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8 Ayurvedic Tips for Healthy Digestion

Aug 14, 2013 | Tags : digestion, simple strategies, | 2 Comments

A teacher once described Ayurveda as “the poetry of nutrition.” Next to ancient Chinese medicine, Ayurveda honors Nature’s naturally occurring energies and elements like space, air, water, fire, and earth. Nowhere in these wise and ancient texts will you find discussion of calories in a bowl of lentil soup or how many points are in your chai tea. Food was used for it’s medicinal and energetic qualities as a way to bring balance and harmony to the body. These ancient systems honor earth’s natural cycles and seasons. The more we align, the better our bodies and minds respond.

So today, I thought I’d share specific ayurvedic recommendations for the ever-elusive digestive concerns so many of us have. You’ll notice these guidelines honor both what we eat AND how we are eating.

These principles can easily be part of a personal “slow living movement” as so many are yearning for a deeper and more harmonious connection with the earth.

Take a look at these 8 suggestions…

 

1.) Eat in a settled and quiet environment
Much of the time we forget that it is truly a gift to eat when we are hungry. We distract ourselves with technology or whatever happens to be available to read.  A settled environment can support relaxation response in the body, the optimal state for optimal digestion.

2.) Always sit to eat
Sitting to eat is agreeing to be here with yourself and with your food. Can you bring your snack to the table with a plate and sit down instead of standing in the kitchen?

3.) Eat at roughly the same times each day
The body thrives off of rhythm. Ever notice how you feel better when you are on a consistent sleep schedule. The same goes for eating. The bodies natural processes of digestion, assimilation, and detoxification sync up with regular eating times.

4.) Slow your eating speed, especially if you are a fast eater
This can be one of the hardest nutritional strategies on the planet. Why? The speed we eat reflects the speed in which we live. Attending to slower eating brings our collective belief, “not enough time” to the forefront. We can challenge this each time we eat.

5.) Eat to the point of energy. Do not leave the table hungry or too full.
Without proper attention, we can falter here. Take it easy on yourself as you practice. One of my teachers encouraged the action of “leaving the table with just enough hunger for the next thing.”  This is a subtle practice. (Hint: plan something you are looking forward to after your meal)

6.) Avoid eating until the previous meal has been fully digested.
Depending on your body type and digestive fire, this can range anywhere from 3-6 hours.

7.) Avoid ice-cold beverages with food
They interfere with digestion. We don’t want to dampen our digestive fire during the most important time (meal time). Instead drink a glass of room temperature 30 minutes prior to eating or sip small amounts of water during a meal.

8.) Take a few moments to sit in peace after eating.
My ayurvedic teacher recommends laying on your left side (the side the stomach naturally folds) to support digestion. Can you give yourself at least 5 minutes to appreciate your meal?  (Mantra: Rest and Digest).

Notice there is a naturalness and theme to these recommendations: slow, aware, intentional, rhythmic, presence, etc…

 

I want to know: What areas do you already feel connected to?  Which areas would you like to focus your intention for better digestion?  Please share below.

With love and respect,

Laura
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Comments (2)
Christina Aug 15, 2013

Living a "True Self" life is not as easy as it seems...At least not for moms.. in my opinion. They way we are brought up and how we live for others can have an adverse affect on how we care for OURSELVES.........I eat most times at the counter as I get ready for whatever is on the schedule........working on that and other areas of caring for me........down time to de-tress...moving more.....incorporating my needs with the kids as not to forget ME!!! all a work in progress.......Thanks for this blog..as it is a daily reminder to care for ME!!! Blessings, Tina
Laura Burkett Aug 15, 2013

Hi Tina, I am not a mother but I work with many moms, and yes, you are absolutely right - as a caretaker and matriarch in the family it's easy to fall into a pattern of putting others before self and personal self-care. You have such a powerful influence on your children. Your modeling of self-care can make a deep impression basically saying, "yes, we all need self-care, even mom" - modeling loving kindness toward self is powerful stuff and impacts everyone around you. Thank you for your comment, Tina! I am glad it this post resonated with you. Warmly, Laura
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