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How to Stoke Your Digestive Fire

Ayurveda teaches that all imbalance in the body starts in the digestive tract. Those low-level, chronic gut issues undermine our good health and over time, send imbalance into the deep tissues (organs) creating disease.

This is the third in a series of articles on using the 5 great elements to balance digestion.

This week we're getting to the heart of the matter as we look at balancing elemental fire.


From the point of view of Ayurveda, fire and its main quality, heat, is so synonymous with digestion, that the Sanskrit word for fire, Agni, commonly refers to digestion. The primary agni, the one you feel in your belly when you're hungry, is compared to the pilot light in an oven. When this fire goes out, (works below par) the others metabolic functions in the body suffer too.


Signs that the central agni is strong:

hungry for meals

radiant skin and eyes

good immunity

balanced temperature regulation (not too hot or cold)

mental clarity

self confidence


Signs that the central agni is weak or below par:

gas, bloating, constipation

GERD, acid indigestion, loose stools

slow, sluggish digestion.

weak immunity

dull complexion and eyes

foggy thinking

fatigue after meals


If you're eating between meals, aka, snacking, you may not be experiencing strong hunger because you're never giving it a chance to build. Most people report that appetite is strongest between 10 am and 2pm, the same time the sun outside is strongest and brightest. Eating your main meal at this time, is a great way to digest like a champion!


Here are simple ways to balance elemental fire within you:


WHEN TO EAT:


  1. After your previous meal has been digested. A light breakfast may be digested in 3 hours. a larger lunch will take 5 – 6 hours. A sign the previous meal has been digested is that you're hungry. Burping up the taste of that last meal, is a sign digestion is still in process.

  2. At regular times: When we eat at regular times, our body gets into a rhythm and will be ready for food at those times (assuming we didn’t overeat at the previous meal). Eating at regular times also relaxes the nervous system and will support you in eliminating snacking.

  3. Eat your largest meal mid day: Agni follows the rhythm of the sun, which is highest and strongest 10am - 2 pm. This is also when we have the most capacity to digest food. Have brunch or lunch as your main meal. Easy shift from heavy dinner to bigger lunch: Cook extra at night and bring those leftovers for lunch the following day.

  4. Eat an earlier, lighter dinner: Digestive capacity is slowing down at night, so eat as close to sunset as possible—a smaller version of lunch. Soups are especially good. Mostly avoid meat and other heavy food at night, exceptions in soups or stews. Digestion is least strong at night, and any food you don't digest will create toxicity, AMA.

These practices will help stabilize your appetite, and balance elemental fire within you.

Try them this week, and notice what happens.


What is one shift you can begin this week?


Need help getting your digestion up to snuff? Schedule a complimentary discovery session, to explore what's going on and find a good next step for you.


Love,

Shannon


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