Discussion On Nutrition

HH BVPS Maharaja: All the Dharma Shastra does is go through the practical day-to-day life of an aspiring sadhaka and then what he can do to bring his life fully in line with God consciousness. Does that make some sense? So that's the principle that's going on. So it's not that it's something else imposed, it's kind of like, "Hey, I don't need all this." But it's like, you are doing it anyway.

Like we see here, it's always comes out, it's always a difficulty. We have our dress for the school, but then there is always the thing, "Oh, are they warm enough? Why this and that? Well, this is fanatic, why do you have to do that?" Everybody has got their opinion. On food, whatever food you feed them, everyone have their opinion about that. This is healthy, that is healthy, so many things are healthy, this one is not. But who set the standard? That's the thing. By what standard do you make it? Who has decided, who created the body? Who knows how the body functions? God or us? So, that's the thing. So therefore the body is going to function how God says.

God says, you use ghee. But according to some modern nutritionist's standards, they may say, ghee is not good, safflower oil is good, because it's the highest in poly-unsaturates and all these kind of things. But according to Vedas, that's not good for you, because it creates impurity in the body.

Prabhu: Safflower, what's that?

HH BVPS Maharaja: Safflower, it's one kind of oil, I don't know if it is still popular, but it was in sixties, seventies they used at least, in nineties it was considered the best of all oils, as far as health goes, not neccesarily taste, probably for the taste people go more for olive oil, like that. But then the Vedas will say that oil creates lust.

Prabhu: All kinds of oil?

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, oil just creates lust. Ghee doesn't. Ghee is good for the brain, is good for the skin, is good for the semen, is good for digestion, it creates fire, does all these different things, while oil doesn't. So they attribute, basically all it is is there is these oily substances, ghee gets thrown in there with it. But ghee is in its own category. So they can't distinguish.

Just like you have gur, you have sugar, you have rock candy. Gur is good for you, because it has got all the vitamins and minerals and everything in it, but at the same time it restricts it, because of the strong flavor you can't take too much of it. You can't put too much gur, because it becomes so overpowering because of all the things in it. So you can only put so much, so it restricts itself. And so it's medicinal. But you still have to be careful. Sugar, you have cleaned out all those minerals and everything that is good for you, but you can increase the sweetness, you can put a huge amount. And so that creates heat in the body. Gur will create heat also, it's very hot, but because of its restricted nature you can only put so much. Sugar, you don't have that restriction, you can put so much, because it doesn't have that side flavor, it just creates sweetness. And it creates heat in the body. So therefore you can get all kinds of troubles if you eat too much of it. But rock candy then is purified of any impurities at all, so it's completely pure of a sweetener. So it actually now cools the body, it's medicine again. So gur is medicine, rock candy is medicine, sugar in-between is not. It has some effect, the liver likes it, but liver likes the pure state the best, the rock candy.

Prabhu: It also likes gur.

HH BVPS Maharaja: It also, but you don't get as much from the gur, it has all the heavy elements in it. But it's also good, because it has all these different elements that are very good for the health. So it all goes together and balances. So it's either in its raw state or in its completely purified state. In-between is the problem.

Prabhu: The karmis have this idea that the olive oil is very good for the heart, but that's not the effect? I mean, if it creates lust...

HH BVPS Maharaja: Good for the heart, that means, the heart is the emotions, and this and that, so many things, because they are all connected, so... The point is, it may be good for the heart, but it's not that it doesn't create lust. I mean, Italians aren't known for being the most sense controlled people on the planet. When you think of Italians, you think of very passionate, obsessed for interaction and life, like that. So, means, all those ones, they all take that, means all throughout there. I think it starts from Spain, it has got olive oil, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, they are really..., then the Middle East, the Lebanese, the Israelis and all of them, they all eat the olive oil, that's their oil. And they are all known as passionate people, you know, very passionate, very interactive. So, they are interactive, so it may be good for the heart, because they are all very personal people, but it creates passion. So it can be used, but my point what I am making is is that the modern science and the modern popularity may say one thing, but it doesn't neccessarily mean anything.

So what happens is is, what God says is ignored. So that's my point, there are standards that are made and that if we follow them, then there will be benefit, we will get benefit from them.

Prabhu: Another point is that their standards are constantly changing.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, that's the whole point. It's just like I remember as a kid, the theory was that a grown adult needed 40 grams of protein, and they were pushing that for years, I mean, since the 1950s when nutrition kind-of became prominent. Because up to theWorld War II there was no problem, no one worried about nutrition, because whatever they ate was good for them, and they ate according to the tradition, and that tradition was based on what worked in that climate and that environment.

Then, after World War II then basically the whole systems of agriculture and that changed, they got in these chemicals, because they had so many chemical factories to make munitions, so they just converted them into fertilizer factories and medical facility factories. Because you produce a chemical, it doesn't matter what chemical.

So from that then it was seen that the benefits you would get out of the food went down. They weren't following traditional methods of cooking any more, newer ways of cooking came up, before you would cook on wood stove. The fridge came up, all these different things, you know, you have these pre-cooked things, the microwave, all these different things that just take out everything valuable. So all these things just changed and then it was seen that what you would get out of the field in the 1950s, they were talking about that it was down 11 % of the nutritional value that what you got from the same field like 10 years before, because of the new things of the chemicals and all those things. And they were seeing that it was going down, down, down, down.

So then it becomes very important that you know what is nutritional, and so that you could target things where you could get the maximum amount, because it's minimally available. Does that make sense? So that's the need for it. It's not that it's a natural thing. The natural thing is, you eat your food of that place that people have been eating for generations, and you are sure you are gonna survive. They survived, why you shouldn't survive? You know, according to the climate, according to what grows, according to the nature of the people, they have their food. So some more eat wheat, some rice, some corn, some mais, so many  of your different vegetables,  how you put together the meal. So it depends upon what they eat, then these things are important.

Like salad, according to books, is full of vitamins and minerals, but because of the celluloide our stomachs can't digest it. As it goes in is how it comes out. We don't get hardly any nutritional value from the salad, lettuce, what it is is rawage. But why people will like to eat it, because what they eat creates constipation. Your non-fibrous diet, your meat diets and bread, very constipating. So therefore without salad their bowels won't move. So that's why it's such an intrical part, it's because of that diet. While when you are going to the vegetarian diets, like here in India, salad is not part of it anywhere. It's just not there. There is some salad elements in some snacks and things, a few things this and that, not eaten in the main meal time. Because raw and cooked food together isn't digestible. You have to eat them completely separately or at least separate them in your meal. Means, you eat all your raw things, then eat all your cooked things, or vice versa. There is an order you can do. The most scientific diet I have seen that can accomodate anything in it is the Bengali diet. Because they eat one thing right after another, they don't even mix anything. Even the North Indian diets is all the preparations are served at once and you eat them all how you please. So they are all designed in such a way that you can do that, and it will be fine for the health. But the Bengali is more scientific, you eat the bitter, then you eat the spinach, then you eat the dhal and the other simple sabjis, then you eat your rich sabjis, then you eat chutneys, you are not going to mix everything. Then you eat your fruits, then eat your sweets. You can't mix anything.

Prabhu: Fruit is in the morning.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, that's better, fruit in the morning. Prabhupada says, fruit in the morning is gold, silver in the afternoon, led at night. Because fruit is heavy to digest. But because you are working on a paradigm that low fat is considered good, because the women wanna look anorexic, so that they can fit into their pants and stuff, so therefore fruit is considered valuable because of that aspect. So then it becomes important, so then you eat it at any time, but the thing is, it can only really be absorbed in the morning. And it should be taken with milk products, that the Western paradigm won't know, you don' mix those two. That's their thing, so many of the things that they do are completely against actually what works.

It's just what somebody has come across, means, by accident, somebody sits there and researches, but that just means thrall in  there,  thrall in  there,  thrall in  there, so you never know, they go off in one direction, they'll take that direction as far as they can. And when they see it's a complete dead end, then they'll take another one. But it's not that they are working on a foundation to prove the Vedic statements or anything like this.

It's just like how much is it known knowledge that excessive loss of semen is bad for the health?

Prabhu: They promote it.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, they promote it.

Prabhu: They say you'll go insane if you don't...

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, I mean, they have all these theories, but we know it's different. So that's the whole point, that's the difficulty, so it's not just in one, it's in all the areas. They are nuts in all the areas. They get a few points right, if they didn't get something right, they wouldn't be alive. But that's the difficulty, they are not seeing. They'll say, without meat you'll die, some people.

Prabhu: You were mentioning about proteine. Now they have actually found out that because of that overload of proteine... Your body should deal with the proteins, your body uses calcium from bones and washes it out of your system.

HH BVPS Maharaja: So you get build of the calcium?

Prabhu: You get build of calcium, and then you get burdened bones and all kinds of bone problems, because it takes it when you don't have it, where it's gonna get it, so it takes it from the bones.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, from the bones, from your teeth. So now, then they will say you need 20 grams. Now, it was I think in the 1980s, so what they say now that you need I don't know. You know, it just keeps changing, that's the whole thing.

It's just like the B vitamins, that's the big thing, B vitamines. So then, one of the things in the B vitamine complex that makes it that you can even absorb the stuff and use it, a subthing, it's called inositol. But many of the B vitamines, they don't put it in at all. All it is is that people see B vitamines, they buy it, and the guy that manufactured, what does he care if you get healthy or not, it's business. So there is a certain proportion of inositol that's neccessary to absorb the B vitamines. Otherwise, it's there, you can't use it.  Have you ever taken those "5555", and then what color is your urine? It's like fluorescent multi-color, what is that? That is all those vitamines.

Prabhu: for every vitamine you need an enzyme, that's what's the benefit from eating green vegetables, you get enzymes to deal with vitamines.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, you don't get the vitamines from there.

Prabhu: Yeah, you get all the enzymes to enable you to actually use vitamines. For a vitamine it's like it just floats around, but the enzyme bounds with it, then you use it. If you don't have enzymes, vitamines are useless.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, so that the whole point. Prabhupada wrote an article in 1955, that it's nothing to do with vitamines and minerals. What it is is that the body is designed that if you put a particular foodstuff into it, it will create it. It's just like we eat whatever we want, and it will create glucose, that's what we burn. You put in lactose, it will make it into glucose, you put in fructose, it will make it into glucose, you put in starch, it will make it into glucose. So it's not that you have to eat glucose. You just have to eat your food that the body can convert. So he gives the example of the cow. You give it absolutely useless straw, dry straw, and it will turn it into milk, which is full of all vitamines and minerals, because their stomach digested to produce that. So the human stomach, if you eat grains and vegetables and milk products and sugars, and all these things that is just what the human being eats, your body will automatically create what you need. That's the principle.

So that's the whole point, that science of what you need, that's given by God, so He gives what foodstuffs we should eat. So that's the point that we are trying to get at, is that what is the standard by which you judge it? Is it God's standard or is it our own standard? Because our own standard always changes, that's the difficulty. So that means you are left with a religion that's constantly changing.  So that can be an anxiety, because at some point you want to nail it down.
(From Lecture and Discussion on Manu Samhita, 26 January 2004, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sri Mayapur Dhama)

All comments.