Dietary Therapy (ahara Chikitsa)
Ayurveda places great importance on having a well functioning digestive system, as then food can be properly metabolised and assimilated, thereby delivering good nourishment to bodily tissues and organs.
The best tips for keeping your digestion healthy are:
Try to eat in accordance to your prescribed dosha combination. Gradually incorporate your new way of eating.
Eat fresh, cooked and organic food as much as possible.
Avoid eating before 7am and after 7pm.
Eat your main meal at midday as your digestive fire is at its strongest.
Before eating have a pinch of fresh ginger, lemon, salt, sugar pickle (mix a little of each).
Leave 4-6 hours between meals. Don’t eat until the previous meal has been digested as eating in between meals weakens the digestive fire.
Eating cold, wet, heavy foods also weakens the digestive fire.
Use spices to enkindle digestive fire.
Drink hot water to stimulate the digestive fire and clean away toxins – it’s a bit like washing plates, cold water just does not do the trick, whilst hot water dissolves dirty plates straight away. Ginger water is also very good for enkindling the digestive fire. Avoid drinking chillled water at any time.
Avoid drinking tea/coffee/water directly after eating as it quenches digestive fire and diminishes absorption of nutrients.
Cooking different foods in one pot makes it easier to digest (casseroles, kitchari).
Sit and relax while eating and bring your attention to your meal.
Avoid overeating, eating without real hunger and emotional eating when stressed, anxious or worried.
Avoid eating incompatible food combinations such as fruit/dairy, milk/fish and lots of raw and cooked foods together in same meal.
Avoid eating leftovers from previous day.
Fruits are best eaten alone on an empty stomach, always leave 30mins either side. Due to their rapid digestion and high sugar content they can ferment easily if eaten with heavier foods which would delay their digestion. Nowadays most of the fruit (especially grapes) on the market is chemically polluted and detrimental to health, therefore eat organic or home grown whenever possible.
Vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals and low in calories and are therefore the source of great healing. Heavy warm vegetables balance vata, warm and light balance kapha and cooling balance pitta.