Why do We eat
Food is not only fuel for the body, but it also gives a lot of other nutrition which is required to run various internal body functions. So it is not just about energy or fuel. Also the body is actually made of billions of other cells which are separate living creatures. They also need nutrition and fuel. It is only if all the cells are healthy that we are able to function properly. So actually, we are feeding billions of lives, not just us. In turn, these lives help us remain healthy.
When we eat, the food is processed in stages. Very broadly, food is processed in four stages:
Stage 1 – The first stage is chewing. Most of the digestion, in a sense, actually happens in the mouth. If you chew your food well, digestion and absorption is much better. Not chewing your food well creates a lot of problems.
Stage 2 – The food then enters the stomach. In the stomach the food is processed in a manner that the intestines can use. The stomach is quite flexible and can comfortably hold between one to two liters of food and drink. It can also hold up to four liters of food and drink if you have overeaten. However, it cannot contract properly to digest the food properly. That is why, eat less so that the stomach and digest properly.
Stage 3 – The digested food then enters the intestines. The intestines absorb the required nutrients. Whatever, the body thinks may come in use later is also retained and gets stored as fat.
Stage 4 – Elimination. After digestion and absorption, all that is not required or non-digestible is eliminated from the body.
Fasting is Recommended at Times
There are various schools of thought which recommend fasting. It is supposed to cleanse the system or give it a rest. Ayurveda and naturopathy also suggest fasts based on your body’s state. It could be either a fruits fast or only liquids fast or a total fast. The role of fasting in Ayurveda is related to preventive and curative purposes for certain types of conditions. Some people fast once a year for a few days for religious purposes. Some fast by eating one meal a day. There are various such combinations.
Do Not Fast
There are benefits of fasting, however, the question to be asked is why do we reach a stage where we need to fast in the first place? Why do we need to cleanse or give the stomach a rest? We also get digestion related problems and stress related problems which impact digestion. If we are eating correctly, we do not need to fast at all. Not only that, we actually bring in imbalances in the body by fasting.
As seen above, we have seen the role of food and how it nourishes billions of lives. The problem starts when we eat incorrectly. That is why we have explained the digestive process as well. If we eat correctly, nothing unwanted builds up in the body or nothing goes wrong. In fact, you can eat every day of your life without missing a single meal and be much healthy than people who fast.
We therefore need to know how to eat correctly. Some of the following guidelines can help you:
- Eat less at every meal
- Eat every three to four hours
- Each meal should have a liquid which cannot be water, tea, coffee, alcohol, soft drinks or juices
- Chew very well. If this goes wrong, everything else goes wrong.
- Your last meal should be early and the lightest meal of the day.
- Eat healthy and nutritious food.
- Eat balanced. We need a combination of all nutrients.
If we follow all of this, the body does not build up any unwanted bacteria, fat or toxins. You will always remain in a state of health. It has been found by yogis and now corroborated with evidence, that if you eat like this, you do not need any cleansing or fasting. Why trouble the body if it is not required?