By Briya freeman
Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. To promote better digestion and a more enjoyable relationship with your next meal, try incorporating the following lifestyle habits into your routine:
- Tune Into Your Body
Start by recognizing that you have a digestive fire, which can vary from day-to-day. Before meals, take a moment to tune in with your body. You may notice that your appetite and metabolism can vary different depending on the day, the season, your activity levels, or other factors.
In general, there are 3 digestive types:
- Vata-type digestion is light, sensitive and variable. They tend to benefit from regular mealtimes and warm, cooked foods and spices.
- Pitta-type digestion is sharp, sensitive and irritable when hungry. They benefit from generous portions of bitter, leafy greens and avoiding strong acidic flavours (e.g. tomatoes, chilis)
- Kapha type digestion is slow, dull and sluggish. They benefit from a lighter diet (e.g. starting a meal with homemade vegetable soups), pungent and digestive spices (ginger, garlic, chilies) and regular exercise.
- Eat Fresh & Warm
At mealtime, try to favour warm, cooked foods that are freshly prepared. Raw foods can also be enjoyed as a side dish, but tend to be more difficult to digest.
Try to avoid left-overs, and fried, frozen, microwaved or packaged foods. Because these foods are away from their natural state, they contribute to lethargy, moodiness and unclear thinking. They also tend to promote toxins, food cravings and overeating.
- Eat Local & In Season
Try to favour foods that are organic, local and seasonal. Organic foods generally taste better and contain fewer pesticides. They also tend to break down more easily in the digestive tract and leave you more satisfied with smaller portions.
Seasonal eating is intuitive and satisfying to the body and soul. For example, you may notice that you prefer cooling foods in the summer months (e.g. cucumber, mint, coriander, watermelon or salad) and cooked foods in the winter (e.g. squash, sweet potatoes and root vegetables).
- Cook With Love
The best secret ingredient in any meal is your loving energy and attention. When you cook, you are transmitting your thoughts and emotions to those you are feeding. Avoid cooking or eating when you’re upset, worried or stressed. Try to keep a peaceful state of mind and to enjoy what you’re doing, no matter how simple.
- Favour Warm Drinks
You can boost your metabolism by taking a glass of warm water 15-20 minutes before each meal. This simple trick hydrates your stomach and will help you to feel more satisfied with less food.
During your meal, take small sips of warm water (or occasionally, wine). Avoid cold beverages during or directly after a meal (reduces digestive fire).
- Relax And Enjoy
One of the best ways to correct any kind of chronic digestive problem is to take at least 20 minutes to enjoy, rest and digest each meal. Keep a pleasant dining atmosphere. Avoid working, readinging, or having unpleasant conversations at the table.
After you’re done eating, notice that your body’s energy naturally moves toward digestion. At this time, you will want to avoid heavy exercise or mental work.
- Eat Regularly & Moderately
In general, your body does best when you have a routine time for meals. Routine meals optimize your metabolism and help create natural digestive enzymes.
Ideally, try to leave 3-5 hours between each meal or snack to allow your body the opportunity to fully digest your food and reduces the formation of toxins. As much as possible, avoid eating after 8pm.