“Disease that can be treated by diet should not be treated by any other means” is a famous saying by Maimonides. This is the age-old principle contained in Ayurveda as well. The Purana Srimad Bhagavata also speaks of it, in its sixth canto. The civilized man of today lost the science and the art of eating. His habits of eating are not wholesome and not even healthy.
Most of the sicknesses emerge from lack of knowledge relating to food intake, work rhythms and sleep rhythms. Work, food and sleep is the basic triangle that has to be set up from man’s methodic functioning. Indiscrete, long hours of work, irregular sleep and inattentiveness to food have become major sources of sickness in the modern world.
To be a workaholic is not a virtue, it is as bad as gluttony and unrhythmic sleeping. A modern man walks away from natural rhythms and thereby lands in disease. Each man should be educated to review his/her own rhythms in relation to the three, namely work, food and rest.
Healthy food by itself is not enough unless the other rhythms are also set. One has to look for a balance between work, food and rest. There has to be daily rhythm, weekly, fortnightly, monthly and quarterly rhythms as well. In a week of seven days humanity is accustomed to have one day off weekly. The weekly off is from the regular work, there should also be a weekly off from regular food. The ancient Indians believed in weekly fasting to rest the digestive system. A day is marked to abstain from food and live on clean water. It is like weekly a servicing of the vehicle. The water cleanses and rejuvenates the system for the next week to come. Associating fasting with religion is not what is being said here. Just a weekly off from the eating activity and living by pure water this cleanses the system according to Ayurveda. There is also a monthly off from sleep to set the new rhythm and new chemistry to the body which is done a day before the new moon.
Thus, Ayurveda speaks of a periodical break in the rhythms for a fresh beginning, assuming that the rhythms are set. In yoga the seer Patanjali also speaks of a weekly off from all practices for a fresh beginning.
These dimensions shall have to be studied for their efficacy and the hidden science behind. They should be re-introduced sensibly by the physicians to ensure better health.
When food can cure sickness, why should medicines be used? A slight adjustment in the food rhythms would enable resetting the equilibrium relating to health. Every person is unique by himself. One should therefore be educated to find agreeable food to himself. Nothing can be generalized in matters of food and given out as a dictum. By observing one’s own body with regard to what is suitable and what is not suitable over a short period enables one to find one’s own individualized diet within the general diet. Every time the body shows a symptom of discomfort it is only messaging that there is something incorrect in one’s own food and other rhythms; one has to find it either by himself or with the help of a physician. Just medicating the body where it is not necessary is an act of ignorance and can be seen as a sin in the field of health and healing.