Hey just before you pick up that fork…
Did you know that according to Ayurveda your digestion is the key to your health?
I won’t go into too much detail here (dinner IS waiting), but I will tell you this…
Every moment that you’re alive your mind/body is working to digest all the sites, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures that you come into contact with. The goal is to process everything, extract the nutrients, get them to where they need to be, and get rid of the waste products. Now that… is a full time job! And let me assure you that your body does it’s best to keep up… but sometimes that can be a gargantuan task.
And if your digestion is out of whack, guess what… so are you!
So… how IS your digestion?
To help you out with answering that question, here are a few signals of poor and good digestion:
Good digestion looks like:
- Good elimination – at least one complete bowel movement a day
- Clean tongue
- Clear, alert and attentive mind (before and after eating)
- Fresh tasting mouth
- Real hunger (stomach growls a little and feels light)
- Feeling light and energetic after eating
- No desire to overeat
- Burps with no taste
- Last meal as been digested fully (you can usually tell this if the body feels light and the burps are clear)
Poor digestion looks like:
- Bad breath
- Bad or unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Constipation or loose stools
- Heaviness or sluggishness in the body or mind (especially after eating)
- Burping with taste of previous meal
- General aches and pains in the body
- Heavy coating on the tongue
- Dullness in the mind
- Scalloped indentations along the sides of the tongue
Anything look familiar? Well no matter what state your digestion is in, you want to do everything you can to keep it humming along like a well-oiled machine. So here are a few tips to help you (and your digestion) better enjoy your holiday feast:
- Chew don’t inhale – Chewing your food properly, and all the way, helps with the process of digestion. It’s also a great way to fully enjoy the taste of the food and the experience of the meal.
- Eat Mindfully – When you sit down to a meal bring your whole self to the table. Pay attention to what your eating. Take in the sights, smells, textures and tastes of the food. Make it an experience for your whole body and mind.
- Small sips of room temp or warm water – Cold or iced water can shock the system and dampen the digestive fire. Gulping too much water with the meal can do the same. Small sips along with your food will help the processes of digestion and absorption.
- Don’t over do it – Ideally you should shoot for filling the stomach one-third with food, one-third with water and one-third empty so that there is space for proper process of digestion.
- Mix in a little bitter – Bitter tastes aid in the process of digestion. Herbs and spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, dill, garlic, oregano, sage, rosemary and vegetables such as arugula, broccoli, collards, brussel sprouts, cucumber, kale, zucchini, all have bitter qualities.
- Power up pre-meal – Before your meal try eating a little bit of fresh grated ginger mixed with a pinch of salt (Himalayan pink salt is best for this) and a squeeze of lime juice. This stimulates the digestive action preparing it for what’s coming.
- Chew on some seeds – Chew about a teaspoon of fennel seeds. They actually taste a bit like licorice and will freshen your breath too!
- Stretch out – Try lying on your left side for 5-10 minutes after you’ve eaten a meal.
So there you have it. I think you’re ready.
The only other thing I’d throw in is a little reminder that our bodies are glorious, sensitive and subtle machines. Consider all the things we put them through every day. The overload of food and information alone is enough to make your body want to break up with you!
So this Christmas give your body the gift that keeps on giving … How bout a little gratitude and a well deserved break!
Oh and before you go… Got any questions about digestion? Feel free to ask in the comments below OR send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!