Food is an important part of the journey towards feeling more balanced and grounded. I really take time to prepare food, be present while cooking, and add love to all my dishes. The energy you put into your food is translated to your body and to those you share it with.
A simple but powerful quote from Babaji. When I first heard this I thought, 'I digest everything just fine'. I later learned that perfect digestion would lead to optimal physical and mental health. knowing this I needed to take a deeper dive into 'What was I really digesting..'
In Ayurveda we do not separate the mind from the body. Not only do we see the signs of undigested food as physical imbalances in our body, sometimes we do not digest our thoughts. How we feel and think has an effect on our ability to fully digest our food and vice versa; sometimes the food we eat that is not properly digested will cause mental ama (or toxin build up) causing stuck negative emotions. We not only need to be mindful of what our physical body can digest but also work on our mind as well.
Below are some simple messages our body will give us on the state of digestion. If our digestion is in good working order, we will
- Feel refreshed upon rising in the morning.
- Pass a stool upon rising in the morning before food or coffee/stimulants
- stool appears camel color, the consistency of a peeled banana and floats.
- tongue appears evenly pink in color with no white, yellow or brown coating
- Sides of the tongue are smooth without 'teeth marks'
- Maintain energy throughout the day (without coffee or simulatns)
- Have a general happy content mood
Some of these may seem very basic, but following these guidelines can have dramatic results.
- Be mindful of your emotions when you prepare and eat food
- Take a moment for gratitude for the food before you consume it, asking for the food to fully nourish you. This can go a long way especially those times when we can't prepare our food or have little choice in what we consume.
- Eat without distraction. Create a pleasant environment for eatging. Try not to eat on the go, in front of the TV or while driving or walking.
- Have your largest meal in the middle of the day
- have your last meal of the day at least 3 hours before bed and try to avoid eating late
- Eat when you are hungry, this is likely when your previous food has been digested (4-6 hours). Sometimes we mistake hunger for thirst so try to drink room temperature water and avoid snacking if possible
- Drink beverages at room temperate when combining with food and try to avoid cold drinks around food, directly before/after and during. Imagine you digestion like a fire and dumping a cold drink on it while it's trying to burn up your food. That said - I understand a 'cold' beer on a hot day can be a nice treat for you - these are guidelines so just try not to do that often :)
- Eat the proper amount and try to avoid eating too much
- Eat fresh food when possible and try to avoid tamasic food (left overs over two days, processed or canned food, fast food, etc.
- Try to eat in season
- Eat local when possible
- Eat according to your constitution and current dosha imbalance