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Yogi Bhajan Lecture: Food - The Human Medicine

Excerpts from Food: The Human Medicine, Beads of Truth, Winter 1992 by Yogi Bhajan

To begin with, all food was considered as human medicine. Food is the medicine which creates equili­brium. That is the beauty of food. The basic properties of a food must be that it should be nutritious, sustaining, and balanced. Balanced food is that food which can be digested without drawing on your health. It should not put a strain on the body.

Food which sustains you will always give you more joy in life. Any food which pushes you is going to kill you. You don't grow old by years, you grow old by food. The bottom line is not how much you know, the bottom line is how much you eat and what you eat.

We take medicines to get rid of disease. What does medicine do? It fights the disease and gives the body a chance to recuperate. What is a medicine? It is a sustaining food. Chemical medicines are produced because they are inexpensive. The difference between organic medicine and chemical medicine is that chemical medicine is direct, while organic medicine is indirect. Organic medicine affects us slowly but its effects are long term.

Eating tasty food is nutritious, but eating right food is sustaining too. Eating the right food is a cure in itself. What has happened with modern medicine is that they have removed the curing properties of foods. They have taken those direct properties, filled the medicine with them, and have shoved it into people. If the whole food or the whole herb is used, rather than merely taking the extract from it, there is hardly any negative reaction.


Juice fasting is to be done with extreme caution and wisdom. Don't go on a fast without preparing for it, and without having the capacity to go through it. Those people who go on a fast indiscriminately can mess up their metabolism and their body and their energy. Juice fasts should be done only by someone whose body is already intrinsically strong enough to withstand the toxins that will be eliminated. Juice fasting increases the cleaning capacity of the lungs, liver, kidneys, bowels, and skin. It expels toxins, and rejuvenates the mental, glandular, hormonal, and nervous systems. It can also expel decayed cells and stimulate the growth of new ones.

Raw Vegetable Juice

The juices that are typically recommended to people are carrot, beet, and celery. Alkaline juices are the best. For things like ulcers, cabbage juice is recommended. Cucumber is also a popular one. Raw vegetable juices, when extracted from organically grown fresh vegetables and fruits, give the body the easiest way to ingest a high percentage of the vitamins and minerals contained in these foods. Diets of fresh vegetable juices build and regenerate the body. Vegetable juices are easily assimilated within ten to fifteen minutes. The juices must not be drunk, but “eaten” thoroughly, “chewed” and mixed with saliva. Vegetable juice fasts are good for losing weight, detoxification, and cleansing the organs, cells, and tissues of the body.

Mung Beans and Rice Diet

This is a good cleansing diet. It is good for the kidneys and helps in higher meditation. Mung beans are an easily assimilated protein. This diet will work on the colon and the digestive organs. It is beneficial in cases of constipation. For thirty days eat only Mung Beans and Rice at mealtimes with lots of green vegetables cooked into the same dish. Fruits may be eaten between meals whenever desired and Yogi Tea may be taken. This is a good winter diet and is recommended for people over forty.


Before a man eats, four conditions should exist in the environment. If these conditions are not met, then it is better for a man to remain hungry. First of all, he should be surrounded by a calm and quiet atmosphere. Secondly, he should be under no mental or physical pressure. Thirdly, the food he is about to eat must be properly cooked with all the ingredients. Lastly, there should be enough time in which to eat gracefully.


As a woman you must watch your elimination system, your urine and stool. It is more important for a woman than a man. Your food should pass through the body easily and take less than eighteen hours.

The majority of a woman's sicknesses come from eating the wrong foods. It doesn't matter what you eat, but it matters how you eliminate it. Mostly you eat for eating's sake, you eat for the taste. But whatever you eat, it should not sit in your stomach and then not come out. Food must clear your stomach in two hours, and your body in eighteen hours. Otherwise you are asking for a problem.

In constitutional structure, a woman is required not to fast. If she has to, she should prepare herself scientifically and medically. If a woman fasts without proper guidance and preparation there is a sixty percent possibility that her Navel Point (the pulse at the navel) will go off position. That will mess up her pituitary gland secretion, her breasts, and her digestive system.

The best pattern in which a woman should eat is to have two meals a day and two light (nourishing) drinks and one of these meals should be steamed vegetables. Breakfast should be very light, healthy, and totally liquid. At lunch time you can eat what you like—as heavy a food as you think you can digest. The second drink can be taken in mid-afternoon. During the evening, make sure your meal is totally light and easily digestible. A woman should never eat late at night, and never heavy meals. If you can make the evening meal mainly vegetables, it will give you tremendous physical security.

A Cleansing Diet

If you are eager to begin to bring about a distinct improvement in your general health, try a special diet of eating only fruits, nuts, and vegetables (cooked or raw) for thirty days. This diet is used in India when the person looks old and the body is wearing out and becomes impotent. It is said to cleanse the system and revitalize the body. The first few days you may feel weak, but then gradually your strength will increase and you will start to feel light and happy. After thirty days, dairy products may be added to the diet.

The best seasons for this diet are summer, spring, and fall, when the weather is warm and these foods are available fresh. Springtime is when new blood starts coming in. It's a good time to cleanse. It is written that you cannot be a man of experience unless you cleanse yourself in the spring.

© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan

[As with any change in your healthcare regime, please consult your primary health-care practitioner before undertaking any new exercise, dietary, or herbal treatment program. The information presented here is not to be used as a diagnostic tool or as a substitute for qualified medical care. Anyone who has reason to suspect serious illness should seek appropriate medical advice and care promptly.]