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What Is The Proper Time For Meals? How Many Meals A Day?

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
‘A crust eaten in peace is best than a banquet partaken in anxiousness’ – Aesop

There’s definitely a correct time to do all the things and consumption of meals isn’t any exemption. We have to observe correct timing for consuming meals. Likewise the meals patterns, the amount and high quality of meals and the way in which we eat differ from season to season. On this article I shall be presenting the idea of ‘Ahara Kala’ or ‘proper time to take meals, day sensible and season sensible’ as defined by Ayurvedic seers.

Acharya Charaka whereas quoting ahara (meals or food regimen) emphasizes consumption of meals on the proper time (Kala Bhoji) together with consumption of appropriate (conducive, hita ahara) meals in proper amount (mita ahara) of meals with a view to sustain good well being and keep away from illnesses.

Instances of meals consumption

What number of instances one ought to eat meals?
In Kannada (South Indian Language spoken by individuals of Karnataka State), there’s a well-known saying concerning the variety of instances one have to take meals and its profit –

‘Ondu Sala Tindavanu Yogi,
Eradu Sala Tindavanu Bhogi,
Muru Sala Tindavanu Rogi,
Nalku Sala Tindavnna Etkondu Hogi’

An individual who eats as soon as is a Yogi, i.e. a saint, monk or divine particular person.
An individual who eats twice is a Bhogi i.e. a commoner, an individual who lives in accordance with accessible situations with somewhat self-discipline.

An individual who eats thrice is a Rogi i.e. a diseased, all the time a affected person.
An individual who eats 4 instances or extra is sort of thought-about useless.
How good and sensible one this historical proverb is…….!!

Acharya Sushruta’s opinion

Acharya Sushruta takes an inexpensive stand on this regard and permits consumption of meals twice in a day. He tells that the meals ought to be taken at two extremities of a day, i.e. as soon as within the morning and as soon as within the night (evening). No meals ought to be consumed in between these two instances.

One ought to eat the meals when the under talked about situations prevail (when one observes and experiences the under talked about situations) –

  • Visrushta vin mutra – Stools (feces) and urine ought to have been voided correctly
  • Vishada karane – When the senses are clear, i.e. within the presence of pleasantness of thoughts
  • Dehe cha su laghau – Presence of lightness of the physique
  • Vishuddhe cha udgare – Presence of clear belching
  • Hrudi suvimale – Readability and lightness within the area of coronary heart, coronary heart being devoid of blemishes (really feel of goodness within the chest space)
  • Vate cha sarati – Correct motion of Vayu, Vayu being in a traditional state
  • Anna shraddayaam – Presence of curiosity for consumption of meals
  • Kshut upagamane – Within the presence of starvation
  • Kukshau cha shitile – The abdomen ought to be empty and clear, mild

The presence of the above talked about situations is important and necessary to eat meals. Solely when the above stated situations prevail, the physique will fortunately obtain the meals, digest it correctly, assimilate and put it to use correctly and gives power to the physique and helps life. When one takes meals within the absence of the above talked about situations, the meals won’t be digested; this results in indigestion which is a serious explanation for many illnesses.

The presence of all of the above stated situations defines the correct ahara kala or proper time to take meals. When meals is taken at correct time it’s healthful for well being and life, helps the physique and is equal to a life defending drugs.

Meals ought to be taken within the presence of Jeerna Ahara Lakshanas i.e. ‘options of correct digestion’
Meals ought to be taken solely when the beforehand taken meals has been correctly digested. Kshut or Starvation will get manifested solely when the Rasa (digestive juices in circulation), Dosha and Mala (excreta, wastes) are correctly digested (i.e. when the rasa has been correctly distributed and utilized, doshas are correctly settled down and when the malas are correctly and well timed excreted). The looks of Starvation or Kshut known as ‘Anna Kala’ or correct time to take meals.

Jeerna Ahara Lakshanas

Under talked about are the indicators (options) of correct digestion.

  • Udgara Shuddhi – Cleanliness of belching (no style in belch)
  • Utsaha – Enthusiasm
  • Vega Utsarga – Correct evacuation of urges (like these of stools, urine, fart and so forth)
  • Laghuta – Lightness of the physique
  • Kshut – Manifestation of starvation
  • Pipasa – Manifestation of thirst

The presence of the above stated signs or options ought to be thought-about as ‘correct time for consumption of meals’.

Take meals when hungry

The Pachaka Agni or digestive fireplace current within the stomach will digest the meals when it’s in a balanced state and at the most effective of its power. When the meals is just not offered on the proper time and proper amount, the digestive fireplace digests doshas. Within the absence of doshas, the agni digests the dhatus or tissues. This results in failure of physique help system. In the end within the absence of dhatus, the agni digests and destroys the prana or the important life pressure. The life actions will come to a halt with this and the particular person will finally face dying.

So, hungry is a pure and inborn sign that the physique wants meals, and the fireplace wants the gas. When one feels extraordinarily hungry, she or he ought to eat meals regardless of time. Nothing has extra precedence compared to starvation, when it will get manifested.

You’ll be able to eat even at midnight if you find yourself hungry
Starvation is without doubt one of the urges which shouldn’t be suppressed. Usually it’s a notion that one mustn’t eat meals at midnight. But when one feels extraordinarily hungry at midnight, she or he has to eat meals. Not consuming meals when one feels hungry is harmful for all times and well being.

Time hole between meals

What ought to be the time hole between two anna kalas (between 2 servings)?
One mustn’t eat meals inside 1 yama (3 hours) of consumption of meals. If taken it results in Rasodvega, i.e. indigestion and improperly digested meals put into circulation which is harmful for well being and turns into life threatening. Equally one mustn’t quick (completely) for two yamas at a stretch (6 hours) because it results in Bala Kshaya (lack of power). This rule is extra relevant for water and different liquids. This rule is just not relevant for stable meals.

Meals shouldn’t be consumed after the prescribed time
Meals shouldn’t be consumed after the prescribed time (time meant for consuming meals). Likewise, meals ought to neither be taken in extra nor in much less amount.

Consumption of meals earlier than the sensation of lightness (which is without doubt one of the signs which point out that the beforehand taken meals has been digested) produces Mandagni (indigestion, sluggish metabolism) and associated illnesses and even dying.

Lengthy gaps shouldn’t be given between two meals (two servings of meals). If one consumes meals after lengthy hole, the Jatharagni or digestive fireplace will get destroyed by the aggravated Vayu. This in flip produces problem in digesting meals. There shall be no curiosity to eat meals.

Consuming meals at day and evening, their impression on well being
We eat meals at day and likewise at evening. Essential is to be careful if the beforehand digested meals is digested or not. We have to observe if the meals taken within the morning is digested by night. Equally we have to examine if the meals taken on earlier evening has been digested or not on the next morning. This examine ought to be performed earlier than taking the subsequent serving of meals.

Acharya Charaka tells that if meals is consumed within the night despite the morning meals not being completely digested doesn’t trigger a lot hurt whereas the meals taken on the subsequent morning when the meals taken in the course of the earlier evening has not been digested will certainly have a foul impression on well being.

What’s the motive?
Learn right here – Day Food Vs Night Food – Impact On Health As Per Ayurveda

Variants of meals consumption time

Variants of ‘time of consumption of meals’ which trigger well being disturbances
The under talked about variants with respect to ‘time of consumption of meals’ are harmful for well being –

Samashana (Sama Ashana) – Consumption of healthful and unwholesome meals blended collectively known as as Samashana.
Vishamashana (Vishama Ashana) – Consumption of much less or extra meals at irregular intervals, not sustaining time known as Vishamashana.
Adhyashana (Adhi Ashana) – Consumption of meals earlier than the beforehand taken meals has been digested known as Adhyashana.

All of the above stated three variants are stated to provide dying or dreadful illnesses. Due to this fact they need to be averted. Meals ought to be consumed on the proper time and in proper portions if one is desirous of having fun with a illness free life and good well being.

Amount of meals

Much less meals and extra meals, each usually are not useful for well being
Too much less meals or an excessive amount of meals both is just not conducive for well being. The digestive fireplace or agni doesn’t get kindled or enhanced by taking much less meals or fasting. Equally the fireplace is just not enhanced by consumption of extra amount of meals. Fasting or absence of meals within the intestine extinguishes the existent fireplace. Equally extra of gas within the type of meals extinguishes gentle fireplace. Due to this fact meals ought to be taken in accordance with one’s capability, following the foundations and rules of consumption of meals, in proper and measured portions.

Meals consumption and season

Meals consumption in varied seasons
In seasons the place the nights are prolonged and days are brief, one ought to eat meals solely within the morning
In seasons the place the times are prolonged and nights are brief, one ought to eat the meals indicated in first prahara at evening and within the afternoon itself
In seasons the place the day and nights are of the identical size, meals ought to be taken on the indicated time.

‘As long as you have got meals in your mouth, you have got solved all questions in the interim’ – Franza Kafka

Kala v/s Ahara

Meals In Relationship With Timing:

Time issue is crucial one which we must always all respect in all facets of our life. Time is a precept, a regulation, a yard-stick and denotes maturation and evolution. We have to maintain tempo with it as a result of the time we lose can’t be recovered once more.
Learn – Wait A Moment Before Starting To Eat: A Healthy Eating Tip

You might want to eat at correct time!!

Even in relationship with meals, we now have heard our elders inform that we must always eat meals at correct time and observe the identical timing on daily basis. Once we grew up we carried over the identical classes to our kids hoping that they’d carry the legacy forward to their kids once they develop up. This has been a chat of each family all through your complete size of evolution of mankind, meals and etiquette of consuming.
Learn – Eating Etiquette: Healthy Eating Rules

However has ‘it’s essential to eat at time’ turn out to be an informal, meaningless instruction, simply stated for namesake whereas the people who find themselves instructing are themselves not following this precept? Sure, it’s true more often than not. How many people observe the identical time of consuming on daily basis, each time? Hardly a number of of us might observe as a result of stringent observe, however majority of us don’t!!

In my scientific expertise after I dig into the historical past of my sufferers, I’ve discovered that greater than 75-80% individuals don’t observe correct time of consuming meals. Balancing high quality, amount and timing of meals has all the time been a problem, particularly on this period due to our demanding life occasions.

Ayurveda was the primary well being science to advocate ‘consuming meals at correct time’ retaining in view a stability of high quality and amount. The consuming etiquette defined by Ayurveda are exemplary and when correctly adopted would assist in sustaining optimum bodily and psychological well being.
Learn – 11 Ayurvedic Eating Tips For Good Health

Erratic timings of meals – one of many major causes for a lot of illnesses and set off for a lot of extra

I’ve noticed that following erratic timing of meals is the basis supply of many illnesses. It additionally triggers many systemic and life-style problems and worsens them, like diabetes, weight problems, insomnia, hypertension, ldl cholesterol associated issues, peptic ulcers, indigestion, anorexia, inflammatory bowel illnesses and so forth.

Alternatively, I’ve seen substantial enchancment within the well being situations in those that adopted the timing of meals and corrected the timetable of eating desk on my recommendation. When you observe it for a month or so, you’re in rhythm with it and your well being will begin coming to a state of equilibrium. Although it will not be a final treatment, time-food stability would undoubtedly assist in bettering the well being, would add as a complement for medicines and interventions and enhance high quality and amount of life.
Learn – How Much Food To Eat Per Day As Per Ayurveda?

However what if one doesn’t observe timing of meals ?

These individuals have to be even handed on their priorities. Well being is wealth. If well being is maintained at its optimum finest, something could be earned or achieved in life. Due to this fact meals is claimed to be one of many vital supporting pillars of well being in Ayurveda. In the event that they neglect timing of meals, they should repent and are available again to fundamentals and observe time at one level or the opposite of their life, ultimately!! There is no such thing as a substitution for wholesome guidelines!!
Learn – Food – Definition, Importance As Per Ayurveda, Upanishad

Components to contemplate setting proper the circadian rhythm, the time-food graph!

Ayurveda states ‘Sarve api roaah mande agnau…’ (M.N.). It means ‘all illnesses are precipitated as a result of imbalance of digestive fireplace’. Not following correct meals timing is without doubt one of the contributory components which result in the disturbance of digestive fireplace.

Over a time frame the fireplace and digestive capability turns into so sluggish that it meddles with all of the actions of the physique. It turns into the basis trigger for a lot of illnesses, which can be irreversible.

To maintain the food-time clock tickling in favour of our well being, one must take meals at correct time giving due consideration to –

  • High quality of meals
  • Amount of meals
  • Digestive functionality (agni bala)
  • Physique sort decided at start

Good, balanced and well timed meals mechanically would maintain the circadian rhythm of the physique in a state of stability. Ultimately all features of the physique shall be in rhythm, aside from stability of psychological and sensual well being.
Learn – Drinking Water before or After food? A Wrong Habit – Ayurveda Proof

dinner timing – to setting proper the circadian rhythm of time-food cycle

I most frequently recommendation my sufferers with intestine troubles or any affected person coming with power illnesses to first right their dinner timing and likewise the spacing between their dinner and breakfast.

I discover so many sufferers in my scientific observe, particularly ladies, who take early dinner, e.g. – at 8-8.30 pm. They attend to different actions and works reserved to be performed throughout evening and sleep by 11.30 pm – 12 am.

By this time they’d have already skilled a gentle bout of starvation. Some drink water or milk and sleep, liquid meals are harmful, particularly in a state when the starvation is already manifested. That is virtually like pouring water over the fireplace. Liquid meals will additional weaken the digestive fireplace and one’s capability to digest meals when that is adopted for longer intervals of time.
Learn – Healthy Night Regimen As Per Ayurveda – Ratricharya

Some individuals sleep
instantly after the starvation manifests with a worry of getting to eat one thing.

Few different individuals eat
one thing, biscuits, snacks or no matter is offered simply earlier than sleep. All
these are threatening eventualities for well being, these being premature meals added by
consumption of liquid meals which might delay the digestive capability and weaken the
metabolic features.

At morning, they get up early within the morning, put together breakfast for everybody, have a shower, conduct pooja i.e. worshipping for a prolonged length and luxuriously have their breakfast at 9.30 am – 10 am and even later. Seeing deep into it, the general public quick in a single day for 12-14 hours. Simply think about?
Learn – What Is The Right Time For Food? How Many Meals A Day? – Ayurveda

In 24 hours of the day, 14 hours are spent in fasting. Just lately I received a girl affected person aged 60 years who has been doing this since 35 years. Immediately she has so many well being points. She doesn’t settle for that dys-rhythm of food-sleep-food cycle is contributory to this.

She tells that she has performed this out of Dharma i.e. righteousness and she or he feels good doing that. I’ve counselled her, however on the finish of the session her expressions stated that she felt as if I’m meddling along with her routine life. However she wanted treatment for all the issues which she is affected by 20-25 years. Guess how?
Learn – Importance Of Diet (Pathya) For Specific Diseases

In such sufferers, particularly the few honest species who perceive what the doctor tells and might volunteer to take measures which may enhance their well being, I’ve all the time requested them to right the dinner-sleep spacing and dinner-morning awakening spacing. I’ve additionally requested them to have pre-breakfast, ignoring all their beliefs or myths associated with meals consumption.

No God tells you that it’s essential to worship me for 1-2 hours by harming self.

Aham BrahmAsmi’ – Respect the god in you first.

I ought to inform that the majority of my sufferers obliged to take action. Doing this for 1 month, would undoubtedly regulate the circadian rhythm and sufferers have began feeling good. Even signs of illnesses eased, together with ache.
Learn – 21 Foods That Are Incompatible With Milk

Meals and stage of illness

Specializing in pathological states and levels of illnesses whereas specializing in meals and its timing

As we converse concerning the significance of timing of meals, we will see situations whereby the particular person is fairly taking healthful meals in accordance to time and but not capable of digest it, nor he is ready to convert meals he takes into packets of power in order to take care of his ‘life-style actions’. Why?

Identical to Prakriti i.e. fundamental bodily structure, whereby individuals of various bodily structure have totally different wants of meals with totally different spacing and frequency, together with adjustments in high quality and amount, we additionally have to deal with vikriti i.e. the pathological levels occurring within the physique.

Instance –

Within the Ajeerna Prakarana of Madhava Nidana, grasp Madhava quotes a reference from Sushruta Samhita Sutra Sthana Ch.46. and Charaka Vimana Sthana ch 2. The verse goes like this.

So, right here we’re. Individuals additionally don’t digest meals taken in correct amount and in correct time once they eat under etiological components.

  • Extreme consumption of water
  • Premature meals consumption and erratic meals schedules
  • Withholding the natural urges of the body
  • Disturbance of sleep / improper sleep practices
  • Thoughts causes like – jealousy, worry, anger, greed, ache (psychological and bodily), helplessness and aversion in the direction of meals

All these type obstacles for digestion of meals despite following time. We additionally have to rule out these parameters interfering into the digestion of well timed consumed meals.

Acharya Charaka provides extreme worries, grief, uncomfortable bedding and evening awakening (for lengthy length) as chief causes for indigestion of meals taken in correct time and amount.
Learn – Effect of Stress, Anxiety on Stomach And Intestines: Remedies

In these individuals even the lightest to digest meals is digested with problem or not digested.

Swapna viparyaya i.e. erratic sleep patterns, like sleeping throughout day time, retaining woke up late nights and prajaagara i.e. awakening all through the evening time, explains the magnitude of gastrointestinal illnesses the evening shift employees undergo from.
Learn – What Is The Right Time To Sleep? How To Plan Your Sleep?

Erratic methods of meals consumption

  • Ati ashana – consumption of meals in extra of 1’s capability
  • Anashana – Not taking meals at time of starvation
  • Vishama ashana – taking meals in massive or much less portions, premature meals
  • Pramita ashana – having selective food regimen which ends up in meals imbalances (unbalanced meals)
  • Adhyashana – consumption of meals even earlier than the beforehand taken meals is digested

All these variables relate to ‘improper time of consumption of meals’ which significantly meddles with the intestine well being and total well being. These, when practised for longer intervals would type the bottom for a lot of systemic illnesses.
Learn – Food habits, Indigestion – Ashtanga Hrudayam Sutrasthana 8th Chapter

associated factors with respect to time and meals

Meals and kala

1. Timing of meals in relation to seasonal adjustments and pathological levels of illnesses

Kala i.e. time issue is one among the many ahara vidhi vishesha ayatanani i.e. 8 components pertaining to meals consumption. This kala is claimed to be of two sorts i.e.

  • avasthika kala – which is said to illness and its levels &
  • nityaga kala – which is said to the seasons.

Learn – Health Benefits Of Vegetarian Diet – Ayurvedic Opinion

Nityaga kala and meals consumption – This explains that meals given in regular situations whereby the particular person is wholesome ought to be in accordance to the altering seasons. This factors out the truth that time of consumption of meals is determined by seasonal adjustments and is totally different for individuals of various physique sorts in the identical given motive.

In spring season, starvation could also be much less as a result of kapha predominance and particular person might eat much less incessantly.
In autumn season, particular person might have extreme starvation and eat incessantly owing to extend in pitta.
In monsoon, urge for food is erratic owing to vata improve and consuming timings could also be variable, relying on the amount of starvation, which can also be bizarre.

Once we plug within the structure of people in these ideas, a kapha particular person might really feel much less starvation and should eat much less incessantly compared to the pitta particular person in autumn. The dosha prakriti behaviour in varied seasons and in varied individuals in the identical seasons is variable.
Learn – Relationship Of Doshas With Seasons

Avasthika kala and meals consumption – This explains that the meals given in irregular situations whereby the particular person is affected by illness ought to be in accordance to the stage of illness. This adjustments from illness to illness and individual to individual.

Dwadasha Ashana Pravichara

2. Dwadasha Ashana Pravichara – 12 meals associated components

Dwadasha Ashana Pravichara – Among the many 12 components wanted to be thought-about whereas taking meals, two components are strictly associated to time.

Eka Kalika – with a view to improve the weak digestive fireplace, meals shall
be taken solely as soon as.

Dwi kalika – individuals having sama agni i.e. balanced digestive fireplace shall
eat meals twice in a day.

Thus, a wholesome particular person is allowed to eat meals twice day by day. We have to keep in mind that sama agni i.e. state of equilibrium of digestive fireplace is without doubt one of the indicators defining a swastha purusha i.e. wholesome particular person.
Learn – Various Methods of Ayurvedic Food Processing – Ahara Samskara

Atmanam Abhisamikshya

3. Atmanam Abhisamikshya – Figuring out state of self – Want of bodily and psychological preparedness for consuming meals, eat with love

One have to learn about self, one’s
intestine habits, one’s want of meals and concerning adjusting the timing of meals in
relation to 1’s personal structure and metabolic power in order to take care of
well being in its optimum degree.

Acharya Charaka tells that one ought to eat meals after contemplating one’s personal structure and so forth. He ought to analyse if the meals is conducive or dangerous to him. When he is aware of himself and his intestine, an individual can put together a correct timeline which hyperlinks up his urge for food and timing of meals. Recurrently practising it will deliver the organic clock to excellent sync and rhythm.
Learn – Bad Food Combinations And Solution As Per Ayurveda

This knowledge of grasp Charaka tells us the significance of bodily and psychological preparedness in the direction of consumption of meals, to like meals and to respect timing of meals. Time transforms the meals into good virtues and being an upasthambha i.e. supporting pillar of well being would help and maintain life actions.

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