Science Behind Food Rituals
It is well known to all of us that food, shelter and clothing are considered to be essential commodities in everyone's life. They are the basic needs and one ought to have them. In their absence, life becomes difficult and uneasy. Among food, shelter and clothing, food takes the number one spot and it becomes most essential commodity for survival. It is necessity of life and no one can imagine a life in its absence. Body requires fuel to produce energy and this energy is essential to do work. Food acts as a fuel which will produce energy. It fulfills nutritional requirements of body. Body requires lots of different nutrients in different amount for its well functioning. Some of them are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins etc..... Food consumed helps body to carry out all its functions properly by supplying required nutrition in adequate amount. This time to time replenishment of all the nutrients help body to work efficiently.
Food is always considered to be very essential for our well being and thus since ancient times it is compared to God. God looks after all our activities and helps us to carry forward our lives by blessing us with enough strength and courage. Similarly, food too provides energy and heat essential for us to do work and remain healthy. Such is the importance of food in our lives. Thus, out of respect, we make efforts not to waste it and utilize it to the fullest. Poor and needy who are often deprived of food can be best served if we offer them something to eat. This is considered to be the best service one can ever provide. Feeding hungry and quenching the thirst of thirsty is like serving God. In human society, there has always been special customs and traditions practiced since ancient times with respect to obtaining and consuming food. They followed traditional rituals to consume pure and rich-energy food for healthy living. These traditions that we are following since ancient times which are related to food are not only important from aspect of spirituality and provide mental contentment but also well accepted scientifically today. Thus, if today's generation who are non believers in traditional practices and consider them to be old and of non importance should understand that they all of them have a scientific purpose behind them. We were told to practice them without actually been told the purpose behind them. Thus, we did not find it acceptable and started moving away from our traditional practices. However, now we have to understand the meaning and purpose behind these practices and there by we will find them easy to follow.
We are what we eat. Thus, right from ancient times, man has given lots of importance with regard to preparation before cooking, while cooking food and then consuming it. Place where food has to be cooked should be clean, free from any microbes or dirt. Not only the area has to be clean, environment should be pure. Purity should not only be taken in physical aspect. Today most of us buy clean, fresh produce of fruits and vegetables, clean grains and cereals, give importance to maintaining cleanliness in our kitchen and dining area. However, this is just not enough. All these things are very important. Right from ancient era importance was given to cook fresh produce. It was a pollution free era and thus they easily obtained every thing that was pure and fresh. All their produce in farm were free of insecticides and harmful pesticides. Grains and cereals they obtained were all free from adulteration. Today, however we struggle to get such products. Organic products are available but are way more expensive than our pockets can afford. People from ancient era knew the importance of freshness and healthy living. They cooked in pollution free environment and area was clean and tidy. The whole environment was pure both physically and spiritually. The person who cooked food use to chant spiritual mantras or sing devotional songs or think positive thoughts. As each thought radiates and spreads around easily, thus positive vibrations would easily get radiated and the food that was being cooked also would acquire it. That food was when consumed by others would instill in them same amount of positive vibrations. However, today we all give more importance to maintaining cleanliness outside rather than inside. We purchase clean and fresh products, cook and dine in clean area but how pure is the environment in which we cook and dine. First and foremost the environment around us is completely polluted from outside and our internal environment too is not very pure. We often cook in hustle-bustle and stress. We may try our best to make it as healthy and as tasty as we can but still we suffer from ill-health. This is because our thought were not right. We while cooking or serving or even while eating were not calm and stress free and thus food we prepared too carried same sort of vibrations and this food when consumed by others then they too received the same sort of vibrations. Thus, we need to learn not only regarding the importance of maintaining cleanliness and purity outside but also regarding maintaining cleanliness and purity inside.
Earlier when the food was been prepared, first it was offered to God and then it was served to everyone in the family. Now some can consider it to be just a practice where tradition is involved but it has scientific meaning behind it. When food is served to God, each and every person creates positive thoughts in their mind. It makes them internally pure. These positive vibrations spread around and the food consumed in such a peaceful, positive environment is high in energy and very helpful to the body. It becomes rich in energy and far more beneficial than the food which is been consumed in environment which is full of stress and tension. Such food hardly gets digested and is no way beneficial to the body.
Earlier people would practice a few more traditions related to food. Once food was offered to God, it was served to everyone in the family. Before consuming it, each and everyone in the family would chant spiritual mantras which were high in energy and would practice certain rituals related to food and water like keeping a portion of food from their plate aside for offering it to cow and all these practices consumed 3-5 minutes. Now from scientific point of view, these rituals again created high positive energy in body which will aid in efficient digestion which in turn will extract maximum nutrients from the food which will bless them with good health. Another thing is within this duration of 3-5 minutes, when rituals were been carried out the smell and sight of food triggers salivary gland to produce lots of saliva. As we all know, digestion first begins in the oral cavity and saliva is essential as it aids in digestion. In this way, lots of saliva excreted mixes up easily with the food that is been consumed and would ensure proper and complete digestion. Another fact is since food is first offered to God, an individual consumes it in the form of prasad and this feeling will make him enjoy food. It will taste at its best and will be high in energy.
Earlier eating together was a tradition that was very commonly followed in each and every family. Each and every one in family would get together and consume their food. This feeling of togetherness instills lots of positive vibrations in the environment. It brings contentment and a feeling is instilled in each and everyone that they are not lonely and in times of happiness and sadness others are there for them. However, today this tradition is no longer followed in our society. Time is an issue which often comes in between as a hurdle to carry out this tradition. All the members of the family follow a different time schedule as per the timing of their schools, colleges or offices. Thus, nobody has the time or patience to wait for others and eat together. Hardly one can see existence of joint families today and if there exists any then all of them follow their separate pattern of life styles. Even in nuclear families which comprise of hardly 3-4 members, it is seen that members of family do not eat together. Scientific purpose behind eating together is love and compassion that we get from elderly members of our family as well as of those around us and this instills positive vibrations in us and as the amount of purity and pure thoughts increases in an individual, it exerts positive effects on his digestive system.
Earlier not only care was taken to prepare and serve food in pure and clean environment, care was also taken that while food is consumed, everyone is at peace both internally and externally. As soon as one would sit to begin eating their food they would leave their work aside and concentrate only on food. Even they would never create a thought about their pending work or difficulties they are going through. Thus, stress was not created in them and they would remain at peace both internally and externally. However, today we all live a stressful life. We do not have time for ourselves as well as we do not have time for our family. We even while consuming our meals, work on something. If we are not working then either we are playing games, using mobile phones or watching television. Thus, most of our attention is towards these equipment's. Even internally we go through a lot of chaos. We constantly keep creating thoughts about the work that we have to complete and regarding other issues in life which are bothering us since a long time. This creates a lot of stress and tension within an individual. It is been proved scientifically that the food which is consumed in peaceful and stress-free environment is very easily as well as effectively digested when compared to food that is being consumed during stress which gets hardly digested and most of it is excreted unused.
People in earlier times would follow a strict timetable of eating. They made sure that they ate every meal of theirs at fixed timings. This helped a lot in digestion. If we are feeding our digestive system at fixed time everyday, it gets designed to do its work timely. Improper amount and untimely feeding will disturb its efficiency to do work. This is what is happening today. We do not have time to feed ourselves and thus we go for fast foods which are very small in portion size as well as lack in nutrition. We sometimes eat early whereas other times delay eating. Follow an eating pattern which suits our work schedule. This creates lots of acid production in stomach which is responsible for acidity and heart burn. Lots of stomach related disorders and diseases too are seen commonly. We need to follow a strict timing of feeding ourselves no matter how busy we are or no matter how fast our lives are running forward in this hustle-bustle environment.
Earlier people would follow a healthy diet which was full of nutrition. They would consume lots of fruits, raw vegetables. They would include sprouts in their diet. Dairy and dairy products were given lots of importance. Thus their meal was a complete as well as rich as it was full of nutrients. Their daily nutrient requirement their body demanded would be very easily met by their diet itself and required no extra supply of nutrients in the form of capsules. They suffered from no sort of nutritional deficiency. However, today our diet lacks nutrition and our body lacks health. We do not eat a complete meal. We go for fast foods and unhealthy deep fried foods which may be rich in taste but lack nutrition. We eat unhealthy and live a very unhealthy life style. This has affected our health.
Today science has proved that we need to wash our hands and legs before consuming meals. Hands need to be cleaned properly and thoroughly as they come in contact with food that we are going to consume. Any dirt or dust present on it will enter our body and will become a matter of concern to us. On the other hand, microbes present on our hands enter our body and causes various diseases. Thus, for our well being washing hands is recommended just before consuming meals. Legs should also be washed. Though most of us do not do that and are ignorant with the knowledge that how helpful it is for our digestion. We avoid washing our legs as we think it is totally unnecessary since this part is no way going to come in contact with food. However, a few decades back it was a compulsion or tradition to thoroughly wash hands as well as legs before consuming food. Reason behind washing legs is, it increases efficiency of working of digestive system. Our digestive system will work more efficiently. Even acupressure technique has proved that there are hundreds of acupressure points on our palms and feet. These when pressed for certain duration increases working efficiency of different parts or different organs of our body.
For us traditional practices are rituals and thus we disobey to practice them as the real meaning behind performing them is not known and thus not told to us. Each and every tradition that was been started had purpose beneath it. Similarly all the practices that were carried out related to food were just not rituals but had meaning in them. Scientific research been done proves their importance. Whenever a traditional practice been asked for us to perform, we have to ask for its importance and when importance is known, we should with both hands embrace it and follow it to reap its benefits. All the rituals our elders performed related to food have a purpose beneath them. We need to understand them and try to follow them for our healthy well being.
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