Some of the biggest challenges my clients and students have is figuring out their food.
I know that a lot of you get confused. "Should I be eating this? What's good for me?" We go looking for online articles for answers. We go looking for online videos. We try and make all the cool recipes that people are making and sometimes our digestion ends up funky. Sometimes our minds end up feeling funky about that too because we're like, "What the heck? I don't even really know what I should be eating for me."
I'm going to give you three ways to not overthink your food so that you can feel a little bit more empowered in this area.
The first thing is so simple. You're going to be like, "Duh," but it really is.
Write down, grab a piece of paper and a pen if you have it handy or just think in your mind. What...
Alright, you guys. I'm going to tell you something, but only because I think you can handle it. And I would rather you hear it from me, than hear it from one of your friends who doesn't have the correct information.
I will tell you on one condition and that is, you have to promise not to abuse it. If I give you an inch, don't take a mile. Don't get all willy nilly excited and tell thousands of your friends, "MonicaB said *hiccup* I could!"
Do you promise? Pinkie swear? Ok then, here we go. In today's Ayurvedic lesson, we need to talk about, alcohol.
In Ayurveda, there is something called draksha. Draksha is medicated wine used for a variety of remedies including blood, liver, skin, and digestion problems to name a few. As we know, alcohol is absorbed very quickly into the blood stream. So, Ayurveda puts the herbs into the wine, which are then carried directly to the blood and dispersed where the herbs are most needed.
Hey Monica B, I'm trying to breakfast easy, so I'm trying not to eat yogurt. Is non-dairy yogurt okay to eat?
In answering her question, I'd like to address two things. One, why Ayurveda does not recommend yogurt. Two, why "substitutey" foods are not a good idea.
Yogurt is really not the best thing for our digestion and can cause problems. Why?
Because yogurt digests too sour and heating for pitta. It is too sour, goopy , heavy and cold for kapha. And it is too cold for vata, it's like putting their digestive fire under a snow pack. It's just too darn cold.
You might be thinking, "Sour? No, it's sweet." No, it's sour. It only tastes sweet because they have to add a ton of sugar to it because it's naturally really dang sour :) That amount of sour taste along with the cold and goopy qualities imbalances all 3 doshas. It completely dampens/extinguishes digestive fire and clogs channels.
You might look at the photo above and think "Mm! Yummy and healthy!" I look at that photo and think "Ugk. Digestion nightmare."
Food provides the basic building blocks for our entire physical and mental bodies. We feel better or worse depending on the quality of foods we've been eating. And because we are no dummies, we know that foods like fresh veggies and fruits are better nourishment for us than a pan of brownies. (I'm not here to take away your fun. In moderation, sweeties are to be enjoyed and savored. But if you eat the whole pan...yeah, that's not good.)
So! Whatever we put in our mouths is either proper nourishment or not. And we usually know the difference between the two.
In Ayurveda, there are certain food combinations that should be avoided. While an occasional brownie won't hurt you, the consistent practice of incompatible foods probably will imbalance your digestion (gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea,...
Let's say we skip breakfast but then at 9:30 a.m. we're starving, so then we bring on the pancakes, and the bacon, and the sausages, and the oatmeal, and the coffee, and the orange juice. You get my drift! You have a big breakfast.
What happens when noon comes around? Are you hungry? No. But then at 2:30 p.m. agni's like, "Hey, I'm hungry!" So you have a late lunch at 2:30 because your breakfast was late.
Then, are you hungry at 6 o'clock at night? No, because you had a really late lunch. Maybe you're not hungry until 8 or 8:30 p.m. and you have dinner then.
That's too late.
Those times are all wrong, but agni's calling for food because we didn't eat at the right times according to the clock. Making sense?
We want to eat at the right time. Otherwise we are not in harmony with...
For us Americans, it's Thanksgiving this week!
*parade* *family & friends* *good food*
For the non-Americans, these digestion tips will apply to any celebration that includes a big family/friends gathering and a feast.
In Ayurveda, what we eat is not nearly as important as how we digest we eat.
Meaning, we can pop anything into our mouth but our body might not digest the food that well. For example, we eat a salad and instantly feel bloated, or the jam-packed burrito sits in our gut like a rock, or the spicy chicken wings leave a burning discomfort in our chest.
If our body does not digest the food properly, it doesn't nourish our body properly, which is the whole point of eating. The goal of a celebration is to be with friends and family while sharing a meal, good laughs and creating good memories together — It's not to spend a day slipping into a food coma and taxing our digestion.
The tips below...
Toxins are created by old food but not solely food. As with all things in Ayurveda, emotions, stressors, lifestyle and environment (all connected) also play a huge role in how we digest. Digestion is food, yes. But digestion also includes all information we absorb with the five senses, taste being only one of them. When doshas are imbalanced due to lifestyle, diet, negative emotions, etc., agni’s function becomes weakened or disturbed and it leaves undigested food behind.
This undigested food turns into ama (AH-muh), which is a toxic, sticky, cloudy and smelly substance that can spread from the gastrointestinal tract to other parts of the body. From there it can lodge itself into crevices causing clogs in channels, blood vessels and cell membranes. Yum!
It sounds complicated and difficult to get ama, but it’s kind of easy if we’re not paying attention. How many times have we eaten on the go, while working, during an intense conversation, or while nervous? How...
There's really no topic that's off limits in Ayurveda and poop is an important one. Our poop tells us so many things! I'm usually pretty candid so why not continue and dive into some poop talk today? Alrighty here we go.
My dear friend had a question for me this week about her poo. She emailed and said she was only pooping sad little balls.
That made me sad, so I put together some ideas to get her poo back on track.
Please see below and excuse (or enjoy?) the candor of the emails below. Here's the full scoop on the sad little poop!
QUESTION FROM YOU
Hey Mon, I'm not sure you want to hear about this, but my poop has been coming out in little balls lately. From what I research, it's a lack of hydration in the colon, but I drink freakin water all day long!! It could also be sugar, processed food and alcohol (just wine in my case). I love my wine, but I've cut back a lot. I've never been a big processed food eater, but it could be the sugar. The halloween...
The body's internal digestive fire is called our agni. When agni funtions properly, whatever we have eaten gets digested and absorbed by the body's tissues. Then the body eliminates waste. Pretty simple.
However, when doshas or tissues are imbalanced due to lifestyle, diet, negative emotions, etc., agni becomes weakened or disturbed and therefore cannot digest food properly.
In Ayurveda, "You are what you digest." If you can't digest it, you'll get imbalanced!
This undigested food (and emotions) turns into ama, which is a toxic, sticky, cloudy, smelly substance that can spread from the digestive tract to other parts of the body. From there it can lodge itself into crevices (sometimes large crevices) causing clogs in channels, blood vessels and cell membranes. Yeah, eu. It's gross.
How many times have you eaten on the go, while working, during an intense conversation or while...
Learn more on optimizing your digestive fire, what food is best for your dosha and so much more in my book In Your Elements on Amazon.
Agni, our digestive fire, is responsible for processing and absorbing the foods we eat. The function of agni is the main contributor to our physical and mental health and when agni functions properly, we thrive. But when agni malfunctions, we get sick and we can accumulate ama (toxins).
Visualize agni as a little fire burning behind our belly button, responsible for digesting and assimilating our foods. But, agni needs to function properly or there will be problems. Let's think about real fire for a sec: Fire functions properly by burning and transforming substances. Or, fire can go wild and crazy if there's too much wind (think, heartburn). Or, fire can get snuffed out by too much wetness or heaviness (think, weight gain). Or, fire can have a slow low...
Hooray! Almost there, just need your info, then go check your email to confirm you are a human. Ayurveda doesn't work that well on robots anyway.