India has consistently revered its ancient traditions and customs and Indian gastronomy is distinctive, with the fundamentals of cooking, the ingredients and general method of preparation setting the guidelines.
In the Vedas it is said that, “From earth sprang herbs, from herbs food, from food seed, from seed man.” Therefore, according to the great Aryan cosmic cycle, the eater, the food he eats and the universe must be in harmony.
Good eating according to Vedic food culture emphasises that:
1. One should eat warm, unctuous and fluid food, served in an elegant manner to create the congenial and aesthetic atmosphere for its consumption.
2. Food should be prepared with a variety of ingredients, to balance the different rasa (taste) and enriched with herbs and spices. The preparation of food should take place with a peaceful mental state.
3. Never consume food under stressful circumstances or under any emotional restraint.
4. Before your meal, bring your mind to your food, which is the fundamental basis of body's energy. Look at your food and make a wish that the five elements of the food may provide you with equilibrium, vigour and good health.
5. The meal should not be eaten too slow or too fast. One should not speak with food in the mouth.
6. Drinking water, either before or one hour after the food is recommended and not with food.
7. One should never eat anything before the previous meal is completely digested. It is seen as unhealthy to eat, when the body is still in the process of digesting the previous meal. It is also advised that one should not eat anything for at least four hours after a meal. A gap of 10 to 12 hours between dinner and breakfast is advisable, and a gap of at least two hours between dinner and going to bed is seen as beneficial.
8. The quantity of food ingested during a meal should ideally fill the stomach two-thirds and not completely. Eat to the limit where you feel comfortably satisfied. Over filling or overeating will leave undigested food in the stomach and intestines, leading to toxicity.
The Ancient Vedic texts used food to classify all reality:
“Food . . . and eaters of food, that’s all there is.”