Improving Digestion with Ayurvedic Nutrition
Ayurveda (Sanskrit meaning the science of life) is one of the world’s oldest healing traditions dating back more than 5,000 years from India. With all of the fad diets we are surrounded with today, there is comfort in adapting ancient techniques that have been perfected over thousands of years. Ayurveda treats each person as a unique individual and gives guidance on handling all aspects of life: physical mental and spiritual. It views health not as the absence of symptoms of disease but as a way to become heathy, happy, harmonious and peaceful in order to live a long life. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
A fundamental view in Ayurveda is the importance of proper digestion as an element of good health. Could it really be that simple? Absolutely. Ayurveda practices are simple yet not always easy. There is a slogan in Ayurveda that says, “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
How do you know if you have good digestion?
What can you do to improve it? Let’s start with symptoms of less-than-optimal digestion:
- Your tongue: a thick white coating on your tongue is a sign of excess ama (toxins)
- Your intestines: bloating, gas or constipation
- Your stomach: heartburn, nausea or vomiting
- Your energy levels: fatigue, low energy
- Your mental clarity: brain fog or an inability to focus
These symptoms may sound somewhat harmless, yet Ayurveda tells us that this is the beginning of disease.
Let me repeat that: THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF DIS-EASE. If we do not have strong enough agni (stomach fire) then we will not be able to assimilate our nutrients properly. If we are not able to transform the nutrients from our food (medicine) we are consuming, then it literally builds up in the form of ama (toxins) in our tissues. When the toxins build up in our tissues, the disease process begins. Some of these symptoms may appear benign and this is exactly how we want them to remain: benign; then resolved at the core level. There are many simple rituals we can adopt in our daily lives to eliminate these symptoms. Ayurveda connects us back to our own natural rhythms and allows space for self-healing, something our body is designed to do. So, let’s get to the good stuff. Here are some ways to kick-start and maintain a healthy digestion to support a healthy you!
- Eat local, organic, seasonal and dosha-specific foods. By eating fresh, organic foods we avoid introducing toxins into our systems such as pesticides. Dosha is a fundamental part of Ayurveda and refers to the energetic forces of nature that make up our constitution. It is important to figure out which doshas are creating imbalance in your body.
- Eat your largest meal of the day from noon to 2pm. Your agni (stomach fire) is at its peak during this time which promotes optimal digestion. Avoid excessive snacking which can kill your agni, build up toxins and promote weight gain.
- Eat your last meal three hours prior to bedtime. This allows your food to digest and promotes healing sleep.
- No iced drinks. Icey drinks kill the agni (stomach fire) which leads to a build up of ama (toxins).
- Practice mindful eating. Sit quietly, enjoy a nice view and try chewing 25 times with each bite. This allows for proper digestion and prevents over-eating.
- Chew a small piece of fresh ginger with a few drops of lime juice and a pinch of seal salt before each meal. Peeled ginger, lime and salt together aid in digestion.
- Take Triphala, one of Ayurveda’s super herbs one hour before bedtime at night. This promotes complete elimination and removes toxins from the tissues.
Making changes to our routine or getting rid of old habits can feel overwhelming at first. Remember to love yourself with patience and always use kind words in your thoughts. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend; with love and compassion. Take one or two of these suggestions and try them on for a week and see how they feel.
Need a little extra help?
Ayurvedic wellness consultations are available by emailing Melissa@ayurvedahealer.com. Melissa will be leading an “Art Of Ayurveda” workshop during the “Integrating Rituals Into Your Week“ Valley Wellness Collective retreat on April 27th, 2019. Want more information about this retreat? Visit https://valleywellnesscollective.com/event/integrating-rituals-into-your-week/