Food is one of the main sources from which we gain energy. Not only that, the kind of food we have influences our mind, thoughts, and behaviour. There is an ancient saying in India — “as is the food, so is the mind”.

Once, there was a great monk who lived in the Himalayas. People loved and welcomed him and he had free access anywhere he went. This monk would go to the king’s palace to have lunch everyday. The queen would serve him in a golden plate and cup and would leave afterwards. One day, after meal, he grabbed a silver glass and a golden spoon and walked away with it. He did not even tell anyone that he wanted them. People in the palace were surprised. ‘‘What happened to the monk? He has never taken anything like that, that too without telling anybody!’’ they wondered. Three days later, returned them. This was even more puzzling.

The king called all the wise people to analyse the monk’s behaviour. The pundits and the wise men investigated as to what was fed to the monk that day. They found out that some food, which had been confiscated from dacoits, was cooked and served to the monk and that had made him rob!

The state of mind of the people who bring food to you also affects you. There is an ancient prayer in India that people chant before a meal, — Let the provider of this food be happy. When you say this, you are wishing prosperity for three people — the farmer, the trader, and the person who cooks the food and serves it. Even if one of them is sad, our lives will be affected. Farmers are unhappy because the growing use of chemicals has reduced the fertility of the soil and put them under debt. We need to educate them about cost-effective ways of natural farming. If merchants are happy and do business without being greedy, they will not need to do adulteration. If the women in the house shed tears and cook food, we will have to shed tears to digest it; we will get body aches, headaches, stomach pains, and various diseases. Therefore, the ancient prayer wishes happiness and prosperity to all three.

Another ancient saying proclaims ‘Food is God’. When you consider food as god you will not simply stuff yourself, but eat with honour. We must pay attention to food and eat the right amount, the right type at the right time.

The debate on ‘why is it good to be a vegetarian’ has long been settled. People all over the world have started understanding that human physiology is made for a vegetarian diet. The internet is full of information on why eating meat is not good for one’s own health and the environment. There is plenty of disturbing footages available on what treatment animals are subjected to in slaughterhouses, like the documentary Meet your Meat. They are injected with hormones so that they grow faster and add more bulk. All these chemicals end up in the bodies of people who eat this meat. But their system cannot take these chemicals, and it eventually lead to cancer and other immune system disorders. The milk from these animals is also toxic and is rejected by the consumers’ physiology. In fact, the large number of cases of lactose intolerance and diseases among meat eaters was what gave birth to the vegan movement. The ancient Indian science of meditation and pranayama combined with Ayurveda is over 5,000-8,000 years old. It has been responsible for the good health and wellbeing of generations.

All changes have to start with yourself. Remember that when you eat, you are offering it to the Divine that resides inside your body. So honour your food, eat right and stay healthy.