We celebrate the art of everyday cooking as a sacred experience. It’s not just about mixing in spices and veggies. There is something more. It also a science also of healthful living. The Vedas, especially Ayurveda describes in great detail about nutrition, biology, hygiene, and medicine.
We shouldn’t be surprised to see bodily health discussed in spiritual writings as these sacred texts consider the human body a divine gift, which gives us an opportunity for mindful and conscious living.
Here are a few guidelines for good eating taken from the Ayur-veda and other scriptures.
Ethical, environmental, spiritual and healthy reasons for being vegetarians
1) Over 90 percent of all grain produced in America is used for feeding livestock – cows, pigs, lambs, and chicken – that wind up on dinner tables. Furthermore, for every sixteen pounds of grain spent for feeding the livestock grown for slaughtering, we get back only one pound of beef.
2) If every American go on a meat-free day per week, it would be the same as taking 8 million cars off American roads.
3) 1 person going vegetarian for 1 year reduces 3,267 pounds of CO2 emissions (equivalent to savings from all household equipments for 1 year), feed 5 times more people, save many lives.
4) 55 billion animals are slaughtered every year for food.
5)We have limited ability to deal with cholesterol or saturated fats. As meat is consumed, over a period of years, fatty deposits accumulate on the inner walls of arteries causing arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, thus increasing the potential for heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots.
Following the practice of Bhakti yoga, our food is consciously cooked – based on principles of purity, non-violence and balanced living. We sanctify the food, offering it to God, which is called prasadam, meaning the mercy of the Lord. This sattvic (goodness) diet, which refrains from meat, eggs, alcohol, caffeine is most conducive for spiritual growth. What really inspires us how a plate of freshly cooked spiritual food can be an expression of love and devotion.
Vitality and strength depend not on how much we eat, but on how much we are able to digest and absorb into our system. The stomach needs working space, so instead of filling it completely, fill it just halfway, by eating only half as much as you think you can, and leave a fourth of the space for liquids and the other fourth for air. Moderate eating will also give satisfaction to your mind and harmony to your body.
According to the Ayur-veda, fasting strengthens both will power and bodily health. An occasional fast gives the digestive system a rest and refreshes the senses, mind, and consciousness. Most of members fast every fortnight – on Ekadasi, the eleventh day after the full moon and the eleventh day after the new moon, by abstaining from grains, peas, and beans.