Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of The Nation is a true inspiration for teaching the importance of ‘ahimsa’ or non-violence while fighting for civil rights. Mahatma led the nation towards independence in the freedom struggle against British rule, laying emphasis on self-sustainability and equality among all the citizens, irrespective of religion, caste and creed.
Today, we are celebrating the 152nd birthday of Mahatma also fondly known as Bapu. Born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in the year 1869, in Porbandar, Gujarat and a lawyer by profession, he led his life guided by the principles of truth and simplicity. However, it was not just law, politics and the crusade for India's freedom for which Gandhiji is renowned. His ideas on diet and health, documented in his book titled, ‘The Moral Basis Of Vegetarianism’, based on his health practices, is still one of the widely read and best-sellers across the globe. We bring you interesting excerpts from the book for leading a healthy life.
Also Read: 10 Amazing Health Tips And Home Remedies, As Told By Mahatma
Useful Health Tips From The Food And Eating Practices Of Mahatma Gandhi:
1. Monitor Salt Intake
In the book, Gandhiji mentions that he was advised by his doctors to add a measured amount of salt to his diet on a daily basis.
Understanding the significance of salt as an essential electrolyte for vital body functions, yet wary of its ill effects on blood pressure when consumed in excess, Gandhiji strictly regulated the quantity of salt added to his meals, to a mere 30 grains per day.
2. Simple Vegetarian Diet
Gandhiji at first wanted to avoid all possible animal produce in his diet, including dairy, as it contradicted with his beliefs in leading a peaceful coexistence with nature. However, he also realised that milk products largely contribute to the body's daily requirement of calcium and proteins, crucial for stronger bones and developed muscles. Therefore, throughout his adulthood, Gandhiji followed a rigorous vegetarian diet plan, consuming three simple meals a day a few hours apart.
3. No Processed Foods
Interestingly, Gandhiji was quite calorie-conscious and always avoided eating deep-fried items. In fact, he highlighted the harmful effects of trans fats and Vanaspati in ghee towards excessive body weight and heart health. He advised all his followers to consume simple home-cooked meals with fresh ingredients and insisted on an organic vegetarian diet.
4. Fasting In Moderation
Almost a century ago, Gandhiji understood the importance of detoxifying the body and bloodstream after heavy meals, by occasionally consuming only fruits and water, so as to allow the system to get rid of any toxic wastes remaining in the body while staying sufficiently hydrated.
Also Read: 5 Toxic Habits To Let Go And Free Yourself
5. Reduce Sugar Consumption
Gandhiji did develop an occasional sweet tooth and had a weakness for yummy mangoes in summers, which he couldn't resist. However, on other days of the year, he was extremely cautious as to not ingest too much sugar in food items as well as in the form of sweets. He was aware of the integral role sugars played in regulating energy, digestion and hormonal balance in the body and advised people to also control their sugar intake.
6. Eat Local Produce
A basic diet tip strongly advocated by Gandhiji was consuming locally grown foods. Long before sustainable eating became a major trend, Gandhi realised the importance of people buying and eating more of indigenous produce harvested in India, for the livelihood and sustenance of native farmers, as well as the overall health of people. He recommended including home-grown cereals and millets of rice, ragi, bajra, wheat, jowar, besides seasonal fruits, vegetables, as part of the daily diet for optimal wellbeing.
7. Practise Portion Control
Mahatma Gandhi believed in primarily eating meals for health and survival and even publicly stated that “Food should be taken as a matter of duty - even as a medicine - to sustain the body, never for the satisfaction of the palate.” He understood the harmful effects on health, of frequently giving in to indulgence and ingesting unhealthy, oily, sugary junk and fast foods. He advised adopting a balanced diet with sufficient amounts of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, but no component in excess, to promote metabolism, digestion, immunity.
The bottom line, as advised by Mahatma is all about following a simple, balanced diet loaded with proteins, fibres, essential vitamins and minerals along with regular exercise and steering clear of injurious habits like drinking and smoking, for improving the overall quality of life.