Appetite for Ayurveda
Ayurveda, the ancient mother science of yoga, is a healing system that emerged from India thousands of years ago, but is still very applicable today, no matter where you live.
The word comes from the combination of the word ayur, meaning life, and veda, meaning knowledge. So ayurveda literally means the knowledge of life, and offers us simple daily habits, to live in the best possible way.
A central tenet of ayurveda is that the small choices we make every day can dramatically affect our health over time. Since eating is something we do daily, a big focus of ayurveda is increasing our digestive fire, or agni. Agni is the element that cooks what we are taking in and transforms it into nourishment.
You are not only what you eat - you are what you digest and assimilate.
Symptoms of Low Agni (Digestive Fire):
- Burping or gas
- Belly bloat
- Unexplained weight gain
- Acidity or heartburn
- Itchy rectum
- Loose stools and/or constipation
- The feeling that your BMs just aren’t “complete”
- Feeling super full after a normal-sized meal (or that you need a post-meal nap)
- Dry, cracked nails
- Dry, cracking skin
- Bad breath
- Lots of coating on the tongue
- Eczema, hives, and other rashes
- Unexplained brain fog, bad mood, lethargy
Simple Ways to Boost your Agni (Digestive Fire):
Drink a cup of warm lemon water in the morning. Cleanses the liver and clears the bowels
Avoid breads, pastries, cookies, cakes, fried foods, cheese, canned food, sugar, pasta, minimize dairy, which can be congesting to the body
Eat your main (biggest) meal at lunch, this is when your metabolic fire is strongest
Eat an earlier, lighter dinner. Steamed veggies, rice or soup. Stop eating 2-3 hours before bed
Eat until you feel about 75% full. Some say until your first small burp. Avoid the feeling of being overly full
Don’t drink ice water with meals as it dampens your digestive fire
Eat a thin slice of ginger before meals
Spices to help digest and absorb, and pull toxicity from the body: ginger, fennel, cardamom, turmeric, cumin, coriander
Soak beans, nuts and seeds
Metabolic boosting foods: garlic, soups, most spices, leafy greens, olive oil, limes, oatmeal, turmeric, fennel, beets, carrots and ginger
Eat whole foods, as close to a natural state. Avoid low fat and sugar-free foods
Think of eating as a form of celebration or meditation. How we eat may be even more important than what we eat. Make sure to connect with the sacred aspect of eating
Try beginning meals with a few deep breaths and a personal prayer of appreciation
Avoid TV, reading, the computer or other forms of toxicity building distraction. If possible, be in our near nature or a beautiful view. If you are at work, can you eat outside in a park? Perhaps with a friend?
Try to chew your food to even consistency, paying attention to the food. This will improve both its digestibility and assimilation
Take 15-20 minutes, minimum, to rest and digest
Allow your last meal to fully digest before eating again (Time varies according to your constitution)
It’s not only about how we digest the food we eat, but also how we process our life’s experiences, and transform them into insight.
Ayurveda is a philosophy and approach to wellness that holds self-awareness as the essence and foundation of good health. There is no one size fits all when it comes to creating daily habits and personal wellness, but by learning how to live in accordance the never-ending ebb and flow of mother nature, we can start to build our capacity to digest life as it comes and become lighter and brighter along the way.