Yoga of Eating - How to Eat

Eating: Not Just About The What, But HOW & Why

Six tips to promote healthy digestion and eat anything you want…

OK, let me re-phrase that line a bit. We get sooo hung up on WHAT we can or can’t eat, should or shouldn’t eat, that we forget the WHY and HOW of eating. These two play a major role in our digestion…the way we process the food into fuelAyurveda Science has some specific practices that will increase your capacity to nourish your body at any level. These are tips to incorporate as a habit into your everyday living routine.

Tip #1: Eat your biggest meal when the sun is highest.

Our digestive juices are most effective when the sun is at its highest peak during the day. Bile secretion is higher as well as agni (digestive fire). When you eat your biggest meal of the day between the hours of 10am – 2pm you give your body the gift of having the greatest chance of fully digesting that food into fuel that you will use to have a productive day.

Increase your digestion at mealtime with a slice of ginger topped with a squeeze of lime and salt. I make a plate of these mini ginger pizzas for the week and pop one in my mouth as I’m fixing my meal. 1 tsp of Turmeric following your meal will also aid in bile production for the gall bladder and rinse any residue that is stuck there. We need our gall bladder (contrary to popular modern medicine practices).

Tip #2: Drink water (room temperature) between meals NOT with your meal.

This is a fundamental flaw in American culture. Drinking ICE COLD water with your meal dilutes the firey hydrochloric Acid needed for your stomach to process the food you are taking in. It will take longer to process and be less effective.  Instead, adopt a habit of reaching for water all through the day when you are NOT eating. A large portion of society’s ailments is due to poor hydration (headaches, indigestion, fatigue, hunger pains, etc). Fill up 64oz and drink throughout the day, except at mealtime.

Tip #3: Be Sensual With Your Food

That is, to sense your food through smell, sight, touch, and taste. All of these sensations are processed upstream from your stomach…before your food even hits the esophagus. And guess what? 30% of your digestion starts in your salivary glands. This is the beginning of breaking down your food. When you take time to smell, see, touch, and taste your food you will likely digest your food into fuel more effectively and efficiently.

Tip #4: Chew Your Food

Slow down…what’s the rush? One of the most important factors in your well-being is WHAT YOU EAT. Savor the moment. Think about where the food came from. Who grew it and how. Take a bite and count 25 chews before taking another. On the go? Make at least one of your meals a sit-down, hearty party for your body.

Tip #5: Remember Dessert!

If sweets make you happy then include them on occasion at the end of your meal when your digestion is high. A well-made dessert has its place at the table. Skip the skittles, snickers, and snacks that provide nothing in the way of nutritional value and have little to do with nourishing your emotional well-being. Mostly they are a habit of culture and used as a filler for emptiness. Instead, opt for 3 well-made meals a day and pop in your favorite dessert on purpose. Your cravings and sweet tooth will then be at bay.

Tip #6: Don’t eat in a stressed state.

Sit. Relax. Give thanks. Take it all in. It may only take 5 minutes longer to eat your meal than normal, but you are giving yourself a gift. The gift of saying YOU matter. YOU are important. Your health is non-negotiable. When we are stressed (ie. eating on the go, at our work desk, in a stressed environment), our body is busy dumping cortisol into your system to cope with the stress load, triggering a slow down in your digestion. After all, if you are running from a threat (aka overwhelm, deadlines, busyness), your body shuts down digestion to conserve energy for flight or fight. The focus is to get out of danger NOW. This results in fewer enzymes being released, less hydrochloric acid for breaking down your food, and impairment of the gall bladder.

Likewise, eating a bag of chips while guilting yourself with each and every bite thwarts the very effort it took to open the bag, take out a handful of chips and scarf them down. Your body only feels the stress from the thought in your head saying, “I shouldn’t have done that, this will surely go to waste on my waist.” and, you know what? That’s exactly what happens. Instead, slow down. Enjoy each and every bite. Savor your food. Your body is your friend. Give it your full attention.

Food for thought.

If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment. Which of these tips resonates? Which one will you incorporate and make a daily routine?