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Dr K K Aggarwal

Today the developing world is facing an epidemic of potbelly obesity related diabetes and the same has been linked to eating refined carbohydrates eespecially refined sugar.

Lord Ganesha is depicted with big tummy and sweet (laddo) in his one of the hands and yet he never suffered from diabetes.

 There are two interpretations of the same. The first one is spiritual interpretation and that is that in mythology Ganesha depicts principles of stress management and sweet laddo means control of desires. Big tummy symbolizes retaining all information gathered from hearing with two big elephant ears.

 The second is a medical interpretation where the big tummy represents proneness of Indians to metabolic syndrome, the present epidemic related to abdominal obesity. Indians have both weakness for eating sweet and proneness for developing pot belly obesity.

 This is shown as uncontrolled desires to eat sweet (Ladoo) and the prevention of the same are shown by all the fruits or leaves offered to Ganesha having anti diabetic properties.

 The main Ganesha Mantra can also be interpreted as explaining anti diabetes properties of Ganesha offerings.

 “Gajananam Bhoota Ganadi Sevitam; Kapittha Jambu phalasara bhakshitam; Umasutam Shoka Vinasha karanam; Namami Vighneswara pada pankajam”.

 The Mantra means

a.  “Oh Elephant-faced, worshiped by the existing beings, of all living beings, tasting the elephant apple (kaith) and jambolana (jamun), the Son of Uma, destroyer of grief, I bow to the lotus feet of Ganesha who is lord of all.”

b.  Or  Gajananam ( the big tummy one worshipped by all) Bhoota (Durva grass and Bilva patra used for worshipping Ganesha) Ganadi ( in equal quantity)  Sevitam (if consumed); Kapittha (Kaith ) Jambu ( Jamun) phalasara (fruits)  bhakshitam (to be consumed); Umasutam ( son of Uma) Shoka ( diseases) Vinasha karanam (get rid of); Namami ( I bow to ) Vighneswara ( destroyer of grief) pada pankajam ( feet of lord)”

 The mantra talks about four medicinal herbs: Durva grass and Bilva patra ( Bel leaves) used for Ganesha worship; fruit of elephant apple (Kaith) and fruit of Jambolona ( or Jamun). All four have anti diabetic properties and can be mixed in equal quantity and prepared as a medicinal juice.

 Medically Durva grass (Cynodon dactylon) has been shown to possess anti diabetic, cholesterol owering, immune-modulatory, DNA protective, aphrodisiac, male fertility, anti cancer and anti inflammatory activities. Similarly Bilva Patra has both anti diabetic and fertility promoting properties.

 Elephant apple (Limonia acidissima) also named as Wood Apple, Elephant Apple, Monkey Fruit, Curd Fruit, Koth Bel, Kaitha  and Kath Bel, has been shown to possess strong anti diabetic properties.

 Jamun (Syzygium cumini) also has DNA protective, anti oxidant and anti diabetic properties and is an essential ingredient of most anti diabetic Ayurveda preparations.

Worth trying: To prevent diabetes and to reduce the ill effects of metabolic syndrome regularly take equal mixed quantity of Durva grass, Kaith fruit and Jamun fruit juices.

Note: This article is authors personal interpretation based on listening to many Ayurveda experts.

Symposium on Diet, Health & Religion – Dr KK Aggarwal

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A symposium on Diet, Health & Religion, second in a series was held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on 5th September, 2012. The Chief Guest was Shri J Veeraraghavan, Chairman, Bhavan’s KM Munshi Institute of Educational Leadership and Management.

Welcoming the gathering, Shri Ashok Pradhan, Director, BVB said that the purpose of this symposium was to examine the relation between what we eat, how it affects our health and how all religions look at this aspect. Nature is also related to our health. Nature tells us what to eat. For example, summer vegetables have a high content of water. Speaking on fasting, he observed that not eating on certain days cleanses our body.

Dr KK Aggarwal

As medical fraternity, we must know what dietary religious practices are.

Most religions agree that fasting is good for health. Pot belly obesity, diabetes, hypertension and paralysis are all linked to metabolic syndrome which is characterized by insulin resistance which can be traced to refined carbohydrates, which are white sugar and refined flour. Any food, which is refined, is bad for health.

The body has a circadian rhythm. The digestive fire is weakest between 6 and 10 pm, i.e. enzymes for digestion are at lowest levels. Foods that are mismatched should not be combined together. A predigested food such as curd should not be mixed with an undigested food, it will lead to indigestion. Ayurveda recommends against eating fermented food at night. Alcohol is also fermented and so should not be taken after sunset. Alcohol is an evening drink (evening is the period before sunset and  with sunset the night starts. Alcohol is beneficial to the body if it is taken before sunset. About 80% of Indians may have vitamin D deficiency. So, 60000 units of vitamin D should be taken with milk once a month.

 Consensus

  • Eat less or in moderation.
  • Eat seasonal and locally grown vegetables.
  • Eat variety and color.
  • Any food that is prohibited by doctors is injuries to health and should not be taken.
  • Food is a gift from God.
  • Eat only when hungry.
  • Most religions have some restriction on combination of food.
  • Avoid alcohol, as per the regulations of your religion.