How to jumpstart your healthy New Year - 3 Ayurvedic tips for improving digestion
Updated: Jan 16, 2020
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're ready to prioritise you and create healthy habits for you, I invite you to join my online mini yoga & mindfulness course. You will have unlimited access to short & simple video contents so you can stretch out and relax from the comfort of your own home whenever you like. The door will be closing at 5pm on Tuesday 21st January 2020. (Sydney time) Visit the link below to find out more.
The self-care Toolbox for Mindful Mums
(Online mini yoga & mindfulness course)
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