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Ayurveda Advocates Sweet Beginning

-Most of the cuisines across the world put the dessert in the end but
Ayurveda advocates to begin the meal on a sweet note.

A chapter in the Sushruta Samhita, one of the main texts of Ayurveda,
deals with the order of tastes involved in a meal. As per Ayurveda one must
consume a sweet at the outset of a meal, something sour and salty in the
middle, followed by pungent, bitter and astringent eats. Ayurveda also asserts
that the body can?t do without sweet completely. It’s important for tissue development.
Having even a bite of a sweet before vegetables and chapati/rice aids in the absorption
of -vitamins better and improves the digestion
process. And thus as per Ayurveda it is best to start your meals with a sweet- a sweet beginning!-

Sweet beginnings

Menus put desserts at
the end, but Ayurveda wants you to begin your meals on a sweet note

Whether it’s regular
dal-roti-sabji or a lavish eight-course feast, the sweets always have to wait
till the end. In fact, the word ‘dessert’ originated from the French word
‘desservir’ which means ‘to clean the table’. But who’s complaining?
Habitually, long after you have polished off a sumptuous meal and the brain has
sent out satiety signals, there’s always room for that baked cheesecake.

However, while we
have been habituated to satisfying our sweet tooth after a meal (the
post-dinner walk is often an excuse to stop by at the local ice-cream vendor),
Ayurveda argues that the sweet should come first.

“The sweet taste
acts quickly on the taste buds and saliva. Eating the sweet item first enables
the flow of digestive secretions,” says nutritionist Supriyaa Nair.
“If you eat sweets at the end of meals, you are slowing down your
digestion.” If the idea of gobbling a gulab jamun before roti-sabji doesn’t
agree with you, having even a bite or two of a sweet before vegetables and
chapati or rice will help you absorb vitamins and nutrients better.

Besides, says Nair,
eating dessert at the end means that the empty calories and sugar suppress the
digestive fire, causing fermentation and indigestion thanks to the acid
produced. it’s not uncommon to experience bloating in this case.

FOLLOW ORDERS

A chapter in the
Sushruta Samhita, one of the main texts of Ayurveda, deals with the order of
tastes involved in a meal. According to it, you should have a sweet at the
outset, something sour and salty in the middle, followed by pungent, bitter and
astringent eats.

In a hungry person, a
sweet also helps overpower the vayu (wind) in the stomach, while sour and salty
tastes in the middle of the meal help stimulate the digestive fire in the small
intestine. The pungent, bitter, and astringent taste helps subdue kapha dosh
(earth).

THE SWEET TRAP

So, how did we fall
into the trap of eating calorie-loaded sugars after a heavy meal? Macrobiotic
nutritionist Shonali Sabherwal explains, “From a macrobiotic perspective,
sugar craves sugar because it is yin energy.” Each food group has an
energy that is categorised as either yin (loosely classified as female energy)
or yang (masculine energy).

“You feel
expanded with sugar because sugar creates energy that is upward rising, and you
want more of that. So, a simple carb craves sugar, which is why a meal loaded
with simple carbs is usually followed by a dessert,” she says. Also, heavy
animal proteins found in eggs and meats (yang energy) are tough to digest,
leaving you bloated and aggressive.

That’s why, after a
meaty meal, your body wants to balance out the dense yang energy by craving yin
sugar. Sabherwal suggests you challenge your sugar craving by seeking it in
fruits and veggies (carrots, onions, cabbage, sweet potato and red pumpkin)
rather than white sugar eats.

A MEAL IN ITSELF

Ayurveda also claims
that the body cannot do without sweet altogether. It’s imperative tissue
development. When consumed in moderation, sweets are medicinal, even. Dietician
Pooja Makhija says that doesn’t apply to refined sugar stripped of all
nutrition. “Sugar desserts add load to the body, piling up calories which
your body stores as fat since that is the only source of storage form it knows.
A dessert is so full of calories, you’d rather have it as a meal in itself,
preferably before a workout, so that you can burn off all those calories.”

-Having even a bite of a sweet before
vegetables and chapati/rice will help absorb vitamins better.

Published on: 11th December 2014

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