Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. It's based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. According to ayurveda, eating is something reverent and important for the development of consciousness as well as our physical health.
- Sit down while eating your meal. In this position, your stomach is relaxed and you are far more aware of taste, texture and smell of your food. Our bodies need a settled environment in order to absorb all the nutrient and have a good digestion process.
- Stimulate your digestive Agni before eating. This can be done very easily by eating a one-inch piece of fresh ginger with a few drops and lemon juice. The ginger-and-lemon-juice recommendation helps to increase the digestive power. This starts to activate the salivary glands, producing the necessary enzymes so that the nutrients in the food are easily absorbed by the body. Weak digestive agni may result in fatigue after eating.
- Avoid cold drinks at meals and ice-cold foods in general. This is like putting cold water on the burning logs. Iced water, normally served at restaurants, extinguishes the digestive fire. Even juice or milk right out of the refrigerator is too cold for the digestion. Juice should be taken at room temperature and water without ice. Once you get into this habit of drinking beverages at room temperature, you will notice a dramatic improvement in your digestion and the way your body feels while eating and after the meal. Cold drinks and foods mixed with warm cooked foods can cause stomach cramps, bloating and general discomfort in the stomach area.
- Lunch be the largest meal of the day. When the sun is strongest, between 12 and 2 p.m., is when the digestive fire is also strongest. Agni is associated with the sun. This is one of the ways ayurveda seeks to connect our mind and body with the environment. Since that is the time the digestive agni is working at its maximum potency. As the sun goes down, so does our agni. Dinner should be lighter than lunch, and should ideally be eaten before 8:00 p.m. Late-night meals interfere with sleep, and after 10:00 p.m. the body is working to burn off toxins and continue to digest food from the day. If you eat after 10:00 p.m., the food may cause toxins to accumulate in the system.
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