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What Should I Eat?

A few years back, I had the honor of presenting Ayurveda to a group of yoga teacher trainees on Vashon Island. We spent 6 1/2 hours together learning about the origin and underlying philosophies that support Ayurveda and about our unique constitution and how to care for it. Right away folks wanted to know what to eat for their type.

Diet is one of the three pillars of health in Ayurveda, and like everything Ayurvedic, refining one's diet is based on an individual's constitution, present state of digestion, life stage, and the presence/absence of toxicity in the system. So the answer to a simple question like "what should I eat?" is, “It depends….

However a more important question to ask when you're wanting to improve your health is when and how should I eat?  These factors take precedence because they impact how our digestive organs function. Get this part wrong, and even good food will not be processed well and can even be toxic to your system.

This is the second part of a series on balancing digestion using the 5 great elements: Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Last week I wrote about space element, which fits nicely into the topic of how and when to eat. To recap:

  • Balance space element by eating until satisfied not full. Your digestive organs need space to function well. That bad feeling you get when you overeat, when it feels hard to even move, is an example of insufficient space for your digestive organs to do their pumping and squeezing. It often feels like food just sits there for hours, before things start moving, and that's accurate.

  • Eat after the previous meal has been digested. Eating between meals when not hungry creates indigestion and interferes with proper digestion. That means, the end product. the nourishment and creation of healthy bodily tissue, will be compromised. I'm guessing you don't want that.

Looking at air element, we focus on rhythm and when to eat. Here are some guidelines:

  • Eat your meals at regular times, with your largest meal mid day.

  • Stop eating after supper, and fast until the first meal the next day. The length of the fast is determined by when hunger arises the following day. Most people can comfortably go 10 - 12 hours. Many can go 14. And Some can go 16. You should not try to extend the fast. It's better to listen to your hunger, and adapt the fasting length to that, thereby respecting your body's needs. Everyone is different.

Eating at regular times, and stopping eating after supper both bring stability to digestive function and calm to the mind. Hunger shows up at regular times. Elimination does too. The regularity of nourishment allows your body and mind to relax. All meatabolic function will be supported and stabilized as well.

Ask yourself:

  • Which of these guidelines are you missing?

  • How could you begin?

  • Who could support you in that?

Need some help? Schedule a complimentary discovery session with me and together we'll figure out how to get your digestion back on track.

In service and love, Shannon


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