THE NUTRIENT CALLED HAPPINESS

Sometimes, others know more about us than we know about ourselves. The external world with its ever increasing demands on our time has alienated us to ourselves. Our urban lifestyles do not allow us moments of calm. Even when we are alone, we allow ourselves to be disturbed by negative thoughts and emotions. We try to look for unhappiness even though all is well with us. Our happiness depends upon the possessions of those around us. `Neighbours envy, owners pride’ applies so aptly in todays context. We have all become `consumers’ consuming ourselves in the bargain. This leads to a lot of unhappiness. The food that we eat affects the body at the physical and mental level.

FOOD FOR THE SOUL


In order to be truly healthy, you not only have to eat in balance, but also maintain a balanced state of mind. Your mind will be in a state of balance if you are at peace with yourself. This will happen if you have performed all your duties correctly. You have a duty towards your parents, towards your children, towards the people with whom you live, towards your work, towards society, your country and humanity. But most of us perform our duties towards our work because that is where you earn money and get recognition. We often fail to spend sufficient time and effort with our near and dear ones or with those who needs us. This creates unhappiness within us. Just as certain foods like fruit juice and vegetable juices have a cleansing action on the body, keeping a positive attitude will have a cleansing action on the mind. You can easily get rid of physical blockages for eg constipation (by taking more fiber in your diet or by taking laxatives. Similarly you can get rid of mental blockages like jealousy, hatred, greed and anger (which cause more harm than physical blockages) by having a positive attitude. In yoga. it is said that the disease first enters the mind and then seeps into the physical body. For e.g. no amount of fiber, water of laxatives help some people to get rid of constipation. These people are usually stressed, wound up, constricted, disturbed, hi strung and can develop chronic constipation, ulcers, heart burn, acidity, acne, skin infections, eczema, bleeding from the nose (Remember Shahrukh Khan in Asoka) Therefore cleansing of the mind is as important as cleansing of the body. When you are able to do that you can be truly happy.

Food for the body

There are numerous ways of looking at the health benefits of food. My personal belief is that calorie counting is a very superficial way of looking at food. It amounts to looking at the colour of the car and not its machinery. While counting calories does play a small role, the effect of the food on the body is more important. Certain foods have a cooling effect, others are heaty or mucous forming or stimulating etc. The method of cooking, reheating, size of the vegetables that are cut, all have a definite effect on the nutritive value of the food. If a food has no nutritive value it is equal to junk. It is important for you to know that your mind and thinking process can be influenced by the type of food that you eat. In other words, you are what you eat !

HEALTH WISDOM

  • Eat only when you are hungry. Don’t eat just because it is meal time. You must keep an interval of atleast 4 hours between two meals. So roughly you eat your breakfast at 8.00 a.m, lunch should be at 12 noon, evening snacks at 4.00 p.m. and dinner at 8.00 p.m. Your breakfast can be light or heavy depending upon your physical activity.
  • Eat in a relaxed happy and a positive state of mind. Your body cannot assimilate nutrients from food when you eat in a disturbed state of mind.
  • Be conscious about what you eat. Observe what effect a particular food has on your system. Whether it causes gas and acidity or it is cool, easy to digest and refreshing.
  • Eat food with a certain amount of detachment. I know a lot of people who are so passionate about food that they are hungry only for certain foods. When regular food is served to them, they lose their appetite, become unhappy, depressed and sometimes even begin to feel sorry for themselves for having to eat `basic food’. Basic food is food in its most natural form like fruits, salads, whole grains, brown rice, whole pulses etc. You must eat food for the nutrients that it offers you not because of its

When you eat natural foods you will slowly acquire a taste for them too. Remember, the human body is very forgiving and will not collapse if you choose to eat wrong occasionally, but if you stick to food which is as close to its natural form as possible, your body can remain in good health.

To sum it up, the food that we eat does provide our body with calories and nutrients.  But it cannot NOURISH us unless eaten with a positive attitude and in a happy state of mind ! 

(As published in Hindustan Times dated March 30, 2020)

March 30, 2020

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