Now comes the controversial part where I attempt to explain how many of our habits (that we confuse with Kcon) or activities may be harming us or at least not contributing to our health. Lets take eating for example. Most of us were brought up in Kcon eating tons of Halvah, Sweet Rice, fried foods, etc. We thought: Its prasadam, so how can it be bad for our bodies?"
Well I got news for you. A saturated fat or sugar even if it offered to Krishna has the same affect on our arteries, kidneys, liver, etc. that a saturated fat has when it is not offered to Krishna. That may be a radical statement but it is true. Ask any devotee who is suffering from high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, etc. whether it is true or not. Ask an ayurvedic physician about the saturated fat, high sugar diet and see what he says about it. He will advise you to avoid this type of diet. Even in the face of all this evidence we may deny reality.
Another example is most of the kirtans that we have in our ISKCON temples and programs. We think that because we are chanting the holy name no ear damage will occur even the sound level is high enough to freak out a regular disco club customer. Now we have many devotees with tinnitus (constant ringing of the ears) or partial deafness. As we know, the ears are the most important sense in Krishna consciousness, so we need to keep them functioning properly.
I now carry a decibel (sound level) meter with me and have seen that it a rare kirtan in ISKCON that falls within the safe level (below 90 dB) or is softer than the sound of a jet taking off from 50 ft away. Another example is that we ignore the fact that the byproducts of combustion (ie: incense, etc.) may cause cancer or lung disease even if it is spiritual combustion or even if the ingredients are completely natural and organic. Interestingly enough, we oftentimes ignore even Ayurvedic injunctions in the name of religion. But, the Ayurveda has been given to us by Krishna.
For example one Ayurvedic injunction is that one should wait at least 6 hours between heavy meals. Nowadays in ISKCON (it wasn’t like that in the early days) devotees will load up on a super heavy meal for breakfast (that is usually eaten too late due to a much too long morning program), then eat lunch 4 hours later (10 AM to 2 is 4 hours for you non- mathematicians). There are many other examples of devotees ignoring reality (such as sleeping habits, safety habits etc), but my intention is not to attack those things that are near and dear to you (habits that you may have confused with Krishna consciousness), but to help you understand how to live longer in the present body so that you can serve Krishna and Prabhupada with more energy for a longer period of time.
I state these things simply out of a desire to serve the Vaisnavas. It pains me to see devotees unnecessarily suffering or leaving their bodies. I have seen too many of my fellow devotees succumb to illnesses that could have been prevented, by lifestyle adjustments. So, please do not be in denial of reality in the name of religion. I am not going to prescribe a diet for you or lifestyle for you, but I am going to advise you to do some research into Ayurveda and common sense nutrition. Don’t do things because: "that’s the way we always did things.", or "that’s the way I was taught to do things." number of years ago my health was declining because of improper lifestyle habits. My diet was full of saturated fats (I loved cheese on everything and also fried foods in ghee), tons of salt, etc. I got a wake up call when I collapsed one day with heart pain (it wasn’t an attack but some indication). I had high blood pressure (180/108 an auspicious number!).