There are three different modes of agni(fire element) operating in our living system – Jataragni, Bhutagni and Dhatwagni – denoting for digestion, metabolism(absorption) and assimilation(tissue development). The living body is constantly depreciating and to sustain health, the chief source is food, apart from water and air. To accept these vital requirements and to indicate the need at proper time, the force is AGNI. The magnitude of Agni is not the same for all people and that explains the difference of intake capacity between people. Prakruti or body mind constitution by birth is the determining factor for Agni also. It can be fluctuating(dominance of vata bioenergy) or dull(due to kapha) or aggressive(due to pittam) or constant(balance of vata-pitta-kapha) Having explained the importance of Agni, it is evident that diet cannot be generalized unless this factor is taken into consideration. Pioneer of Internal Medicine in Ayurveda, sage Charaka has clearly laid down the following criteria for food & drink – a,nature of the food(prakriti) b,transmutation(karana)(process or changes enhancing qualities of the food) c,combination(samyoga)d,  measure/quantity(raasi) e, place of origin(desa) f, season/age of use(kaala) g, conditions of use(upayoga-samstha) and h, the person who consumes the diet. It may appear complicated to modern day lifestyle, but if followed to some extent, disease prevention will be the direct outcome. While talking about diet in this era, nature, composition, nutritional value and occasionally, processing techniques are dealt well. We should be knowing certain guidelines for diet before thinking about recipes. Food taken should be generally warm, not dry and should be consumed after the previous meal is digested. One should take food with concentration at a place which is not repulsive to him. Each person should survey his/her capacity before beginning to eat. Food consumed in proper quantity improves life span by not affecting the three bioenergies(vatam,pittam, kapham), ensures correct transformation of food  and  does not alter digestion. A person who does not take food made from contradicting combinations almost becomes disease free. We shall see details about unwholesome combinations in the coming pages. If a person consumes food in quick time or keeps laughing without paying attention to food intake , there is chance for reflux of stomach contents and the food does not reach the intended receptacle apart from denial of merits of the food consumed. At the same time, eating too slowly causes excessive food intake and the digestion never becomes equable.  

Doctor Dr. Harikrishnan Meenakshisundaram, 2012122119:24:04

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