Unseen Passage: Foods We Eat

We are what we eat. The type of food we eat has both immediate and long-term effects on us, at all the three levels – the body, the mind and the spirit. Food which is tamasik (i.e. stale or leftover) in nature is bound to generate stress as it tends to upset the normal functioning of the human body. Fresheners should be avoided. Taking piping hot tea/milk or steaming hot food, whenever available, must be preferred. Excessive use of condiments also disturbs one’s usually calm attitude. Further, it is a mistaken belief that smoking or drinking, even in moderation, relieves stress. Simple meals with one or two food items, rather than too many lavish dishes, are advisable. Also, vegetarian diet is preferable. Although it is customary to serve fruits with food items, it is not the right thing to do. This is because different kinds of digestive secretions are produced by the stomach for variant food items. Mixing up too many varieties of food items in one meal creates problems for the digestive system. In fact, any one type of fruit, preferably taken in the morning is better.

On an average, we eat almost three to four times the quantity of food than we actually need. A lot of body’s energy is used up for digesting the excess food. It is said that after a particular level of food intake, the ‘food actually eats one up’.

It is always good to eat a little less than your ‘full-stomach’ capacity. Besides, never eat food unless you are really hungry. To have dinner at 8 or 9 pm after a heavy snack around 5 or 6 pm in the evening is asking for trouble. In fact, skipping a meal is always good if the stomach is upset. There are varying views on the benefits of fasting, but we will not discuss them here. However, giving a break to one’s stomach, at least once a week, by having only fruit or milk, etc. may be worth a try.

While a little bit of water taken with meals is all right, drinking 30 to 60 ml of water with food is not advisable. Water, taken an hour or so before or after meals, is good for digestion. One’s diet must be balanced with all the required nutrients for a healthy living.

Also remember, excess of everything is bad. Related to the problem of stress, excessive intake of salt is definitely out. Too much of sugar, fried food and chillies are not good either. Over-indulgence and excessive craving for a particular taste/type of food generates rajasik (aggressive) or at worst, tamasik (dull) tendencies. An even more important aspect of the relationship between food and stress lies not so much in what or how much we eat but how the food is taken. For example, food eaten in great hurry or in a state of anger or any other negative state of mind is bound to induce stress. How the food is served is also very important. Not only the presentation, cutlery, crockery etc. play a role, the love and affection with which the food is served is also significant. Finding faults with food while it is being eaten is a bad habit. It is better not to eat the food you do not like, rather than finding faults with it.

It is good to have regular food habits. Workaholics who do not find time to eat food at proper meal time invite stomach ulcers. One must try to enjoy one’s food, and therefore, eating at the so-called lunch/dinner meetings is highly inadvisable. Every morsel of food should be enjoyed with a totally peaceful state of mind. Food and discussions should not be mixed. There are accepted ways to ‘charge’ the food we eat. Prayer is perhaps ‘the best method for energizing the food and it does definite additional good at no extra cost. By: Lt. Gen. M. M. Walia

Q. On the basis of your reading of the passage, select the most appropriate answer from the given options.

  1. Tamasik food influences a person by
    1. generating stress.
    2. making a person energetic.
    3. generating large amount of energy.
    4. making a person bold.
  2. Generally what incorrect belief do people practise at the table?
    1. Smoking helps to digest food.
    2. Smoking or drinking even in moderation relieves stress.
    3. Pickles add to taste.
    4. Condiments help to enhance appetite.
  3. The writer says that the “food actually eats one up” because the
    1. Digestion takes too much time.
    2. Excessive intake of food takes a lot of body’s energy to digest it.
    3. Food sustains the body.
    4. Person becomes healthy.
  4. Rajasik tendencies are generated due to:
    1. Over indulgence in fried food.
    2. Too much use of spicy food.
    3. Over indulgence and excessive craving for a particular taste.
    4. Excess of everything.
  5. Here, the word “charge” means
    1. to impose or ask as a price or fee
    2. to attack by rushing violently against
    3. to accuse formally
    4. to feel full of vigour
  6. What does ’induce’ mean?
    1. Reduce
    2. Cause, influence
    3. Aggressive
    4. To intake

Answer

  1. generating stress.
  2. condiments help to enhance appetite.
  3. excessive intake of food takes a lot of body’s energy to digest it.
  4. overindulgence and excessive craving for a particular taste.
  5. to feel full of vigour
  6. cause, influence.

Q. Answer the following questions as briefly as possible:

  1. _______________ should be avoided.
  2. It is always good to eat less than your _______________ capacity.
  3. Water, taken an hour or so before or after meals, is good for _______________.
  4. _______________ who do not find them to eat food at proper meal times invite stomach ulcers.
  5. Find the word in the passage with the meaning
    1. to avoid extremes. (para 1)
    2. not worth recommending. (para 6)

Answers

  1. freshners
  2. ‘full-stomach’
  3. digestion
  4. Workaholics
  5. Words are:
    1. Moderation
    2. Inadvisable

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