RIGHT FOOD (MITÂHÂRA)
This third article of the series describing the yoga instructions of Jean Klein, explains how you can support yourself on the yoga path by eating the right food. I advise you to absorb the factual knowledge, but to put it into practice with flexibility. This flexibility was also present in the instructions of Jean Klein. .
For instance, I remember how Jean Klein, during a seminar in Germany, explained that it is wise to keep away from sweets and pastry, but, at the same time, he told us we could now and then, by way of exception, eat “Apfelkuchen”. If one follows the yoga approach of Jean Klein, according to my own experience the sensitivity quickly increases and the body by itself will ask for the right food. Eating the right food is then no longer felt as an imposed discipline, but simply as a “feel good” lifestyle . Jean Klein gave the following directives:
1. Human nutrition must be based on whole grains
2. Artificial food and beverage must be avoided
3. The combination of foods in a meal must be such, that our body is able to digest them well together
Ad 1: Unfortunately in our society grains are often “spoiled” (for instance by adding sugar) or enfeebled (by refining). “White bread is a typical ego-invention” (Jean Klein)
Ad 2: Examples of artificial foods: sugar, refined flour, household salt, products with chemical additives like preservatives, synthetic pigments, synthetic flavourings, synthetic sweeteners, etc.. Also certain manipulations like baking, frying, deep-frying, smoking and roasting may cause such transformations that the final product must be considered as artificial. Examples:
—If bread is baked with a dark brown or even black upper side, then large quantities of AGE’s (advanced glycation endproducts) are produced, which are not good for our health. Before eating such bread, the dark crust should be removed.
—If food is fried, deep-fried or baked using vegetable oil (like sunflower oil), often oxidized fats are formed, which are noxious.
—During the process of smoking foods like fish, the food is contaminated by carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
—Roasting coffee beans produces among other things AGE’s
—Our usual chocolate is made of roasted cacao. Apart from the negative aspect that customary chocolate contains sugar, according to Jean Klein the heated fats in this chocolate are harmful to the liver and gall-bladder. Fortunately, nowadays there is raw chocolate without these unwholesome effects. Also foods like nuts should be eaten raw and not roasted.
— Jean Klein considered the usual black tea as artificial beverage. If I listen to my body while drinking this tea, indeed I’m able to recognize that it contains elements which my body does not appreciate. Drinking the black Pu-erh tea however does not trigger this negative reaction of my body. Jean Klein advised to drink herb tea instead of coffee and black tea. He told us that, if we like it, we may add some honey. I consider Pu-erh tea, green tea and white tea also as herb tea.
— In accordance with the yoga tradition Jean Klein advised to avoid alcoholic beverages. If you still like to drink occasionally an alcoholic beverage, it is advisable to drink biological red wine without added sulphite.
Ad 3: When in former times I asked Jean Klein for a diet to support prânâyâma with kumbhaka, he gave me the following diet:
Breakfast: yoghurt with fruits
Lunch: raw vegetable salad, followed by “starch-food” with cooked/stewed vegetables, for instance brown rice or whole-meal pasta with cooked/stewed vegetables, hotchpotch of potatoes and vegetables
Dinner: raw vegetable salad, followed by concentrated protein-food with cooked/stewed vegetables. Examples of concentrated protein-foods: cooked eggs, cheese (preferably a special kind of soft white cheese; this will be explained later), fish
He advised me to add a bit of pure, unrefined sea salt to the cooked food. Of course one can also add some herbs or spices like curry, ginger etc.
If we analyse this prânâyâma diet, we can see that this diet obeys all the rules of food combining. The physician who became famous by his knowledge of food combining was the American Herbert Shelton (Lit. 1)
Food combining instruction
1. Starch and concentrated proteins are for our body a difficult combination to digest. Therefore it is better to eat starch-food (grains, potatoes) and concentrated protein-food (eggs, fish, cheese, nuts) in different meals.
2. Sweets (sugar, honey, fruits which contain sugars etc.) are a bad combination with starch-food as well as with concentrated protein-food. That is why Herbert Shelton advised to “desert the dessert”.
Fruits contain many elements which are very healthy, but because most of them form incompatible combinations with starch-food as well as with concentrated protein-food, Herbert Shelton advised to eat fruits for breakfast. In the yoga tradition fermented milk products (especially yoghurt and soft white cheese) are highly estimated. For that reason and because most people can well digest the combination yoghurt with fruits, the prânâyâma diet has this combination for breakfast. Fruits with more possibilities to combine:
—Tomatoes hardly contain sugars. Therefore, if you like, you can add tomatoes to your raw vegetable salad. Also the combination of cheese with tomatoes is acceptable.
—Avocados contain hardly any sugars and acids and therefore combine well with grains (for instance bread) and potatoes.
—Nuts combine well with acid fruits (Lit.1)
After this important information about right combinations of food, we shall discuss the principle food-stuffs:
Fruits can be classified as follows:
Sweet fruits: bananas, grapes, dates
Sub-acid fruits: apples, pears, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, bilberries
Acid fruits: oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, kiwis, pineapples, many kinds of berries like raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.
According to Jean Klein, the sub-acid fruits are for human beings the most appropriate kind of fruit, with apples and apricots on top.Although dried fruits are not as healthy as fresh fruits, we can eat them without problems (pay attention that they are not sulphurized). Most dried fruits must be soaked a few hours in water before consumption. Jean Klein advised to eat only moderate quantities of acid fruits. He also told us that bananas are only proper food if they are ripe (with black dots on the skin)
—In the prânâyâma diet, lunch as well as dinner starts with a raw vegetable salad. Jean Klein told us this has a positive effect on digestion as well as on health in general. He advised me to use a bit of lemon juice for dressing (instead of vinegar). An interesting aspect of lemon juice is that, by the high content of vitamin C, the body will be able to better absorb certain minerals from the salad (like iron). I myself mostly dress my raw vegetable salad with a bit of lemon juice, shoyu and cold pressed olive oil.
— Jean Klein told that when we cook bulbous plants (like onions), tubers (like seleriac) or leafy vegetables (like endive), during the first minutes after being on the boil, certain compounds are formed which dissolve in the cooking water. He said that these compounds, if the food that we eat contains too much of them, have a negative effect on the suppleness of our muscles and joints. Therefore he advised us to pour off vegetables a couple of minutes after being on the boil and then cook or stew them in new water. I myself prefer stewing the vegetables in a casserole in a small quantity of water with a bit of ghee and herbs/spices.
—Dried pulses, which must be soaked a number of hours before cooking, contain much carbohydrates as well as proteins. Therefore they are heavy to digest. If your body has trouble with digestion, you better not eat them or eat them in the mild form of lentil-soup. I myself eat now and then pulses in combination with stewed vegetables (after a raw vegetable salad)
— Jean Klein advised to eat garlic only raw, in very small quantities. When cooked, garlic is heavy to digest. With onions, it is just the reverse. During a personal conversation, Jean Klein told me that raw onions must even be classified as “tamasic food”. Cooked onions and leek however are excellent healthy food.
—Maybe you have noticed that in the prânâyâma diet nuts are not mentioned to eat as concentrated protein-food. The reason is that nuts are rather heavy to digest. However, nuts like almonds and walnuts are very healthy and if you like, you may, when you eat a meal with concentrated protein-food, add a few nuts to the raw vegetable salad. Nowadays I myself take sometimes in the evening a small meal of citrus fruits with nuts.
—Now we shall take a closer look at soft white cheese. Soft white cheese is softer than the usual cheese. The difference during the procedure of cheese-making is as follows: After adding rennet and different forms of lactobacillus to the milk, during the standard procedure of cheese-making, the curdled milk is rather quickly rinsed and the remaining milk sugar and most of the lactobacilli removed. During the procedure of making the best kind of soft white cheese, the curdled milk is not rinsed and the different forms of lactobacillus act upon the curdled milk for many hours. This results in a completely different product. Some decades ago, the Dutch Union of Yoga teachers invited the physician dr. Chandra from London to give lectures during the yearly congress in Elspeet. During one of these lectures he explained that this soft white cheese is much healthier and better digestible than the usual more solid cheese. I remember one of the details, namely that, by the prolonged action of the different forms of lactobacillus, the length of the fat molecules is considerably reduced.
—When he gave me the instructions of the prânâyâma diet, Jean Klein told me that, if I wanted, I could eat fish as concentrated protein-food. At that moment I ate strictly vegetarian, but as I’ll describe at the end, this instruction became important to me about twenty years later.
—In accordance with the yoga tradition, Jean Klein told us that eating meat is noxious, especially pork.
—If you decide to eat a meal with eggs, then lightly boiled (the white solidified and the yolk still liquid) is most healthy.
Some auspicious effects of right eating
—“When we live with right eating, we become sattvic, light, receptive, in complete availability” (Jean Klein, Lit. 2)
—The book “Anticancer” (David Servan Schreiber, Lit. 3) makes clear that, if you follow the advises of Jean Klein concerning food, you create anticancer conditions in your body. Products mentioned in this book because of their strong anticancer effects are, besides fruits and vegetables, green tea, curry (the essential ingredient is turmeric, but the ingredient black pepper is necessary for the absorption of the turmeric) and cacao. The book “The Food Hourglass” (Lit.4) explains the positive aspects of cacao. It shows that raw chocolate is a mighty anticancer food.
—Following the instructions of food combining not only results in a better digestion, it also results in avoiding negative effects of eating wrong food combinations:
“The incorrect combination of food requires a tremendous supplement of energy to be digested. This energy is taken away from other sources of energy in our body. We may feel mentally or physically lethargic or over-exited, depressed or nervous. We may laugh, talk, act or think impulsively. There may be physical discomfort.” (Jean Klein, Lit.2)
—Long ago I got inflamed tonsils twice in a short time. Our medical man gave me antibiotics and advised me the second time, to go to the hospital to have the tonsils remove. Fortunately, I discovered then the book “Food Combining Made Easy” (Lit. 1) and started following the instructions of food combining. This soon resulted in a very healthy condition of my tonsils, so there was no more reason to remove them.
Summarizing we can conclude that eating the right food in right combinations will prevent much bodily and mental discomfort.
Food should be produced according to the “RITA”
We live in a world in which everything is connected. A wise human being acts thus, that the harmony is not disturbed. He acts according to the rita (cosmic laws which uphold harmony). Aspects of the rita concerning the production of food:
1 people-friendly, which means that nobody in the production process is exploited
2 animal-friendly Example: A producer of eggs should offer his chickens conditions by which they feel good. He should give them healthy organic food. An interesting aspect is that Jean Klein once said that also the food of chickens should be based on whole grains.
3 environment-friendly Plants and trees should be grown organically, without chemicals which poison the environment and often also the plants and trees
What would be the best food for me ?
Although the main lines of right food are given, I can imagine this question arises. What is the ideal food for us depends on many factors, like our constitution, the kind of life we live and also our age.Students of Jean Klein had the advantage that Jean Klein, as genuine siddha, was clairvoyant at all levels. Therefore he was able to perfectly advise his students about food. About 15 to 20 years after giving me the prânâyâma diet, Jean Klein told me I had to stop eating the breakfast of yoghurt with fruits and switch to a breakfast based on whole grains. When I asked him why this change was necessary, he answered that the functioning of my body had changed and therefore he had to give me this advice.In the previous article on yoga poses “listening to the body” was a main issue. Also in this instruction about the right food we can say that “listening to the body” is the best option to find your way. An important aspect is observing the condition of the mucous membranes of your nose when you wake up. If your nose is blocked , it often gives you the opportunity to detect which food, that you ate the day before, caused problems.
The intelligence of the body
Jean Klein once said that the yoga approach he instructed awakens the intelligence of the body. Fifteen years ago, I was struck by a bowel disease (colitis ulcerosa). The diagnosis was made by a specialist in the city of Groningen. He told me that the disease was incurable and that I had to take medicines for the rest of my life to suppress the symptoms. I felt defeated and started to meditate on the situation with my intellect switched off, because it had not been able to find a solution. During the meditation suddenly vivid memories of forty years ago popped up, about how as a child I enjoyed mackerel. I considered this as a signal of the intelligence of my body and decided to finish my strict vegetarian lifestyle and to allow myself to start eating oily fish like mackerel. Shortly after this decision, one of my yoga students gave me an article of Bertine Geerling with the title “Nutrition and inflammatory bowel diseases” (in Dutch language).This article said that the omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish sometimes are a good medicine for people with colitis ulcerosa. In my case this remark proved to be true. After eating 2 mackerels a week for three weeks (of course with vegetables), suddenly all symptoms disappeared. When shortly after my recovery I had to go to the hospital to collect my medicines, I could say “Keep them, because I don’t need them anymore”. The disease never came back.
1 Food Combining Made Easy, Herbert Shelton, 1951, dr. Shelton’s Health School, San Antonio (many reprints)
2 The book of Listening, Jean Klein, 2008, Non-Duality Press, Salesbury
3 Anticancer: A New Way of Life, David Servan-Schreiber, 2009, Penguin Group USA
4 The Food Hourglass, Kris Verburgh, 2014, Harpercollins Publishers