Combine foods the right way, says Ayurveda

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Do you have problems maintaining your weight? Do you visit a doctor often for some ailment or the other? Does your food choice affect your digestion, elimination, or energy levels? Maybe you are not eating the right foods in the right combination, says Dr.V.C Ajith Kumar, Director and Principal Consultant of Ayush Ayurveda, Singapore, Little India Branch. He elucidates in the Ayurveda way, how to identify the food combination that would be beneficial to us and not be disruptive to our system.

The doctor says that whenever we take up a resolution to lose weight or maintain good health, we should choose a diet that will have supportive food combinations. “Begin with just one change at a time. Never go in for food combinations, you are not sure of,” says Dr. Ajith Kumar. “If you begin with fruits, go with it alone, no other food should be combined with it unless you are very sure of its effect together, ” says the doctor of Ayurveda.

Diet Plan

Any progress should be gradual, only then the diet plan would prove to be beneficial for healing and improved health, explains Dr. Ajith Kumar. The Ayurvedic doctor gives us a few tips on a good diet plan:

  • Never go in for improper food combinations.
  • If you already have the wrong foods, try to reduce the frequency.
  • Go in for the right combinations, gradually
  • Ayurveda gives you certain good combinations, learn and choose foods wisely.
  • Also, needs and habits should be addressed as they are specific to an individual. Find out what food combo works right for you
  • Lastly, evolve a plan and focus on changing a little at a time when you begin.  

Dr. V. C. Ajith Kumar says that many are unaware of the right food combinations. But, in Ayurveda, this is the basics and it is very important that people should know how to eat properly or learn what is right for them, explains the doctor. “It is the path to self-discovery.”

Digestion, energy levels

The doctor of Ayurveda at Ayush, Singapore is of the opinion that the body will rejuvenate itself if digestion is good and to improve digestion, one has to be aware of the right combination of food, points out Dr. V.C. Ajith Kumar. “For instance, people eat fruit with cheese or beans. This is incorrect as the combinations do not go well and severely affect digestion,” explains the Ayurvedic doctor.

Dr. V. C. Ajith Kumar elaborates on the Ayurvedic perspective about each food and its distinct taste and energy levels and in turn its effect on digestion as a whole. The doctor emphasizes that if foods are combined at random, due to their differing energies, it can cause indigestion, gas, and ama as it overwhelms the fire of digestion or Agni. But this food combination is not akin to simple mathematics and solely depends on the individual’s vata, kapha, and pitta balance in the body explains the doctor of Ayurveda in Singapore.

What we have now understood, says Dr. V. C. Ajith Kumar, an Ayurvedic physician, says that agni or gastric fire is very important as all that we consume has to get a GO from it. From there the nutrients and minerals reach the different parts of the body and individual cells to keep us alive.

He elucidates that any food has its own taste – rasa, energy – virya, digestive effect – vipaka. There is also another unexplained effect called prabhava for each food. That is why we insist on the right food combination, explains the Ayurvedic physician.

Food combinations

Elaborating on the same, Dr. Ajith Kumar gives us some examples of food combinations. “Milk is not compatible with bananas, cherries, melons, sour fruits, yeasted bread, yogurt, meat, fish, and eggs.  For instance, when bananas (sour taste) are eaten with milk (sweet taste), it produces toxins. It might cause a cold or cough as both foods cool the body. Unfortunately, they also confuse the digestive system and create an imbalance,” explains the Ayurvedic physician.

Dr. Ajith Kumar gives another example of the milk and melon combination. He explains that while milk is a laxative, melon is a diuretic. “The stomach releases more acid to digest and melon and this acid will cause the milk to curdle. Therefore, we are against milk-sour foods combination.”

The Ayurvedic doctor gives us various right and wrong food combinations in our daily life. Read on:

  1. Yoghurt can be had with grains and vegetables but not with fruit, beans, milk, cheese, eggs, meat, and fish.
  2. Eggs can be had with grains and non-starchy vegetables but not with milk, cheese, beans, potatoes, meat, and fish
  3. Fruits can be eaten with fruits that have similar characteristics. Eg: citrus goes well citrus and apples with pears.
  4. Lemons are tolerated by other foods but it is to be used only in small quantities or as a flavoring.
  5. Grains should not be had with fruits. Beans, vegetables, other grains, eggs, fish, nuts, and seeds go well with it.
  6. Vegetables cannot be tolerated with fruit and milk but are good to go with grains, beans, cheese, yogurt, meat, fish, nuts, and eggs

Taking it a bit further Dr. Ajith Kumar says that leftovers should be had only with leftovers from the same meal (should not be more than 24 hours old). Leftovers should never be taken along with freshly cooked foods, warns the doctor of Ayurveda. “Raw food goes well with raw food and never with cooked food.”

Mitigating bad combos

Dr. Ajith Kumar explains the various factors that can mitigate the bad food combination effect.

  • Strong digestive fire
  • Ratio of foods that are mixed matters
  • Addition of spices and herbs
  • Cardamom can be added to coffee & pepper can be added to potatoes
  • Eating salt, alkalis, grated ginger, and ghee and sipping warm water will aid good food absorption

The doctor of Ayurveda advises that one should not eat till our stomach is full. Leave it 1/3 empty. The other 2/3 should be filled with food and liquid. Only then we will have good digestion, he recommends. Always be careful about what you eat, he says. “Heavier the food, the more difficult the digestion will be. But, we do need heavy foods too. Be aware of your needs, when you eat. Seize the moment and use it wisely,” suggests Dr. V.C. Ajith Kumar, Ayurvedic physician, Ayush Singapore

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