DIETICS IN UNANI MEDICINE
A talk on eating habits according to the art of Unani medicine by Dr. Ghazala Shaikh at HELP library on June 14.
"To eat is a necessity,
but to eat intelligently is an art."
Keeping this concept in mind, a Unani medic, Dr.Ghazala Shaikh stresses the art of ‘eating intelligently’. This art very skillfully uses food as medicine, thus blurring the line between the two.
She stresses the importance of being able to distinguish between true hunger and false hunger since many unhealthy eating habits are on the rise. Hunger pangs merely act as guilty pleasures which temporarily satiate the body’s need for energy rich foods, that is, foods containing fats and oils, thus needing immediate gratification while true hunger arises out of the body’s need to replenish nutrients.
Unani medics strongly believe in the motto, “A family that eats together, stays together” since it promotes emotional as well as mental health. It also encourages a feeling of unity and affection among family members.
Further, Dr. Shaikh goes on to explain how to eat in which she highlights the following:
EAT WITH ATTENTION
An excellent practice is to eat with 100% attention on the taste of the food
WATERY /easily digested FOODS FIRST
CHEW ALL FOOD CLOSE TO LIQUID
Avoid drinking beverages or even water during or after meals
Eat in generous amount… quit before satiety
The most frequently asked question is what to eat?
Nutritious, hygienic and well cooked food.
Well balanced ( adequate calories…and amount of carbs, proteins and fat)
In accordance with your temperament, pepsis power, body status and season for example in cold weather eat vegetables with slight bitter taste ( bitter gourd, soya, methi).
One type of food at a time…at proper time interval ( 3-4 hrs or when previous food is completely digested
Sweet food item or wine… ( medicated) in moderate amount after the meal
Dr. Shaikh also prescribes certain foods that suit the temperament of the person, that is, choleric, phlegmatic and melancholic. She then goes to explain the harmful food combinations that damage the body or act as ‘abusive substances’ for the stomach for example, sour things with milk, fish with milk, etc. but she does recommend a power nap or a siesta after the afternoon lunch for rejuvenation and refreshment of the body. This siesta helps in increasing productivity, improving cognitive functions and alleviating stress.
After meal drinks that are recommended by her are water, wine or nabeez (a Unani drink). They aid in digestion and also add to the fluid content of the body.
As she departs, she concludes with a short but effective message that says, “Eat healthy and stay healthy.”