Natural & Healthy Living

Updated after inputs from a Doctor, who is also a devout Sri Vaishnava.

The human body is a wonder of nature.  Our Acharyas and ancestors lived along with nature and lived hale & healthy for a long time. But these days, in the guise of fighting for and leading a so called Luxurious life has resulted us in becoming unhealthy at a very young age. Nothing can be a bigger pointer than doctors advising people aged just above 35 to regularly undergo checks. (My grouse is not against the doctors, but the unfortunate situation we have put ourselves in.) I chanced upon to read few books on healthy & natural living and have attempted to write down the best ideas from them. Along with the information in the books, I have added my own observations too. Please feel free to leave your thoughts (health professionals especially) and correct adiyean wherever wrong.

Spices

The following tips might not relieve you of all ailments, but they very well help in our body becoming naturally healthy, so we are better prepared to avoid illness and recover quickly and naturally, when we fall ill. It’s just a natural way to take the body to healthiest possible.

Daily Activities

  • Early morning 4 to 6 is Brahma Muhurtham. At this time the atmosphere is charged with energy. Getting up in this time helps us gain this wonderful energy.
  • Get up with a small Prayer of your favourite slokam or the Dhvayam.
  • Wash your face and Splash cold water on your eyes for 8 – 10 times. This helps your eyese refresh & relax.
  • Drink a glass of plain water or warm lemon water (withour Sugar) the first thing in the morning.
  • Practice Pranayama for 5 – 15 mins. I have practised and felt Nadi Shodhan or Anuloma Viloma to be very useful. Joining Yoga classes that help you understand the basics would be very useful.
  • Chant the “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna” mahamantra for 15 – 20 mins. Keep uttering the Lord’s name right through the day.
  • Bathing – Remember bathing in lakes / rivers? Early in the mornings the water is just little warm, in noon it’s mildly chill. This is the ideal temperature for bathing, just a little warmer or colder than room temperature. Never boiling hot or too cold.
  • Whenever possible, prostrate before the Lord fully (Sashtanga Namaskaram) as many times as possible and try to walk as much as possible. This will not only save transportation costs but also increase your good cholesterol (HDL).
  • In the evenings also chant this Mahamantra in evenings. This helps us relax after a tiring day and also get a better sleep in the night.
  • Never sleep immediately after eating.

Food

  • Needless to say, Home cooked food is the best. Avoid readymade foods – the 2 minutes stuff, preserved gravies, fry & serve foods, etc – please don’t consider such readymade food to be home cooked.
  • Cooking in Mud Pots – I have been trying it for past 6 months and it is definitely not as difficult to use as one might feel. In-fact its easier than stainless steel – After cooking the food inside remains hot much longer, while the pot is just warm enough to serve / handle. Food tastes much better when cooked in pots. I have observed food doesn’t either rapidly heat of get cold in a mud pot. I have a feeling food should not be rapidly heated or cooled to preserve its nutrient value. And when the pots get old, just break it in your backyard and it just decomposes – extremely eco friendly. I can assure it is completely worth the effort of searching a potter and buying it.
  • Traditional Indian foods often have medicinal values (For ex: Ragi, Kambhu dishes). Internet is abound with many recipes for traditional Indian food (This blog might be useful). A lot of booklets are also available. Once you get an idea of nutritional value of foods and the recipes, you might very well find it very interesting and rewarding too (with good health).
  • Try to eat more of uncooked and partly cooked vegetables, do not drain away all the water after cooking. Ratio of food should be: 2 parts of vegetables to 1 part of rice or chapathi and 1 part of protein in the form of sambar and/or curd. Do not eat fruit at the end of the meal but may be in the evening or at the time of going to bed (light quantity only at night).
  • Always eat in a relaxed way and enjoy your meal. When you chew your food well, you can digest the food much better and easily.
  • Please have your dinner by 7.30 pm. There should be a gap of at least 2 hrs between night food and sleep.
  • Use Silver Plates / Jugs. Here’s a scientific proof to silver inhibiting growth of bacteria. Copper jugs too can be used for water. Plantain leaf for food is preferable. Avoid plastic plates / spoons – especially with hot dishes.
  • In case you are dining outside, the following tips can help. The thumb rule is to start and end with something healthy & easily digestible. Start with fresh salads (please don’t think why spend so much on just vegetables / fruits; health is invaluable). Go for gravies with a lot of vegetables or something simple like Dhal etc. Choose breads made of Atta instead of Maida (Roti instead of Naan). Drink warm water, or if you are not comfortable, plain water, avoid Chilled water. But the best is to drink warm / plain water half an hour before or after meal and not while eating. If you have dined heavily, make sure to eat lightly with fruits & vegetables the next day.

Sleep (Some are from my personal observations too, feel free to share your thoughts)

  • An average person’s sleep requirements vary from 7 – 9 hours. When your body gets the right amount of sleep, you would wake up much fresher & active. Track & identify the number of hours required by you over a period of 2 or 3 weeks and tweak your sleep schedule accordingly.
  • I have observed I have a much better & sound sleep when I calmly lull myself into sleep for 10 – 15 mins and also wake up much fresher. During days when I was already very sleepy and just crashed into bed and slept off, I couldn’t sleep well and woke up earlier and feeling less active or fresh. My theory is that along with your body, we need to slowly relax and calm down our minds too for a better sleep, it’s not just the body alone. This is just my personal observation. Feel free to leave your thoughts in comments.
  • Avoid using Computer / TV / Mobiles / Tablets at least 60 mts before you go to sleep. This may be difficult, but please do try. It is very, very helpful.
  • During the 10 – 15 mins I lull myself into sleep, I do nothing other than just chant the wonderful “Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare! Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!!“. I also wake up with the same Mahamantra. (You may chant any mantra that is close to your heart.) Starting and ending the day thinking of Lord Sri Rama, gives me so much calm all through the day.

This is just my humble attempt in helping readers lead a healthy life. Please feel to share your views and correct adiyean wherever wrong. I also encourage to share your experiences  / tips cooking in Mudpots. It would be very useful for others too.

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27 thoughts on “Natural & Healthy Living

  1. thank you very much for such a nice advise.i am already 50+ . As you have pointed out i am getting up early in the morning around 0430 hrs,and washing my face ( not splashing )and cleaning the tongue , start dhyanam .My sleep is very good , but concentration is very less.Any way practice is on… i will post your advise to some of my close friends .thank you once again

    adiyen ramanuja dasan

    • Swami,
      Thank you for the kind words. Please make sure you get adequate sleep. When we are deprived of sleep, under-eaten or over-eaten, we would not be able to meditate properly. And always pray to Sriman Narayana & His divine consort and only then start dhyanam.

      Adiyean Dasan.

  2. Sir can we take Onion and garlic or we have to avoid these two because vaishnavas are resitricted to eat onion and garlic please explain.

    • Adiyean would humbly say that you might be the best person to answer it. If devareer’s health is fine, you may choose to leave out Onion, Garlic. But if devareer is ailing or feel you need to improve your health, you may eat it so that we are physically in a better position to serve The Lord. This is just my humble opinion, may not be right too.

      Adiyean.

      • Adiyean humbly feels that Onion, Garlic are not at all required when we have so many multitudes of other choices ! As a Srivaishnava I suggest one to do away with these two for his/her own good. .Of course taste differs …each to his/her own !…

        Adiyean.
        Ramanuja Desika dasan

      • I agree one 100 % to Sri Ramanuja Dasan’s answer. we need to maintain good health by consuming the natural medicinal herbs and vegetables which would definitely prevent frequent visits to Doctor.

  3. Swami, thanks, as usual, for your post which is really informative and useful. I would like to mention the following from my own experience:
    1- Adequate sleep, as you say, is very important. Go to bed early and get up early. Kindly avoid using the computer and TV at least 60 mts before you go to sleep. I know in this day and age, particularly for youngsters this may be difficult. Kindly do try. It is very, very helpful.
    2- Moderation in food – never eat to fill your stomach but keep it a little empty when you get up after eating food. Please have your dinner by 7.30 pm. There should be a gap of at least 2 hrs between night food and sleep.
    3- Combine ALL your activities with prayer to Sriman Narayanan, always. Keep uttering the Lord’s name constantly (it should be as spontaneous and continuous as breathing) like the tambura sruti during a concert.
    4- Recite the sloka, ‘Ramaskandam, Hanumantham’ before going to bed and imagine that you are in the sanctum of your favourite temple looking at the Lord. Keep thinking of Him and keep uttering His name. Sleep comes within few seconds and you sleep soundly without bad dreams and when you get up you feel refreshed.
    5- Try to eat more of uncooked and partly cooked vegetables, do not drain away all the water after cooking. Ratio of food should be: 2 parts of vegetables to 1 part of rice or chapathi and 1 part of protein in the form of sambar and/or curd. Do not eat fruit at the end of the meal but may be in the evening or at the time of going to bed (light quantity only at night).
    6- Prostrate before the Lord fully (Sashtanga Namaskaram) as many times as possible before the Lord’s photo (or Pooja Room) and try and walk as much as possible. This will not only save transportation costs but also increase your good cholesterol (HDL).
    May Sriman Narayana help all of us to reach Him using this physical body which He has given us as a gift to think of HIm and be with Him eternally in Sri Vaikuntam.

    • Swami, Thank You for taking the time to read and offer your detailed and valuable suggestions. Adiyean has updated the post with your suggestions, so that all might benefit from it too.
      Adiyean Dasan.

  4. Dear Swami, good thoughts. As they say, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind!
    I have one suggestion for devotees who find it tough to fall asleep (something better than counting sheep!). Think of all the names of Vishnu and Lakshmi from A-Z and I can guarantee that by the end of it, there will be a blissful period of sleep! 🙂
    Adiyen

  5. Swami, one more comment in addition to the above. We can recite Nammalwar’s hymn ‘UNNum sOru, parugum neer, thinnum vetrilai ellAm Kannan’ before eating any meal. This will automatically prevent us from eating bad food and ensure we eat only the required quantity of proper food. This may not be apparent first, but, slowly and gradually the craving for unhealthy food disappears. This is from my personal experience.

  6. Swami thanks for the valuable tips given. I would like to add one more information which is to take up zero oil cooking and in my experience it makes one feel light and energetic.

  7. If I can follow just a small portion of what have been mentioned here I feel it would benefit me both physically and mentally. Thanks for sharing such good points so well.

  8. hello sir,this is really nice tips to start a day.you said you are doing some pranayama.could you plz tell me some basic pramnayama or something to calm myself.i am always filled with thoughts sometimes its very negative. i just want a calm mind what to do.thank you Adiyean Athulai ramanuja dasyai.

    • Please view the link given near Pranayama in the post. But it’s always better to learn Pranayama from a qualified teacher. Regards meditation, it does help us stay with a positive and calm mindset. But incase we stop meditation, the calming effect slowly goes away. But once we learn & understand that nothing in the universe happens without Sriman Narayana’s knowledge, and that He is always with us, we can live positively and calmly forever. The best would be to meditate as well as keep our mind involved in Sriman Narayana. Hope this helps.

      Adiyean Dasan.

      • ….. But How ??… It defies Adiyean’s logic !People mentioning these two as if they are a kind of Ambrosia from Heaven is quite amusing, to say the least !!… :-))
        Adiyean.
        Ramanuja Desika dasan

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