“The Chinese and Japanese drink hot tea with their meals, not cold water. Maybe it is time we adopt their drinking habit while eating”. This is a message that is doing the rounds where it talks about heart attacks.
This is a warning for those ice water fiends. Having a glass of iced water after your meals has been declared a negative intake. It says that the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just eaten and slow down the digestion. Once this ‘sludge’ reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will then line the intestine, turn into fats and lead to other problems like obesity and cancer. The advice is to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal; a little warm water at least 15 minutes before you go to sleep will keep you cheerful and healthy say the pundits.
Our systems, rituals and traditions were based on sound logic and health aspects were taken seriously even in the balancing of dishes cooked for a meal.
Okay! It is the fashion, taken from the West, that anything that the Japs and Chinese do is fashionably the ‘in’ thing to follow. People have forgotten that it was also the Indian habit to drink warm/hot water with meals—have you noticed that the Pandits and Sastrigals, who eat at Shraddams and other ritual meals, always ask only for hot water. Sukku (dry ginger) water was the prescribed antacid and liberally consumed by all.
The custom was to drink water from earthenware pots in which cardamom and a dash of dry ginger was added. Water was also avoided with meals…only the pariseshanam (A ritual where a palmful of water is sprinkled three times around the platter of food ) before and after eating was performed by drawing a line of water boundary around the banana leaf or eating plate. This was to prevent insects from creeping into the food. Water was advisedly drunk only half an hour after you got up from the meal. This prevented the digestive juices from being diluted.
Food was always eaten hot and cold food was consumed only on picnics or while travelling. For long travels sattu ma was taken and mixed with water and eaten along with fruits. Leftover food was never eaten and only after refrigerators came in did this habit enter our system. Society was so beautifully structured that you did not throw away the leftovers but fed it to the poor who came in the night asking for alms or animals like cows and dogs.
The days in a fortnight of the waxing and waning of the moon’s paksha also had an impact on the digestive process and energy levels in our systems…therefore there was fasting, palaharams or fruit or a light meal. Specific vegetables were prescribed for those days. These fasts were implemented by linking them to religious beliefs and deities.
Alas we have set aside all those customs and depend on Gelusil, Digene, Enos, Ranitidine and Omez to set our stomachs right. In Tamil we have a saying ‘Kan ketta Pin Surya namskaram‘. What is the use of doing the powerful Surya-namaskar yoga after the eyes have been irrevocably damaged?
It is ‘healthy’ to note that an awareness—I agree started by the West—is now being created for our system of eating, treating and curing. The derogatory references to ‘jadi booti’ or roots and herbs and ‘Patti vaidyam’ Grandma’s medicines are no longer heard in protest when it is administered by the older generation. Even many Allopathy doctors in India are asking patients to remedy eating habits along the old regimes by eating traditional grains and ingredients.
All news about health, eating tips and good living habits are most welcome. It is also good to check out the resonance that these tips have to our habits and customs and then adopt them.