2 AYURVEDIC MEAL TIPS TO START THE YEAR WITH
It’s the start of a new year, and while 2020 may have seemed like a long one, 2021 comes with fresh promise and renewed hope. In this new year, incorporate some Ayurveda in to your eating habits to experience better digestion, faster metabolism and overall well-being. The digestive fire or “agni” is a huge factor in Ayurveda and is crucial to maintain fitness and boost immunity. Below are 2 important meal time rules, which will change your “agni” for the better.
ALWAYS START YOUR MEAL WITH SWEET
This might seem like a huge no-no to our western influenced meal plans. However, according to Ayurveda, this is a big factor which affects the digestion of each meal. There are 6 tastes or rasas, which are essential for the human body. Every meal must contain all 6 of these for smooth digestive function. This also affects the other organs as well. The 6 tastes are: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. This is also the order in which Ayurveda prescribes eating. The reason for this is the rate of digestion of food with these rasas. In this order, foods with sweet rasa take the longest to get digested, while astringent food takes the shortest period of time.
When starting a meal, take a small bite of something sweet. This does not necessarily mean a slice of cake or chocolate, but can even be some boiled sweet potatoes or even a piece of fruit. This allows the taste buds to awaken and start enjoying the meal. Follow this with sour tasting foods. The meal should always end with something astringent. This is why Ayurveda recommends drinking buttermilk after eating. In this order, the foods which take the longest to digest are slowly broken down in the stomach and do not accumulate. This results in lesser probability of indigestion, gas formation, and also boosts metabolism.
LISTEN TO YOUR STOMACH
Ayurveda classifies food as light or heavy based on how long it takes for the body to digest. Light foods can be eaten in excess without too many harmful side effects, but heavy foods can cause sluggishness, fatigue, depression and unhealthy weight gain. In order to keep agni kindled at all times, it is crucial to pay attention to your body.
When you are eating a meal, stop just before you feel full. Do not force yourself to eat until you feel “to the brim”. This can douse the agni fire and slow down body metabolism. Always ensure your stomach feels light after a meal and not heavy. Any tightness or pains in the chest or abdomen is an indication that you’ve eaten too much. The food will pass extremely slowly through your body, which will make it putrefy and cause flatulence and heartburn. Allow time without snacking in between meals. This results in better digestion overall.