Really? Does food can really act against body? Isn’t food meant to be nutritive and to work ‘with’ the body and not against? Here I am not talking about foods which are inherently unhealthy but the foods you will never consider of potentially harming nature. Still confused? Will you ever once think that milk can be a culprit for a disease? (don’t count some of the congenital anomalies in which a person is ‘allergic’ to milk which are very much rare). Well! In certain conditions it is! But culpability here goes to these ‘certain conditions’ and not milk as we usually hear – it’s a condition which makes a person look good or bad.
Ayurveda conceptualized all these conditions in one – viruddh aahar, in which food items, apparently looking good, act against our bodies.
Viruddha literally means opposite and aahar is a Sanskrit word for diet. Ayurveda had laid down some basic rules for where, when, how and which diet should be taken. Let’s call it, ‘code of dieting’. And when we break this code a nutritious food items even as highly as milk or fish or meat can become a cause of a disease.
There are about 18 types of ‘viruddh aahar’ like combination of two food items which are individually healthy but a resultant combination is potentially harmful to body or certain cooking processes like heating can change the ‘healthy’ nature of certain foods or eating food which you are not accustomed to or food items which when taken during specific time period of a day can predispose to diseases.
Simplifying this, it’s a concept of food incompatibility which results as a breaking of ‘code of dieting’ so that an actually healthy, nutritive and nourishing food turns into a health injuring one.
Definition of ‘viruddha ahar’
We call a diet ‘viruddh’ when it causes following two pathological processes to happen –
- Accumulation of too much doshas that body is unable to get rid of them by usual excretory measures.(you can call them toxins for general understanding)
- Causing direct harm to dhatus like blood-muscle-bone tissues etc which ‘holds’ our body against degeneration.
(For basic concepts of Dosha, Dhatu please go through my post ‘Ayurvedic system of Health. No knowledge is waste. It will help you understand your body better and make you healthy)
So viruddha ahar, causes accumulation of harmful toxins in body without excreting them out and starts affecting the normal tissues of human body, making it prone to diseases.
This is a very important concept to keep in mind as we are coming together as a global community and diet is becoming more and more complex with intermixing of different food cultures with uprising concept of ‘twist of taste’, giving American twist to Indian food and vice versa. And this is what I actually call ‘Awareness’ towards diet and towards our health.
** This is the first post of this series and is for general understanding of this concept. I will be posting a detailed account and practical examples in coming posts.
Let All Be Healthy & Happy!