These apply for one week - no less. If you cannot abide by these food restrictions, we suggest that you do not practise shankha-prakshalana.
You should avoid the following foods: chemically processed, synthetic, pungent, acidic and non-vegetarian foods. This includes alcohol, cigarettes, tea, coffee, soft drinks, milk, buttermilk, yoghurt, spices and any characteristically acidic fruits such as lemons, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, etc.
You must eat a simple, pure and reasonably neutral (that is not overacidic) diet. You may include most foods such as rice, wheat, bread, most types of fruits and vegetables with low acid content, nuts, lentils, pulses, soybeans, etc. You must use your discretion and common sense in this respect. Remember you have cleansed the whole digestive system. If you eat the wrong food it may have adverse reactions on the digestive tract, so make sure that you follow closely the diet we have indicated. Furthermore, make sure the food is clean, well cooked (if this is necessary) and not poisonous. Alter shankhaprakshalana your digestive system is more vulnerable to unsuitable, bad or dirty food, so take extra care to protect your body, following the instructions we have given. To further emphasize this important point, here is an example of a person who did not follow these regulations. He did shankha-prakshalana under guidance, and was warned not to take unsuitable food for one week. But he was very fond of richly cooked pancakes, so the day after the practice, he passed by a pancake shop with a rich display of tasty pancakes in the window. They looked so nice covered in a thick coating of syrup. He knew it was not advisable to eat even one pancake, but he shrugged his shoulders and thought "I did the practice yesterday, today is another day; one, two or perhaps three pancakes won't do any harm." And he went ahead and ate the pancakes enjoying them very much. But for the following month his whole digestive system was completely out of balance. He found it difficult to eat any type of food, and when he did, he merely suffered from diarrhoea and nausea. It was a distressing month, caused by indulgence at the wrong time. Eventually he had to resort to fasting to bring his body back to normal. Had he waited a week before taking his pancakes, no problems would have arisen. So we emphasize that for one week you must use your discretion in the food that you eat.
There is one more factor that we would like to point out: the whole aim of doing shankha-prakshalana is to clean out the poisons and accumulated waste from the digestive system. Therefore, if you start to load the digestive system with the wrong food after doing the practice, you have defeated the whole purpose of this cleansing technique. You have wasted your time. So if you do shankhaprakshalana and you want to gain the most benefits from the practice, then take great care to follow the diet restrictions.
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