According to Ayurveda, one of the greatest ways to become healthier and successful using the Ayurvedic Diet is to become aware of how you eat your meals.
Eating shouldn’t just be regarded as a meaningless act, but rather as a sacred way in which you enrich your mind, body and spirit.
Think about it for a moment; what is the greatest source of nutrition and energy and life you give to yourself besides breathing. Yes, eating.
How and what you eat plays a vital role in the development of your body and mind on an ongoing basis.
Here are some of the most important tips on how to eat your meals. Remember as you perform these acts bring to them a deep sense of awareness and presence.
1. Drink only a little bit of warm water before or during meals to aid with digestion. Avoid icy or cold drinks before or with meals because it will cool the digestive fire (agni) and inhabit proper digestion of food.
If you are drinking a full glass of water give yourself ½ hour before and after meals. Too much water during your meals dilutes your digestive enzymes.
2. Cook your meals and eat them warm of hot. Although some raw foods can be taken such as fruit for breakfast and some raw vegetables such as cucumber or avocado with lunch & dinner, the Ayurvedic diet promotes mostly cooked foods for better digestion & absorption.
3. Eat the right amount of food portions. Most people have the habit of eating much more food than they really need. Try eating a serving of food in a bowl the size of your hands put together.
The important thing is to eat only until you are two thirds full. Keep your stomach one third empty to allow energy and space for proper digestion. Note: If you are not feeling full after this strategy wait 5 to 15 minutes to allow your brain to process the food you ate.
4. Eat your main and heaviest meal at lunch time. This is when your digestive fire is the greatest. Eat a light breakfast and even a lighter dinner for optimal digestion and health.
5. Chew your food well. It seems easy and simple but this can be challenging for a lot of people. Eat consciously with full awareness. Pay attention to every bite and mouthful.
Don’t try to stuff too much food in your mouth and chew your food 15-20 times for pre-digestion before it enters the stomach. Both the large and small intestines have difficulty digesting large chunks of food.
6. Eat slowly. Start by taking a minute or so to observe and smell your food. Then say a short prayer or give thanks to those who produced, prepared and served your food.
This not only allows you to connect with your food but it also allows time for the enzymes in your saliva to become activated which is the first process of digestion.
7. Eat without distractions. Refrain from eating while on the computer, watching TV or reading. Don’t eat while you are standing, driving or having an excited conversation.
Distractions prevents you from doing many of the above steps such as eating less slowly, chewing your food well and eating less. Focusing on your food while you are eating, without distractions also helps your mind & body assimilate the nutrients.
8. Eat your meals at about the same time every day. In Ayurveda regularity is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is extremely important to eat on an empty stomach, so give yourself a few hours between meals and wait until your last meal has been digested regardless of your next scheduled meal.
9. Prepare, cook and eat your food with the right Ayurveda herbs & spices. There are a wide variety of herbs and spices which you can incorporate to make your food not only tasty but healthier.
Experiment with different herbs and spices and make sure to use the right ones for your dosha type – the detailed list can be found in my Ayurvedic Diet Secrets book.
If you think these tips may be difficult for you to achieve, consider practicing them one at a time. Perhaps you could pick one and do it for a week and then move onto another one.
Try some of these as an experiment to see what kind of results you are getting and how you feel before, during and after your meals.
image courtesy of loving earth