Image by John Forson
Here are our Modern Ayurvedic top tips for restoring your Agni.
1. Eat when you are hungry
When you are hungry your Agni is at it's peak. Whatever you eat when your Agni is strong will be broken down and assimilated properly.
2. Stop eating before you are full
Ayurveda says your stomach should contain 1/3 food, 1/3 liquid and 1/3 air at the end of your meal. If you are eating with presence (top tip 5) you will notice your body speaks to you at this point... you actually get a little pocket of air rise aka a mini burp. That is your cue to stop eating.
3. Drink warm water
Warm water is an Ayurvedic must. It cleanses the digestive system. Would you wash your dishes with cold water? Probably not. So why try rinse your internal tubes with it?
Drink your food and chew your drink. Whatever you put in your mouth will be digested better when it is a) partially digested by the enxymes in your mouth and b) warm. Your body has hormonal feed forward mechanisms. When you chew you food thoroughly it cues your entire digestive tract to release the digestive juices required to break down your food.
4. Eat mindfully
Pay attention to your food when you are eating. One of our fave Ayurvedic proverbs goes 'to eat is human, to digest is divine'. Hoovering food in front of a screen is not divine. You know it. Enough said.
5. Eat ghee
We pay full respect to all the people out there that are vegan - veganism is sustainable. Full stop. If you are open to having small quantities of the best animal products, then incorporating small amounts (1 tsp a day) of grass-fed ghee may be for you. Ghee is one of the few sources of butyric acid, which science and Ayurveda agree works absolute wonders for the health of the GI tract cells. Butyric acid is selectively used by the bacteria in your gut that support healthy digestion. It's also an anupana - meaning it carries nutrients from your gut into your deeper tissues.
6. Know the constitution of your gut
We often bang on about 'tube types' to our clients in our clinic or in our Ayurvedic workshops. There are three types of tube. Can you guess what they are? Kapha-tubes, Pitta-tubes and Vata-tubes, of course! Kapha-tubes are prone to heaviness and excess mucous, Pitta-tubes to hyperacidity, and Vata-tubes to dryness (constipation). If you know your tube type, you can eat to counter the natural weakness in your gut.
Exercise is a MUST for healthy Agni. Kapha's benefit from cardio, interval training and hot yoga (anything to amp it up), Pitta's from a combination of strength-based workouts, light jogging, unheated yoga (anything to disperse accumulating heat) and Vata's benefit from slow walking and grounding yoga (anything to calm your farm back down).
8. Eat variety
According to Ayurveda the first stage of any disease is ACCUMULATION. Eating the same food diminishes Agni and increases Ama. It causes you to feel heavy and apathetic. Your zest for life is taken alongside your zest for food. Keep the variety.
9. Be careful of the company you keep when eating
Kapha's don't do well when eating alone. Pitta's don't do well if they eat when they are emotionally charged, and Vata's will often neglect to eat unless they are with a nurturer/feeder/Kapha. Know your constitution, know it's strength, and know that the people you surround yourself with can help you to establish and maintain healthy food habits.
10. Eat whole foods
This one is basic. Your body recognises six tastes, and those six tastes are made up of five elements. There is no recognition 'processed' foods. If it has a number instead of a name, if it ends in -ol or if it comes from a packet, then your body is unlikely to recognise or digest/process it. Stick to what your Mumma (Earth) gave you.
MA // Modern Ayurvedic TM
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