This is another thing which Sikhs (and everyone) need to pay attention to. We need to pay attention to our body, mind AND spirit. There has to be a balance. Sometimes people get so into the spiritual/intellectual aspects of Sikhism and forget their body, and end up with all kinds of health problems. Normal Punjabi diet is pretty heavy in oils/ghee, so if you don’t do some good exercise, fogettaboutit, your arteries are going to be clogged, you’ll be overweight, and probably have other health problems. If you are ot in the fields farming then your probably ok, but knowing most of the Sikhs these days, they are not farming in the fields.
For me…I grew up practicing Yoga, meditation and eating very healthy and wholesome food. To have a clear mind as a Sikh you have to take care of your body. As Sikhs we don’t use intoxicants and drugs for this very reason (clear mind). Food can be an intoxicant too and cloud your mind by making you “heavy” and wasting your valuable energy. Have you ever noticed that when you eat certain foods you feel really tired after? Digesting food can use a lot of your energy (Especially if you eat meat which can take up to 72 hours to digest). There is a saying “eat little and sleep little”. Eating too much can really drain your energy. So much of eating is just social and emotional, rather than true hunger.
For me Yoga is a tool which allows me to stretch my body, stay flexible and charge up my body with energy. Some Sikhs are “anti-yoga” and probably don’t really even know what it is. I just want to say that there are many tools available to us to take care of ourselves, and we should not limit ourselves. Take a chance…try something new, eplore! See for yourself. Yoga may not be for you, but it is a good tool that many (including myself) have found very helpfull to stay healthy.
Diet is huge topic. I don’t know where to start. When I go to the grocery store and see the junk that people load into their carts, I am amazed that they are alive. It’s amazing how much of a “beating” the body can take. When I travel I see some of the foods that Punjabis eat…and have to admit that most don’t eat very healthy. A big part of this is not really Punjabi at all. It is just that we are not all educated on what is good and bad for your body. The “healthy” eating that we always see on TV and in magazines is so Fad based and driven by companies trying to sell products. (Low carbs, low fat, etc). Honestly most people don’t know what healthy is.
When Yogi Bhajan came to the USA he taught us yoga, meditation, about Sikhi, but he also taught a lot about healing your body through foods. Eating healthy foods that nourish your body, rather than drain it. Our body has such a capacity to heal itself. Simple so called “home remedies” can do so much for you. In India so much of the ancient healing techniques seem to be lost. Western medicine has taken hold. Everyone is ready for a quick fix for everything from being overweight to being depressed. Just go to your doctor and get a pill to “fix” just about any problem. India has such gems and I have watched as western influence has changed it so much. Just like Sikhi…I think there will be a revitalization, when people realize what they already have in their culture and are losting. Who knows though how long this will take to happen.
I know from experience that sometimes things have to get so bad (either health wise, stress, emotional, sikhi, etc) for people to make a change. We are motivated by fear and pain. When everything is going well…you take things for granted and may not take care of things. So…for many of us, we go through some very low points in our life which then sparks the drive to be a better Sikh…or take care of health problems, eat better, etc.
So…eat light fresh foods (not all the processed junk), get out and shake your booty (AKA: exercise). Learn more about eating healthy. Enjoy the Gift, the body temple which God has given us for this short time.