(I) Seeds , nuts and grains :
These are the most important and the most potent of all foods and contain all the important nutrients needed for human growth. They contain the germ, the reproductive power which is of vital importance for the lives of human beings and their health. Millet, wheat, oats, barley, brown rice, beans and peas are all highly valuable in building health. Wheat, mung beans, alfalfa seeds and soya beans make excellent sprouts. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts and soya beans contain complete proteins of high biological value. Seeds, nuts and grains are also excellent natural sources of essential unsaturated fatty acids necessary for health. They are also good sources of lecithin and most of the B vitamins.They are the best natural sources of vitamin C, which is perhaps the most important vitamin for the preservation of health and prevention of premature ageing. Besides, they are rich sources of minerals and supply necessary bulk in the diet. They also contain auxones, the natural substance that play an important role in the rejuvenation of cells and prevention of premature ageing.
(ii) Vegetables :
They are extremely rich source of minerals, enzymes and vitamins. Faulty cooking and prolonged careless storage, however, destroy these valuable nutrients. Most of the vegetables are, therefore, best consumed in their natural raw state in the form of salads. There are different kinds of vegetables. They may be edible roots, stems, leaves, fruits and seeds. Each group contributes to the diet in its own way. Fleshy roots have energy value and good sources of vitamin B . Seeds are relatively high in carbohydrates and proteins and yellow ones are rich in vitamin A. Leaves, stems and fruits are excellent sources of minerals, vitamins, water and roughage. To prevent loss of nutrients in vegetables, it would be advisable to steam or boil vegetables in their juices on a slow fire and the water or cooking liquid should not be drained off. No vegetable should be peeled unless it is so old that the peel is tough and unpalatable. In most root vegetables, the largest amount of mineral is directly under the skin and these are lost if vegetables are peeled. Soaking of vegetables should also be avoided if taste and nutritive value are to be preserved.
(iii) Fruits :
Like vegetables, fruits are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and enzymes. They are easily digested and exercise a cleansing effect on the blood and digestive tract. They contain high alkaline properties, a high percentage of water and a low percentage of proteins and fats. Their organic acid and high sugar content have immediate refreshing effects. Apart from seasonable fresh fruits, dry fruits, such as raisins, prunes and figs are also beneficial. Fruits are at their best when eaten in the raw and ripe states. In cooking, the loose portions of the nutrient salts and carbohydrates. They are most beneficial when taken as a separate meal by themselves, preferably for breakfast in the morning. If it becomes necessary to take fruits with regular food, they should form a larger proportion of the meals. Fruits, however, make better combination with milk than with meals. It is also desirable to take one kind of fruit at a time. For the maintenance of good health, atleast one pound of uncooked fruits should form part of the daily diet. In case of sickness, it will be advisable to take fruits in the form of juices. The three basic health-building foods mentioned above should be supplemented with certain special foods such as milk, vegetable oils and honey. Milk is an excellent food. It is considered as " Nature’s most nearly perfect food." The best way to take milk is in its soured form - that is, yogurt and cottage cheese. Soured milk is superior to sweet milk as it is in a predigested form and more easily assimilated. Milk helps maintain a healthy intestinal flora and prevents intestinal putrefaction and constipation. High quality unrefined oils should be added to the diet. They are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin C and F and lecithin. The average daily amount should not exceed two tablespoons . Honey too is an ideal food. It helps increase calcium retention in the system, prevents nutritional anaemia besides being beneficial in kidney and liver disorders, colds, poor circulation and complexion problems. It is one of the nature’s finest energy-giving food. A diet of the three basic food groups, supplemented with the special foods, mentioned above, will ensure a complete and adequate supply of all the vital nutrients needed for health, vitality and prevention of diseases. It is not necessary to include animal protein like egg, fish or meat in this basic diet, as animal protein, especially meat, always has a detrimental effect on the healing process. A high animal protein is harmful to health and may cause many of our common ailments.
Based on what has been stated above, the daily menu of a health-building and vitalising diet should be on the following lines :
Upon arising :- A glass of lukewarm water mixed with the juice of a half a lemon and a teaspoon of honey, or a glass of freshly squeezed juice of any available seasonable fruit such as apple, pineapple, orange, sweet lime and grapes.
Breakfast :- Fresh fruits such as apple, orange, banana, grapes, or any available seasonal fruits, a cup of butter-milk or unpasteurised milk and a handful of raw nuts or a couple of tablespoons of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Mid-morning snack : One apple or a banana or any other fruit.
Lunch : A bowl of freshly prepared steamed vegetables using salt, vegetable oil and butter for seasoning, one or two slices of whole grain bread or chappatis and a glass of butter-milk.
Mid-afternoon : A glass of fresh fruit or vegetable juice or any available fruit.
Dinner : A large bowl of fresh salad made up of green vegetables, such as tomatoes, carrot, cabbage, cucumber, red beet and onion with lime juice dressing, any available sprouts such as alfalfa seeds, and mung beans , a warm vegetable course, if desired, one tablespoon of fresh butter, cottage cheese or a glass of butter-milk. The above menu is a general outline around which an individual diet can be built. It can be modified and changed to adopt to specific requirements and conditions. The menu for lunch and dinner is interchangeable.Do not drink liquids with meals. The water should be taken half an hour before meals or an hour after meals. Milk, buttermilk, and vegetable soups are foods and can be taken with meals.