Examining The Diet Of A Traditional Wrestler
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India is renowned for its ancient sport of wrestling, and its wrestlers, known as pehalwans, have become national heroes. Pehalwans are revered for their strength, agility, and physical prowess, as well as for their intense training regimens. But what is often forgotten is that their diet has been carefully planned for centuries and has been a key part of their success.

History of the Pehalwan Diet

The pehalwan diet has been around for centuries, and its origins can be traced back to the ancient Indian treatise, the Arthashastra. In this treatise, the great Indian philosopher Chanakya wrote about what a traditional Indian wrestler should eat.

The pehalwan diet was based on the principles of Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine that focused on eating a balanced diet that was rich in nutrients and included a variety of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The diet didn't limit any particular food group. Instead, it pushed for a healthy, well-balanced diet.

The diet also stresses the importance of eating small, frequent meals throughout the day. This was done to ensure that the wrestler would have enough energy to complete his strenuous training regimen. The diet was also tailored to the individual wrestler, taking into account their age, body type, and preferences  

Examining the Pehalwan Diet 

The pehalwan diet is based on the principles of Ayurveda and includes a variety of foods from all food groups. It is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, grains, nuts, and legumes.

The diet also includes a variety of spices, herbs, and condiments, which are believed to have various health benefits. The diet is also rich in ghee, or clarified butter, which is believed to aid in digestion and provide the necessary energy for the wrestler’s intense training. Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, and dates are some of the most popular items in the pehalwan diet.

It's not so much what wrestlers eat that sets them apart as how much they eat. Some say they consume several gallons of milk daily, in addition to several kilograms of almonds and a lot of ghee. However, there are many other foods that are consumed by wrestlers. The specialized "khurak" diet of a wrestler consists solely of milk, ghee, and almonds. Wrestlers, like the rest of us, eat a variety of foods, including greens, lentils, grains, fruit, nuts, and more.

Wrestlers require cool, sattvic foods to keep them calm and relaxed while they work out and heat up their bodies. Sattvic fare is typically vegetarian, fresh from the kitchen, and low in fat and calories. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, sprouted seeds, honey, and ghee are all examples of sattvic foods. These foods have been linked to improved vigor, contentment, calmness, and concentration.

A wrestler builds his diet around milk and ghee, but he needs more variety, and so other foods are planned around those two main items.

Almonds are regarded as a primary source of dam kasi (stamina) and speed by wrestlers, while ghee produces generalized physical strength. When preparing almonds, you mash the nuts into a paste and then add liquid, like milk or ghee.

Chickpeas (chana) are viewed by many wrestlers as the poor man's almond alternative, despite the fact that dried peas, chickpeas, and lentils are commonplace items in Indian cooking. Wrestlers often eat a snack made from sprouted chickpeas.

Wrestlers believe that all fruits and fruit juices are beneficial to their performance. Fruits that are in season should be eaten, and they are most beneficial when eaten after meals. You should wait at least two hours after working out before consuming fruit juice. It's fine to have a glass of orange or lemon juice before getting started in the morning foods that (most) wrestlers avoid 

Few things are off-limits to wrestlers, and vegetarianism is not one of them. But wrestlers who eat meat often justify it by saying it's necessary for their training, despite the fact that meat is considered rajas in nature. They claim it is possible to eat meat and minimize the negative effects. The key is to counteract meat's rajas qualities with sattvic foods.

Wrestlers are expected to strictly adhere to the tradition of eating only food that has been cooked for them by a member of their family or that they have prepared themselves. This idea is based on the idea that a person's mood can be slightly passed on to other people. 

In general, foods that are too sour or spicy should be avoided by wrestlers. Garlic, cumin, coriander, and haldi are wonderful spices to use sparingly in cooking. The consumption of chutneys, achars (pickled spices, vegetables, and roots), chaats, and pickles of any kind is believed to elicit sexual arousal or a drowsy state.

Famous Indian Pehalwans and Their Diets

India has produced some of the greatest pehalwans in the world, and there are many famous Indian wrestlers who have followed the pehalwan diet.

One of the most famous Indian pehalwans is The Great Gama, also known as Gama Pehalwan. He was a famous Indian wrestler who won a lot of titles and is considered by many to be one of the best in the world. 

The Great Gama followed a strict pehalwan diet that included a variety of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. He also ate a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, grains, nuts, and legumes. He also ate a variety of spices, herbs, and condiments, which are believed to have various health benefits.

Dara Singh Randhawa, the late legendary wrestler who played Hanuman in the classic Ramayana TV show on Doordarshan, is remembered fondly by most. Dara Singh was a national and international wrestling champion in his prime.

A hundred almonds, some marmalade, some ghee, two liters of milk, half a kilogram of meat, and six or eight chapatis made up the bulk of his daily diet. There were only two meals a day for him: lunch and dinner. After a workout, he would only drink thandai, after which he would consume chicken or lamb soup.

The pehalwan diet has helped Indian wrestlers do well for hundreds of years, and it is still a popular choice among wrestlers today.