nature to give up sugar. This is the punishment by Mother Prakriti on her impertinent children who transgress her laws. As all palatable food is tempting man takes more food than is actually necessary for the upkeep of the body. He eats three times as much as is necessary to keep him well. He unduly overloads his stomach. He loses control over the tongue and the power of discrimination when he sits in front of the tempting dishes. He says : “I must eat to my heart’s content today. It does not matter even if I load my stomach and suffer from dyspepsia. I will take a strong purgative and a dose of some carminative mixture in the morning”. Mark here! How powerful is the tongue! How powerful is Maya!
The nature of food that is taken determines the character of individuals. Carnivorous food makes men callous and bestial. It excites the passion and renders the intellect gross. A meat-eater cannot become a philosopher and a sage. His intellect is so dull that he cannot solve the problems of life herein and hereafter. The intellect is rendered keen, subtle and sharp by a vegetable diet. A vegetable diet is highly conducive to sublime thinking and divine contemplation. It gives greater vitality than animal foods. Beans, tomatoes, potatoes, raddish, carrot, ladies fingers, cucumber, drumsticks, spinach, green leafy vegetables are all pure, delicious and nutritious food and can be taken with much advantage.
The diet should be carefully well-chosen and arranged. Condiments, tea, coffee, alcohol, foods that are rich in starch, sugars and fats, an all stimulating drinks should be avoided. Fresh fruits, salads and raw vegetables, cheese, nuts, cereals, whole meal bread, soya beans, dried fruits, cream, milk, barley, honey, dates, almonds are highly beneficial. Raw foods make better blood and build better bodies and should therefore make up at least eighty per cent of the diet. Live on juicy fruits for a week. This will help greatly towards the elimination of impurities from the system. Raw foods are better than cooked ones. The former are more vitalizing than the latter.
Indigestion or dyspepsia induced by an unnaturally heavy meal or unwholesome irritating food or unsuitable diet will cause all kinds of reflex effects on the nerve centers. Masticate the food slowly. Eat only when you are hungry. Eat slowly. Drink plenty of water after finishing the food. Do not drink water between meals as it will dilute the gastric juice and will cause indigestion and other stomach complaints.
The mouth is the gate-keeper of the digestive system. It should always be kept sweet and clean by rinsing the mouth with a solution of potassium permanganate several times soon after taking food. It the mouth is kept unclean, if the food particles are allowed to stick in the crevices of the teeth, pyorrhea with its concomitant complications will result. Many germs breed in t\an unclean mouth. Cleansing of the teeth is of paramount importance. Chewing of a few neem leaves keeps the mouth sweet and clean. Neem leaves act as a powerful germicide. Cleanse the teeth with mustard oil and salt. This is a very useful combination.
We require a variety of foods with a variety of contents and properties. Variety in food is necessary but too many different kinds at one time are not good. The fewer the kinds the better. Mother Prakriti provides judiciously and amply all our needs and varies the contents of foods in accordance with our needs.
A simple diet, containing a minimum of unnecessary food or waste, will throw less strain upon the kidneys than a rich diet will do. Proper diet ensures healthy and supple tissues by preventing the accumulation of waste in the system. An eminent doctor says : The perfect food consists of honey, cream, hot water, oat – meal, lemon juice, grated apple and ground hazel –nuts which contain all the vitamins”.