How Digestion is not just about Digestion

I’ve been talking about digestion these past couple of weeks–we’ve been looking at what to eat, and how to eat, at agni–digestive fire–and ama–undigested food that is toxic to the body. Still, it’s important to understand that digestion is not just about digestion.

How is digestion not just about digestion? Well, In Ayurveda we recognize 6 stages to the disease process, and the first 2 happen in the digestive tract. These patterns of indigestion (below) are our first sign that things are out of whack. Catch and treat it here and you have stopped the disease process in it’s tracks. If we ignore it or simply cover over the symptoms, we drive the imbalance deeper into our system creating the seeds for a more serious health issue down the road. Seriously, taking care of the belching and farting is soooo much easier than dealing with colitis or IBS or a cancer.

So, you see, digestion is not just about digestion—it’s also about the roots of our good or poor health going forward. Untreated digestive issues lead to deeper issues within the gut (ulcers, colitis, IBS, cancers) but also to deeper systemic issues due to the AMA (undigested food that is toxic to the system) that lodges in the soft tissues and joints (arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle aches) and in our individual “weak links” (genetic predispositions for illness and the imprint of past illness/accident/surgery).

Here again, are the three digestive types (and YES, you might be a combination of these or shift symptoms at different times of year). These are three patterns of indigestion and simple things you can do at home to balance them. This week I am including recipes for dosha balancing churnas (see below).

  1. Irregular, associated with VATA: sometimes hungry, sometimes not. Sometimes digests food well, other times forms gas, bloating and constipation —associated with elimination that is hard, dry, effortful or like rabbit pellets. To balance: try eating a few pieces of fresh sliced ginger root with a little salt and lime juice 15 – 30 minutes before a meal. Eat food that is warm and a little oily like soups and stews, and skip dry, raw, rough foods like crackers, rice cakes and raw vegetables. Use vata churna (recipe below)

  2. Sharp: too hot, associated with PITTA. This type of digestive pattern shows up as a raging appetite: folks with this imbalance can’t miss a meal without becoming angry and upset.  Acidity, slight nausea, irritable bowel and acid reflux may occur—elimination may be loose, burning or even diarrhea. To balance, try cutting back or eliminating hot, spicy, fatty, fried foods, alcohol and caffeine.Include more bitter greens and apples. Enjoy pomegranate juice spritzers between meals. Use Pitta churna (recipe below).

  3. Slow: too heavy and damp,associated with KAPHA: Even a little food or water feels like it just sits in the belly. May burp or belch the after taste of the last meal or feel tired after eating. Slow, sluggish, mucous-y elimination is common. To balance, try adding more dry, light, spicy food and eat fewer carbohydrates(less rice and bread). Add pungent spices like garlic and black pepper. Limit or avoid dairy. Use Kapha churna (recipe below).

Here are the churna recipes. To use, simply determine which of the three digestive types describe you now, (VATA, PITTA or KAPHA) then sprinkle the churna onto your food before eating. Easy-Peasy. Too much to imagine buying and grinding up the spices yourself? No problem, you can order them here from a local Seattle business, the kitchen imp. 

Are you confused? Do you have questions about your type? I can help. Schedule a FREE 15 minute chat by emailing me, I’ll help steer you in the right direction.

Here’s to taking care of the little stuff so it doesn’t become big stuff.

With love, Shannon

#Ayurveda #healthydigestion #Healthyeatingpractices

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