How to jumpstart your healthy New Year - 3 Ayurvedic tips for improving digestion
Updated: Nov 10
New Year. New Beginning. Best time to make new positive changes in your life. Maybe you have already signed up with a gym or fitness studio and have the exercise side of things covered as part of your New Year’s resolutions. But maybe you’re really confused about what diet is really good for you.
Have you looked into Ayurveda yet? It’s a 5000-year-old healing science of India, meaning “the knowledge of life”. It’s the health system from which many others originated including Traditional Chinese Medicine. Ayurveda is a holistic and individualised approach to health and wellbeing. It’s about finding mind-body balance based on your unique constitution.
If you are regularly practising yoga but throwing wrong foods into your body all the time, what do you think will happen? The more I learn about Ayurveda, the more I realise I was doing things to throw my body out of balance. I believe anyone can benefit from incorporating this sister science of yoga into their daily life and that’s why I’ll be sharing more of this ancient wisdom with you this year.
Many of us are probably familiar with the famous quote by Hippocrates “All disease begins in the gut” I am convinced that healthy digestion is one of the keys to optimal health. We often hear people saying “we are what we eat” but after spending more and more time studying Ayurveda, I’ve realised “we are what we digest”. If we keep throwing foods we cannot digest and break down, they turn into “ama”, known as toxins. Ama is said to be the root cause of all diseases in Ayurveda. So we all need to look after our digestive health to make sure our agni is burning at optimal strength. If you experience any digestive issues including bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, indigestion, or even just the feeling of heaviness & lethargy, these 3 little tips I’m about to share might help you.
I think we all know that we need to eat more veggies to stay healthy. We need to avoid processed foods and instead eat whole foods, real foods that are organic. So I’m skipping all the basics today (assuming you all know these things) and sharing 3 small tips based on the wisdom of Ayurveda to help you improve your digestion.
1. Avoid ice-cold foods & drinks
Hello New Year, and beautiful summer! If you are in Australia like me, yes, we are enjoying hot 30 degrees (and over) weather here but are you maybe having ice cream or ice-cold smoothie everyday…? Or ice-cold drinks straight out of the fridge? This is a big no-no in Ayurveda as this will put out our “agni”, known as a digestive fire. Avoid ice cubes in your drink and opt for something that’s room temperature or warmer. Ginger tea is my best friend these days.
2. Be mindful of the intake of raw foods you are having
Summer is the time when we are naturally attracted to more raw foods and yes, that’s Ayurveda in action, eating according to the season!
However, if your, agni (your digestive fire) is weak or slow, you just don’t have the capacity to cook raw foods, break them down and assimilate nutrients in your body so you want to be careful how much raw foods you are consuming. Remember, cooked foods are easier to digest than raw foods. If you’re predominantly Vata (wind element of 3 doshas) like me, you have enough cold in your body system so you don’t want to overdo the cold foods like salads. If you are predominantly Pitta (fire element of 3 doshas) on the other hand, you will be able to tolerate raw foods better than other 2 doshas. So getting to know your dosha (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) would be a key here.
3. Have a light early diner
This was mentioned in my last blog post, “how to stay healthy this festive season” but it’s worth repeating in case you missed it. Agni (digestive fire) rises and sets with the sun, so it’s strongest in the middle of the day. This is when you should be having the biggest meal of the day so make sure your lunch is the biggest meal of the day, not dinner. I know this is challenging for many (including myself) but I always feel great having lighter dinner, going to bed light, waking up light next day with proper appetite for breakfast. I think we all have experienced a terrible feeling of not sleeping well and waking up full and heavy after a big dinner. Make sure you are not having your dinner too late either, if you are going to bed at 10pm (which is my ideal bedtime!), you want to have dinner no later than 7pm to allow enough time for your agni to break down the food before you climb into bed.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy these posts about Ayurveda:
What's your dosha? Discovering the 3 doshas, the Ayurvedic mind-body types of Vata, Pitta & Kapha
Finding balance with Aryurveda
Chika is the founder of Wa Yoga (Wa is a Japanese word meaning harmony). She is a Yoga Australia registered teacher, student of yoga for 13 years, teaching yoga & mindfulness for the last 7 years and mum to an almost 5-year old daughter. She specialises in offering online courses and memberships for mothers of young children and young families. She has a gentle approach to teaching yoga and her classes are always infused with mindfulness, reminding people to slow down and come back to the present moment. Her mission is to inspire and motivate other mums to start incorporating yoga & mindfulness into their daily self-care ritual.
She is a creator of Mindful Mama Membership, the online membership for mothers who aspire to embrace daily practice of yoga, mindfulness & Ayurveda so they can find better balance to achieve optimal health. This is the best place to receive her guidance and the only place where she can offer you ongoing support. Inside the Mindful Mama Membership is the only place where Chika shares what she has learned from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and how to incorporate it into your busy, modern family life. The enrolment is currently CLOSED but will be opening towards the end of November 2021. You can find more details by clicking HERE