In the earlier blog, we discussed about the health hazards linked to regular consumption of dried meat, dried vegetables, lotus roots (and stem). Eating meat is bad not only for a thin person but for anyone with a weak digestion.
वल्लूरं शुष्कशाकानि शालूकानि बिसानि च।
नाभ्यसेद् गौरवान् मांसं कृशं नैवोपयोजयेत्।।1/10।।
In this blog, let’s discuss the next line of the shloka which says “do not use heavy meat for the thin (or weak)“
Like increases like
Ayurveda has a general principle – same increases same. Accordingly –
Muscle increases muscle
The above statement signifies that ideally a weak and thin person should consume more meat. In this way, he will get more muscles and become strong and healthy. However, it is not as simple as it may appear. Our body is not a utensil where we can fill in anything and it will reach the bottom!
There is a complicated process called digestion. Digestion is the door to our bodies. Without proper digestion and assimilation, nothing can actually enter the metabolism, even if we put it in our mouths!
That’s why the above general principle of “मांसान्मांसं प्रवर्धते “ is not applicable.
The Weak Fire
Normally, there is vata vitiation in a thin person. Also, a vata prakrati person tends to be skinny. Excess vata in the system derails the digestive system. Vata vitiation leads to –
- Random digestive capacity
- Weak Digestive juices
- Formation of ama or toxins from under-digested food
- Other related disorders like constipation, bloating, burping etc.
In Ayurveda, the digestion is often compared to fire. The digestive system of a person with aggravated vata is akin to a fire burning amidst thunder storms. It has a very high chance of being put out anytime.
Quality of Meat
Charak Samhita advices chicken soup for a patient of tuberculosis. It is surprising that Acharya Charak should advice chicken soup for a recuperating or weak person, but not other types of meat. The answer lies in the quality of meat and its ease of digestion.
There is a single crucial aspect of meat consumption for a weak or a recuperating person – whether he is able to digest the meat or not. As mentioned above, the digestive fire of a thin person may be very weak. So, we cannot depend on the weak digestive fire to break down a heavy meat preparation.
The only other way to absorb meat is to increase the its ease of digestion. Therefore, the word “गौरवान्” sets the right context for meat consumption by a thin person.
We can classify meat according to its Ayurvedic ease of digestion in following two categories –
- Light meat – chicken, mutton, other birds
- Heavy meat – pork, beef, fish
The Light Meat – the dry sticks
Light meat, esp chicken has two primary properties that make them ideal for thin people. They are unctuous, easy to digest and warm.
They eliminate the vata induced dryness with their natural fat.
Chicken and meat from other small animals (game birds, rabbit etc.) is light as compared to heavy meat like pork, beef etc. Besides, their herbal soupy preparation expands the bioavailability and surface area for absorption. Therefore, they are easily assimilated and do not burden the digestive capacity.
At the same time, they produce warmth that kindles and strengthens the digestive fire.
In this way, they act like dry sticks to the digestive fire. They support and promote better digestion and absorption.
The Heavy Meat – The Wet Logs
If the digestion of a thin person is like a small bonfire, the heavy meat like pork, beef etc is like heavy wet logs of wood. Only a very strong fire can handle heavy wet wood.
That’s why, the weak digestive system of a thin person is not able to extract any nutrition from the heavy meat. Because it is not able to digest the heavy meat in the first place.
Every action has a reaction
Light meat is good for the thin person and brings several benefits as discussed earlier.
On the other hand, heavy meat does not get digested. But, that’s not the end of the story. The undigested heavy meat rots inside the intestines and creates toxins or “ama” in the body. This toxin promotes pathogenic incubation inside the body. In this way, heavy meat does not bring any nutrition to a thin person. Instead, it creates toxins inside the body and further weakens the digestion.
Other Harmful Effects of Heavy Meat
Meat from heavy animals can bring more severe blow to a thin and weak pertson.
As, the thin person is not able to digest the heavy meat, it forms toxins that contribute to chronic inflammation in the body. This chronic inflammation leads to gradual burning of all body tissues. It is linked to all kinds of autoimmune disorders.
Heavy meat contains excess proteins, which are linked to several types of cancers and other lifestyle disorders
It can increase the risk of bowel (colorectal) cancer, and breast cancer.
Heavy meat induces inflammatory response in the body which destroys insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. Intake of heavy meat in large quantity can increase the risk of diabetes by 50%
Heavy meat contains saturated fats and it contributes to a rise the concentration of blood cholesterol(LDL), thereby contributing to cardiac disorders.
These diseases are only examples of what can happen to the body with metabolic toxins. Its overall ability to function may gradually impair.
A thin person may develop a weaker immunity due to metabolic toxins. Therefore, this person may become more susceptible to all kinds of infectious disorders.
An ancient vedic proverb says “ati sarvatra varjayeta” – excess should be forbidden. A diet with heavy meat is an excess for a thin and weak person. With light diet, he may gradually grow stronger and heavier. But with an excessively heavy diet, his health may wither away faster.
Heavy meat is bad not only for a thin person but for anyone with a weak digestion. And today, it includes most of us. With a steep rise in lifestyle disorders, autoimmune disorders and cancer, it is better to avoid meat altogether. People who believe that vegan or vegetarian people are thin and weak must watch this documentary “The Game Changers”. It includes the vegan journey of famous athletes and actors including Arnold Schwarzenegger!
I am a vegan Ayurveda physician and I have seen excellent results of a vegan diet, whether it is for boosting immunity or gaining weight. And I would sincerely urge you to try a vegan diet. It is good for us and for the planet.