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1 year ago
Lunar eclipse 2018: Here’s why you shouldn’t be eating during an eclipse

Human beings have always looked skywards with awe, wondering whether the sun, moon and the stars were gods who controlled our fate. Unlike natural calamities like floods and forest fires that turned sneaked up on us, celestial bodies were revered for their steadfastness and predictability. You knew that the rise will rise in the East no matter what. This also explains why humans were terrified and awestruck by eclipses. The idea of the unwavering Sun and Moon Gods being obscured by an unknown force, albeit for a while, left the humans mystified.

Even in the Indian subcontinent, eclipse or grahan is a thing of both wonder and fear. Eating anything during the grahan period is strictly forbidden. People fast for nine hours before the eclipse and fermented and preserved foods like pickles are discarded after it has passed. On 31st January, 2018, as the world is gearing up for a lunar eclipse, we asked our expert Dr Manaan Gandhi, Ayurvedic physician from The Integral Ayurveda to explain the logic behind the strict diet dos and don’ts during a grahan.

Celestial bodies have an impact on human lives
“Ancient wisdom is mystified and romanticised to such an extent that people think astrology has more to do with magic than with science,” says Dr Gandhi. But the truth is that every rule in astrology is built on some observation or some underlying logic.

“In the Indian system of astrology, celestial bodies like the sun, moon, stars and planets have an impact on the body. Things like geographic location and positioning of stars and constellations can influence your mind and body. Even eclipses can impact you,” says Dr Gandhi.

The tridoshas or Vata, Pitta and Kapha are functional principles that govern the workings of our body. Vata represents the bodily elements that have the motile quality of air, Pitta of fire and Kapha of water.

What happens during an eclipse?
A combination of factors during an eclipse causes some changes in the human body. “During an eclipse, the Kapha dosha, which increases the risk of ailments caused by the excess of the dosha, such as skin diseases, itching, dandruff, halitosis, colds and congestions, lethargy, etc.,” says the doctor.

To make matters worse, the onset of Vasant Ritu or spring season has just begun. “The cold dryness of the Vasant season aggravates Kapha-related ailments. So the lunar eclipse is happening at a very inopportune moment,” says Dr Gandhi.

What happens when you eat during the eclipse?
Dr Gandhi explains how the three stages of digestion impact the body. “It is called awastha pak, meaning the state of digestion. In the first stage of the process, the Kapha increases. That’s why you feel lethargic and heavy after a meal. In the second state, the Pitta goes up, and in the third stage, Vata is stimulated. Eating anything during the grahan or the eclipse will increase the Kapha element in your body, which is already aggravated by the eclipse and the season,” he explains.

The time is therefore ripe for all Kapha doshas and you may end up suffering from lethargy, cold, cough, itching, stiffness, swelling, indigestion, bloating, etc. Kapha also aggravates psychiatric illnesses such as depression and psychosomatic problems. That’s why elders recommend fasting during the eclipse.

What can you eat during the eclipse?
Ideally, it is good to fast during the eclipse, according to Dr Gandhi. But if you can’t stay without eating, insist on having something light and spicy. Light food will not slow down your digestion. “Spices tend to work against Kapha and break it down. They do not allow Kapha to affect your mind,” says Dr Gandhi.

“Dry ginger or soonth is the best food that works against Kapha,” says the doctor. Mixing some dry ginger with water and sipping it during the eclipse will negate the effect of Kapha on your body. Dr Gandhi also recommends eating spices like pepper, bay leaves and turmeric (in small quantity).

Image source: Shutterstock

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