Ayurveda places a great emphasis on not only what we eat but also how we eat as being important for dynamic, vibrant health.
Creating rituals around how, when and where we eat acts as a support for maintaining health and improving our relationship with food. The better relationship we have with food ensures better digestion, healthy tissue formation, abundant energy, happiness, and prevention of disease.
Ayurveda recommends to generally follow the guidelines below for healthy mindful eating:
- Warm, well-cooked nourishing foods
- Warm drinks
- Chewing your food thoroughly, in a calm environment
- Taking 5 minutes after eating to sit and relax. This will ensure optimal digestion.
- Eating meals at regular times every day
- Maintain proper strength of digestion, by eating one-third to one half of your saturation point.
- Consume regularly Basmati rice, pulses (legumes), rock salt, whole grains, fresh vegetables, seasonal fruit, pure water, spices, ghee and raw honey.
- Eat only when hungry – after digesting the previous meal. Make sure you feel that fire in your stomach and aren’t eating for emotional reasons or out of habit or boredom.
- Eat the main meal of the day in the middle of the day, when digestive capacity is greatest. Have a light dinner, preferable 2-3 hours before bed to ensure the food is well digested.
- Eat that which is suitable to your constitution, in limited quantity.
- Use all 5 senses while eating. Focus on smell, taste, colour and texture of the food. Eat a colourful and flavourful diet.
- Ensure all 6 tastes are present within each meal – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.
- Fruit or fruit juice within a half hour of any other food
- Highly processed foods (like frozen, canned, packaged or fast food)
- Excessive Cold food
- Excessive Raw food (fruits, veggies, salads), especially in the morning and evening. They are okay to have in the middle of the day, especially in warm weather.
- Cold or carbonated drinks
- Deep fried food
- Refined sugar
- Caffeine, especially coffee
- Excessive Red meat
- Eating while anxious, angry or upset – When you are upset your digestion is not working to its full potential. Instead take a walk, meditate or get some rest. You will not be able to get the full nutritional benefits of the food you are eating while you are experiencing these emotions.
- Eating while reading, watching the TV, while on your computer or phone. Eat away from all distractions in a peaceful environment.
- Eating too quickly – Take the time to focus and appreciate the food you are eating. Savour the taste, texture and sight of your food. Place down your fork between bites and chew thoroughly. Try to avoid shovelling food into your mouth absentmindedly.
- Drinking large amounts of liquid before and during your meal. Large quantities of water will also weaken your hydrochloric acid (digestive juice). Sipping on small amounts of warm water is best.
Article Written by Tegan Wallis, Holistic Health Practitioner