Thursday, November 27, 2014

Getting the Most From the Eating Season

From Thanksgiving in November through December, it is one big eating fest.  Even if someone does not celebrate Christmas, food is everywhere- the grocery stores have special holiday type foods for gifts and gatherings and there are office parties.  It is a season with a tempting emphasis on food.

In Ayurveda, food and its effect in the body are vital for good health.  'Ojas' are derived from the food we eat, the water we drink and our experiences.  In Ayurveda, ojas is described as a subtle force that keeps the body, mind and senses continuously refreshed. It is always at work.  Therefore, the food we eat and how we eat help cultivate the life source and spirit within our bodies.  Specifically, ojas are sourced from all the bodily tissues as they metabolize the nutrients we consume.  Ideally, when the food is pure and suited for the season, time of day and individual physical constitution, the net result is abundant ojas.

The experience of eating is just as important as the food we eat.  When we share food with others and eat in a pleasant environment, like we do during holiday seasons, we gain energy and balanced health for our body.  A recent study found that those who shared meals more often as children scored higher on the altruism scale, exhibiting positive social personality traits like giving directions to strangers, offering their seats on public transportation, helping their friends move, and volunteering in general.  Sharing meals as a child meant family meals where the food is served on platters that everyone takes from.  Additionally, those that ate meals together three or more times a week were more likely to be in a healthy weight range, have healthier eating patterns and eat healthier foods.  Clearly, eating in an environment where frequent family meals are routine and valued results in benefits for both youth and adults that extends beyond good nutrition. 

Ayurveda and science show the get togethers and happy eating are good for us.  To get the most out of this season, eat with a happy spirit and make food choices that won't make you regret the time spent with family and friends.  People sometimes forget that the fun isn't really the rich, indulgent food.  It is the sharing of food and time together.  Eat with purpose and consciousness to build your ojas and to build the ojas of the people you care about.

Stay healthy & well,

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