Ten Ways to Feel Energized by Food
Eat Foods with High Prana
Prana is the vital energy present in fresh vegetables and fruits and pure air that we breathe. One of the reasons for eating is to import or imbibe prana, so choose foods high in prana. More fresh vegetables and fruits will give an immediate energy boost. It's important to cut the vegetables and cook them fresh at every meal. Buying pre-cut vegetables means that you have already lost some of the prana. For that reason, buy whole vegetables and fruits for maximum vitality.
Eat Organic or Locally-Grown Foods Whenever Possible
Organic foods have more prana than foods exposed to chemical fertilizers and pesticides. If your body has to work hard to purify the chemicals every time you eat, you'll feel fatigued and toxic.
Locally-grown foods are higher in prana, because they don't have to be shipped or stored and can be bought tree-ripened. There is another reason to eat locally-grown foods — they mirror the ratio of the five fundamental element levels in the climate in which you live.
One ayurvedic principle says that having equal proportions of the elements is always enhancing. Locally-grown herbs, fruits, vegetables and dairy products will have a more powerful and energizing biological impact. Herbs and plants grown in the desert are more helpful for the people who live in that kind of dry, hot climate. This principle doesn't apply to grains or beans, which are grown in different regions. If you can't get locally-grown veggies or fruits, it's better to eat imported produce. The point here is that if you have a choice, buy or grow local produce for more vitality.
Favor Food With High Life Force and High Intelligence
When possible, choose fresh produce over food that is old, or heavily processed. Less life force is left in these foods. Frozen, canned, packaged, processed, bottled, fermented or leftover foods provide less nourishment for the body, or often has been altered with chemical preservatives and flavorings. Foods with these qualities are more difficult to digest and can create ama, which clogs the body's channels and creates fatigue. Choose food that is fresh, whole and unaltered by chemicals or harmful processing methods.
Eat Energizing Foods
Besides fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, an energizing diet includes whole grains such as quinoa, barley and amaranth. For protein, organic milk, lassi (a yogurt drink), and panir (a fresh cheese) are energy-producing. Almonds, cashews, or walnuts are an excellent source of protein if they are soaked first or cooked with the grains to make them more digestible. Split Mung Dhal and other small or split beans are an excellent source of protein. Some delightful foods that are also excellent sources of protein are Date-Milk Shake and Rice Pudding.
Eat a Variety of Foods
Be sure to rotate your selection so you are always getting a wide variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins and flavors. Maharishi Ayurveda recommends that you eat all six flavors — sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent — in every meal. If you are getting bored with your food, or if you are having cravings for unhealthy foods, that's a clue that you are not getting all six tastes. Use Maharishi Ayurvedic spices to add more flavor and fun.
Cook with Energizing Spices
Cooking with spices makes the food more digestible and creates energy. The ayurvedic way to cook with spices is to sauté them at low heat in olive oil and ghee, then stir them into steamed vegetables, cooked grains, or soupy dhals. An alternative method is to sauté the spices in ghee or olive oil and then sauté the raw vegetables, grains or dhal. Add water and cook until tender. Choose spices that are recommended for your body type. Or use Organic Calming Vata, Organic Cooling Pitta or Organic Stimulating Kapha Churna, which are ready-made spice mixtures.
Avoid Energy-Draining Combinations
Avoid foods that don't digest well when combined, called mutually contradictory foods in Maharishi Ayurveda. According to the Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians, combining the following foods creates ama and low energy:
- Milk and salty, sour, bitter, pungent or astringent tastes. The only taste that combines well with milk is some foods from the sweet taste, such as sugar, dates, honey, rice or wheat. For this reason, it's better to drink milk separately from your meals.
- Milk and fish.
- Milk and eggs.
- Milk and yogurt.
- Ghee and honey (when mixed in equal parts).
Drink Energizing Pure Water
Drinking lots of coffee, tea or caffeinated soft drinks may give you a false burst of energy, but caffeine taxes the liver, creating a toxic build-up and fatigue. It's better to drink beverages that clear toxins from the channels of the body, allowing the free flow of prana to revitalize the brain and organs. Raja's Cup and Organic Calming Vata, Organic Cooling Pitta and Organic Stimulating Kapha Teas are energizing beverages to choose from.
Minimize Restaurant Eating
If you must eat out, choose your restaurant carefully. Keep an eye on the ingredients and cooking methods. Are the ingredients fresh or frozen? Are leftovers served? Are there healthy oils? These are the questions you can ask. If you are traveling or eating out a lot, take Herbal Di-Gest after your meal to improve your digestive power.
Eat in a Settled Atmosphere
Maharishi Ayurveda recommends that you eat in a settled atmosphere to gain maximum vitality from food. If you talk on the phone, watch TV or conduct a business meeting over lunch, your food is not going to digest properly. It will probably create ama, which is the cause of dullness and fatigue. Eating while standing, walking or driving also creates ama rather than energy.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.