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Obesity-Losing weight by Dr. Robert Svoboda

 

Abridged version

If you are overweight and suffer from all or most of the following symptoms, you urgently need to reduce your poundage (under professional competent guidance):

Pendulous belly, breasts and buttocks; Puffing and panting for breath even on mild exertion; Profuse perspiration even when it is not hot; Excess thirst, especially at night; Intense food craving; Prolonged but unsatisfying sleep; unpleasant body odour; Inflammation where skin folds rub against one another; Generalised body ache; Loss of sexual appetite; Lack of zeal or enthusiasm for living.

If you do not suffer from most of these symptoms you should not attempt severe dieting. You cannot be in any hurry if you want to make your weight loss permanent. Your body needs time to readjust itself and lower its fat setpoint, and until that setpoint drops your weight will not.

All foods, which increase Kapha, tend to increase weight. Likewise, all foods, which control Kapha, discourage weight gain. You should especially avoid the following foods:

Beef and pork; butter, cheese, ice-cream, sour cream, wheat and wheat products; white sugar and all products containing white sugar; alcoholic beverages; fried foods of any sort; junk foods and fast foods; all excessively sour or salty foods like pickles.

Merely going on an anti-Kapha diet when you want to lose weight may be entirely inappropriate if you are a Vata person who needs Kapha promoting foods to maintain balance. It would be best for you to stabilise your diet first after removing all the objectionable foods above. Unless your Doshas are balanced your Dhatus including Fat will never become healthy.

Permanent weight loss occurs only when the body's fat setpoint is lowered. The amphetamines in prescription diet pills and the nicotine in tobacco can temporarily lower the fat setpoint, but these effects last only as long as you use the drug. You are bound to gain weight as soon as you stop smoking or quit swallowing the pills. Besides, both amphetamines and nicotine are addictive drugs; nicotine is even more addictive than heroine. These two drugs lower the body's fat setpoint by speeding up the organism, making both body and brain work faster.

Ayurveda believes in speeding up the organism in healthy, natural ways, such as exercise, certain supplements, and the use of light, non-Kapha producing foods, which control Vata while relieving the system of excess Kapha. It is a slower process, but in weight loss, as in all other aspects of medicine, haste makes waste.

Change your diet gradually. Do not salt your food at all. If you want the salty taste, use "light" salt, kelp powder, or liquid amino-acid mixtures. Limit your use of sweeteners, but allow yourself regular use of honey, except in cooking. Honey has a mild fat reducing effect. Take bran or psyllium seed husk whenever you eat a lot of sweet. Fibre helps the body balance its response to Sweet. Even though fruits are sweet, their fibre usually does not permit their sugars to be absorbed too quickly. The fibre in whole grains also protects against exaggerated blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrates like grains also increase brain serotonin, a chemical which makes you feel relaxed and "mellow". So, even though a high protein diet may make you lose weight faster, you will lose it more enjoyably and in a more relaxed fashion if you eat a reasonable amount of carbohydrate. Also, fat requires carbohydrate to burn, so trying to deny yourself all carbohydrate while you live on protein and vegetables makes the weight loss more difficult and less certain.

As you feel it is safe and sensible to do so, reduce the quantity of food you eat at each meal. As you reduce your food quantity your stomach will shrink little by little and you will find your capacity for food reduced. Excessive eating is often more a problem with overweight Vata and Pitta types than it is with overweight Kapha types whose bodies tend to hang on to excess pounds even if they do not overeat.

Eliminate all cold food and drink. You should eat nothing that is referigerator cold. Fat is the body’s insulation and increases naturally in colder climates. Continuous exposure to cold food and drink, and even to air conditioning, convinces the body that it should add extra insulation, so up goes the fat setpoint. Exercise, which helps heat the body, reduces its need for insulation.

Reduce your overall water intake as you reduce the salt in your diet. You should drink when you are thirsty, but you do not necessarily need the 6 to 8 glasses of water daily, which some "authorities" advocate. Warm water or hot herbal teas help melt fat away. Even better is honey and lemon in warm water, with a pinch of black pepper powder.

When you are fed up with all these restrictions, go out and binge without guilt, preferably on healthful foods, and then forget about it. Cravings for your old food friends are only panic reactions of your body or mind. If you reassure yourself with familiar food that you are not trying to starve to death, the craving to binge will become less and less frequent.

It is wise to take vitamin and mineral supplements during this period of transition to ensure that your body does not lack any nutrients. These supplements cannot reduce your fat setpoint, although Ayurvedic herbal preparations can. These preparations mobilise fat from deposits and eliminate it. These are not appetite suppressants. They are substances which encourage permanent metabolic change so that dietary control and exercise can make the excess fat swiftly disappear and stay away once it is gone.

Any bitter, pungent or astringent food, herb or mineral will exert some weight reducing effect, though some are more active than others are. A few active herbs are barberry, black pepper, gentian, golden seal, gotukola, red raspberry leaves, saffron, and tumeric. Some Ayurvedic compounds, which are prescribed in India for weight reduction, include:

The powder called Triphala, a mixture of three fruits, especially when mixed with Trikatu, a mixture of equal parts of powdered ginger, black pepper, and pippali or long pepper.

Fat is essential Dhatu and is good for you, in the proper amount.

 

Food for Kapha constitution

K people need to concentrate on Bitter, Pungent and Astringent foods, which invigorate their bodies and minds, and should avoid sweet, sour and salty substances, which help them remain set in their ways. K’s should never eat fried or otherwise greasy food, and should shun dairy products. Fat is the worst possible food for K types. Vegetables are best for K’s, who should limit the total amount of food they eat.

Grains – K people need grain less than do V or P people. The hot, drying grains buckwheat and millet are best for Ks, followed by barley, rice and corn. K people do best with roasted or otherwise dry-cooked grains. All breads should be toasted, or better yet avoided. Wheat is too heavy, cold and oily to be good for K.

Vegetables – All vegetables are good for K except potatoes, tomatoes, and water chestnuts. Cucumbers, though sweet, are also bitter and astringent and therefore do not aggravate Kapha. K people should avoid very sweet, very sour and very juicy vegetables. Otherwise they can eat as many vegetables as they like as often as they like. Leafy greens and vegetables which contain seeds (like squashes) should get preference over root vegetables, which are naturally more Earthy. Raw vegetables are good; steamed or stir-fried vegetables are easier to digest. Peppers are good for K types. K people who overdose on chilies, cayenne, or other hot pungent spices may use ghee to antidote any resulting Pitta aggravation.

Fruits – K people should avoid both very sweet and very sour fruits, and any fruits which are very juicy. Dried fruits like prunes are good. The best fruits for Ks are apples, apricots, cranberries, mangoes, peaches, pears, and pomegranates.

Flesh Foods – K people rarely need any flesh foods because their flesh is adequately nourished by other foods. When they do eat flesh it should be roasted, broiled, baked, or otherwise cooked dry, but never fried. They may eat chicken, eggs, rabbit, seafood, and venison.

Legumes – K people should not overeat legumes any more than they should overeat meat, because their bodies do not require large quantities of protein. Legumes are much better for Ks than meat because of the lack of animal fat in legumes. K people should however avoid the heaviest of the legumes, such as black lentils, kidney beans, and soybeans. Well-cooked tofu is permissible for Ks in small quantities. Larger quantities are likely to increase Kapha. The best legumes for K people are black beans, mung beans, pinto beans, and red lentils.

Nuts and seeds - K people do not need the heavy, oily energy of nuts and seeds and should avoid them. They may eat sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds on occasion.

Oils – K people should avoid the use of oils. They may use almond, corn, safflower, or sunflower oils when necessary.

Dairy - K types do not need the heavy, oily, sticky, cooling qualities of dairy products, which are very like Kapha’s own qualities. Small amounts of ghee are good, and goat’s milk is better than cow’s milk because it is "Hotter". Goat’s milk is good for respiratory diseases in any constitution. Yogurt increases Kapha because its qualities are almost exactly the same as those of Kapha. Honey reduces yogurt’s Kapha forming qualities, and spices antidote it even further. The addition of water to this spiced yogurt dilutes it, and churning breaks up its gel structure to make it less slimy and viscid. The resultant mixture aggravates Kapha very little and promotes digestion greatly.

Sweeteners - Kapha is increased by sweets, and Ks should not use any sweeteners except raw honey, which helps reduce Kapha.

Spices - Ks find spices useful to awaken their organisms; they can use all spices except salt, which increases Kapha directly. As for Vata people, ginger and garlic are best for Ks.

The above suggestions are guidelines only. You will have to discover for yourself which rules are most important for you to follow and which can be ignored safely on occasion. As far as possible, you should avoid the foods, which are inappropriate for your prakriti (constitution).


___________________________________
From The Mahabharata
Anusasana Parva, Section CXLII
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Mahadeva said: Those that are righteous and desirous of acquiring merit always pursue with firmness the culture of the soul. The food that comes from cruel or fierce persons is censurable. So also the food that has been cooked for serving a large number of persons. The same is said of the food that is cooked in view of the first Sraddha of a deceased person. So also is the food that is stained in consequence of the usual faults and the food that is supplied by a Sudra. These should never be taken by a Brahmana (priest)at any time. The food of a Sudra is always disapproved of by the high-souled deities.

If a Brahmana, who has set up the sacred fire and who performs sacrifices, were to die with any portion of a Sudra's food remaining undigested in his stomach, he is sure to take birth in his next life as a Sudra. In consequence of those remains of a Sudra's food in his stomach, he falls away from the status of a Brahmana. Such a Brahmana becomes invested with the status of a Sudra. There is no doubt in this. This Brahmana in his next life becomes invested with the status of that order upon whose food he subsists through life or with the undigested portion of whose food in his stomach he breathes his last. That man who, having attained to the auspicious status of a Brahmana which is so difficult to acquire, disregards it  and eats interdicted food, falls away from his high status.   
___________________________________

From The Mahabharata
Anusasana Parva, Section CXLII
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Mahadeva said: Those that are righteous and desirous of acquiring merit always pursue with firmness the culture of the soul. The food that comes from cruel or fierce persons is censurable. So also the food that has been cooked for serving a large number of persons. The same is said of the food that is cooked in view of the first Sraddha of a deceased person. So also is the food that is stained in consequence of the usual faults and the food that is supplied by a Sudra. These should never be taken by a Brahmana (priest)at any time. The food of a Sudra is always disapproved of by the high-souled deities.

If a Brahmana, who has set up the sacred fire and who performs sacrifices, were to die with any portion of a Sudra's food remaining undigested in his stomach, he is sure to take birth in his next life as a Sudra. In consequence of those remains of a Sudra's food in his stomach, he falls away from the status of a Brahmana. Such a Brahmana becomes invested with the status of a Sudra. There is no doubt in this. This Brahmana in his next life becomes invested with the status of that order upon whose food he subsists through life or with the undigested portion of whose food in his stomach he breathes his last. That man who, having attained to the auspicious status of a Brahmana which is so difficult to acquire, disregards it  and eats interdicted food, falls away from his high status.   
___________________________________

From The Mahabharata
Anusasana Parva, Section CLXII
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Addressing King Yudhishthira, Bhishma said:
Two times have been appointed by the deities for human beings to take their food, viz., morning and evening. During the interval one should not eat anything. By following this rule about eating, one is said to observe a fast.

One should never cause one's guest to go without food whether one resides in one's own country or in a foreign land.

One should eat  also without being seen.
___________________________________

 

Published with the kind permission of Dr. Robert Svoboda

 

Robert E. Svoboda, B.A.M.S. is the first Westerner ever to graduate from a college of Ayurveda and be licensed to practice Ayurveda in India. He graduated in 1980 from Tilak Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya in Pune, where world-renowned author and Ayurvedic Physician, Dr. Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc., was one of his professors. Since that time he has traveled extensively around the world, lecturing and conducting workshops on Ayurveda. Dr. Svoboda has traveled to more than fifty countries in the world, understands six languages and has authored several books. Dr. Svoboda consults with people privately. 

 

Dr. Svoboda's website address is www.drsvoboda.com

 

*Click Here* for a list of his authored books from Vedic Books.

 

 

Copyright © 2006, Robert Edwin Svoboda. All rights reserved.

 

 

For more information, please visit this articles web page.
This article was published on Wednesday 27 September, 2006.
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