Food for depression and anxiety
We will talk about food for depression and anxiety in this blog but lets us understand the history of depression in ancient India.
In today’s world of modern science, we consider a person who feels depressed to be suffering from mental illness. What are the symptoms of a person who is feeling anxiety and depression? He/She feels suffocation, dry mouth, feels shaky, their body shivers, feels that his/her heart is shrinking, they cry. Well, these are exactly the symptoms which Shri Arjun describes in “Bhagwat Geeta” in front of Shri Krishna. Unfortunately, most of us don’t learn from history.
Shri Krishna makes him understand his responsibilities and also make him understand that how he should develop his thought process so that he doesn’t feel the pressure of various relations or say various emotions by means of Yog. Along with all these things Shri Krishna also tells Shri Arjun to do Pranayam ( Meditation) and to have the right food. He assured Shri Arjun that if he follows these rituals which are actually very easy to follow. And not as tough as the institutions of religions make them be, then he can conquer his depression and live a joyous life again.
Depression in Ayurveda
Modern medical science has a word for describing depression that is called Chemical Imbalance and in Ayurveda, there is a word called “Vayu” which means air or say some kind of gas. Now please don’t go to any ayurvedic doctors because 99.9% of them are thugs. Similar to a doctor of Modern Medical Science.
The chemical imbalance which the doctors speak of is nothing but actually the air or gas. It may be little hard for you to imagine, but let it understand it in this way that our organs work with the help of the nutrient absorbed from food in our gut. So whatever the nutrients are secreted in our guts are transferred to our organ. Similarly, our brain needs a continuous supply of many things in order to work. Now suppose (just an eg) the pipe which was supplying your brain with water gets some air or gas trapped in it, then there will be fluctuation in the supply of water to your brain and hence it will affect the activity of your brain too.
Initially, when I suffered from depression I was not having too many issues with digestion. I mean I use to have a lot of gas problem and it used to smell really bad, but I use to think I can’t do much about it. I had a lot of issues with my emotions ( my initial symptoms ). Medicine was able to reduce the intensity of depression and increase the time interval between the two episodes. Later on, even after taking medication for depression I was unable to digest the food. There were issues related to bloating, acidity, cramps in the stomach, legs, pain in eyes, hair fall, medicine were increasing so were the different health issues.
Fermented Food for depression and anxiety
Now understand this when I stopped eating gluten i.e. I cut wheat. The other grain which I now prepare is pearl millet by Sourdough Method, also I apply a little bit of cultured ghee over 3 to 4 chapatis. Chapatis made of sourdough break easily in my stomach as they have already been broken by the microorganism. The sourdough grain doesn’t cause gases or bloating as it uses to happen. Secondly, I have cut milk, coffee or tea with milk but I take curd. If you will observe milk when you heat it, it inflates like a balloon. It doesn’t boil as water but it rises as a surface, but the surface of curd is broken by the microorganism. Hence again curd is digested with ease in my guts without producing any gases.
Pulses or lintels which I eat are also a little sprouted. So again here also my little friends “the microorganism” reduces the load on my stomach. Secondly, I switch to fresh vegetable diet every alternate day. I replace the grain flour after every 6th day with buckwheat flour or amaranth or water chestnut flour. So again I am cutting any extra load on my stomach.
I add very less oil say about 1 teaspoon for two people in lentils. Too little oil will give you hard time in your bowel movement. While too much oil will lead to less residence time of food in your stomach along with the vegetable oil in lentils. I am also applying a little bit of ghee over chapati. As ghee i.e., animal fat is the requirement for our body.
How Pranayam Helps
Now comes the point of Pranayam, how it helps. Frankly speaking, I don’t know the exact answer, but I will share my idea on it.
Some people will tell you about chakras and all this, but it is all nonsense. Just relax no need to panic, it is helpful and that is for sure. Pranayam doesn’t mean deep breathing or inhaling more oxygen. Your body knows how much oxygen it requires. You don’t have to think about it.
During pranayama, our back should be straight and we should not be doing any other activity that includes putting tension on your any body part. Some thoughts will strike your mind making you lose your attention. You should be alert enough to divert your attention back on to your breath. So you will be channelising your breath in a better way. Or say that you will be channelising the air which is widespread in your body in a better way and hence will result in your better overall health. 🙂 Om