Digestion is critical for optimal health and according to Ayurveda, it is the primary key to longevity and radiance. Ayurveda (translates as the Science of Life) is the oldest holistic science, and the concept of Agni is documented in the oldest Indo-European text in existence, which dates to around 1700BCE. Managing Agni through the science of Ayurveda results in better weight management, more radiant skin and eyes, improved mood and clarity of mind.
The fire of digestion and transformation is not equipped to digest food in our bellies, but also provide transformation at the cellular level, in every tissue, every organ and every system of our bodies. Agni is the intelligence that metabolizes, regenerates, and removes waste in our body and mind.
Digestion (Agni) that is too sharp, too slow, or irregular causes health imbalance, which leads to disease. In the Science of Life 101 - there are a few simple tools to ensure your Agni is performing at its best!
Take your time.
–Take the time to appreciate the food you are eating. Consider putting your utensil down after eat bite and savoring the taste, chewing well to aid digestion. After you eat, wait for the last bite to enter your stomach – no more eat and run – spend 3-5 minutes just relaxing, then 10 minutes after your meal take a short walk to aid the churning of digestion.
Avoid eating while upset, or with people to tend to upset you.
-Emotional upset reduces the capacity of your digestion, the juices cannot flow and you cannot fully relax your digestive organs. Take a moment to process your emotions and approach mealtime with a more loving demeanor.
Remember your drink can douse your digestive fire.
-Ice drinks put out your digestive fire and weaken your digestive enzymes. Large quantities of water will also weaken your natural hydrochloric acid. Sipping water throughout the day helps you stay consistently hydrated, and allows you to reduce fluid intake during meals. Avoid ice water or cold drinks.
Eat your main meal for lunch, avoid eating after 7pm
Eat when the sun is the strongest, (mid-day) when your digestive fire is at its peak! Take breakfast as small, warm moist meals. Add digestive spices: cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg kick start your sleepy digestion. Dinner should be a meal easy to digest, preferably before the sun goes down. Check out www.SimpleVeda.com for recipes!
Satisfy your senses!!
Breathe deep and appreciate the smell. Enjoy the taste. Notice the color, texture and vibrancy of the dish. Can you detect the different spices and flavors? Having satisfaction on the tip of your tongue reduces cravings at the table and in life.
Don’t overindulge - this is really difficult in our modern society!
Your stomach capacity is as large as the 2 palms, cupped together. Eat to 2/3rd that capacity to allow sufficient room for food to churn, aiding the digestion process.
Reduce sensory input while eating so you can focus on your food.
Avoid distractions such as your phone, laptop, TV. Your digestion cannot function properly while your senses are busy watching screens, having meetings, driving the car (please don’t) or otherwise too distracted to be aware of the taste of your food. When your digestion is watching TV, it can't focus on its job!
Before you indulge, ask yourself: are you hungry, or does it just seem like a good time to eat?
Close your eyes, slow your breath and tune into your body. Bring your attention to the part of the body where you feel the hunger. If you’re truly unsure, drink a cup of warm water – if the hunger does't go away, it’s time for a meal!
Agni regulates temperature, performs digestion, absorption, and assimilation of ingested food, and transforms food into energy. It's vital to our health that we support our body's brilliant skills!
To boost your digestion, try this recipe from the Ayurvedic Institute:
Agni Tea Ingredients:
- · 1 quart water
- · 1 pinch cayenne
- · 2 handfuls minced ginger root
- · 2 Tbs. Sucanat or other sweetener
- · 1 to 2 tsp. rock salt
~Bring all of the above ingredients to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes.
Take the pot off the burner and cool for a few minutes.
Add the juice of 1/2 lime. Do not boil the lime juice.
Pour into a thermos and enjoy throughout the day.
Ask your Ayurvedic Counselor how your digestion rates, and what simple lifestyle changes might help you thrive!