There are many approaches to balancing your body and your digestion. Today, we will focus on the Ayurvedic Approach to Digestion.
In Ayurvedic medicine, the approach to digestion is one profound. This approach not only looks at the food you eat, but also your unique body type and constitution. In this approach, digestion is about processing and assimilating your food based on your body type. It is believed we need to strengthen our digestive “fire” to process and assimilate our foods.
You can enhance digestive fire by doing the following:
1. Drink ginger tea to strengthen the digestion, relax the intestine and this tea is also wonderful to relieve gas.
2. Make sure you incorporate exercise or deep breathing into your life to improve oxygen levels in your body.
3. Do not overeat because your digestion needs at least 30% room left in your stomach for optimal digestion.
Spices that enhance digestion are the following: ginger, turmeric, cayenne, garlic, cumin and coriander.
|Body Type||thin, delicate bone structure, low body fat, hard to gain weight|
|Characteristics||sensitive, spiritual, running late, can’t sit still, forgets to eat, routine of the day feels difficult and overwhelming, flightiness, memory problems, easily confused, not too present, baldness|
|Signs of Balance||sharp, quick thinking, creative, fast talking, abstract, creative types. might have propensity toward arts, writing, poetry, music|
|Signs of Imbalance||gas, bloating, unfocused, spacey, dry skin, hair and nails, coldness and chills, nervousness, sleeplessness, worry, cavities|
|Organs to Nourish||nervous system, colon, bones|
|Foods to Reduce||stay away from low-fat diets, raw and cold foods, need very careful planning if vegetarian or vegan to stay grounded and focused|
|Foods to Increase||warming, lubricating, grounding, heavier foods to calm down, good quality oils, warming foods to counteract coldness|
|Beneficial||creamy tasting soups, lighter proteins like fish and eggs, mashed sweet potatoes, root vegetables, heavier grains, regular and balanced meals, weightlifting, pilates, yoga|
|Element||fire and water|
|Body Type||medium body frame, well-proportioned, prone toward muscularity, easily overheated|
|Characteristics||type A personalities, compelled to accomplish things, focused, organized, never misses meals and can be cranky if a meal is skipped (has a strong metabolism), workaholic, doesn’t do well in hot, humid climates, sassy, creates problems that don’t really exist when feeling too balanced, needs to eat often|
|Signs of Balance||productive, get-it-done person, organized, has a capacity to work until they drop, energized, enthusiastic, quick but sharper than vata|
|Signs of Imbalance||easily agitated under stress, irritable, overly competitive and other heat-associated conditions; diarrhea, skin rashes, burning eyes, increased appetite, perspiration, over-working|
|Organs to Nourish||liver, gall bladder, spleen, small intestine, blood, eyes|
|Foods to Reduce||excessive spices that are too heating, red meat|
|Foods to Increase||sweet and bitter foods, cooling and astringent, sweet-tasting spices (cardamom, fennel), protein|
|Beneficial||peppermint tea, fresh lime, lighter proteins (chicken and fish), dark leafy greens (bitter and cooling), sweet vegetables, calming and relaxing physical exercise, pilates, gentle relationships|
|Element||earth and water|
|Body Type||larger body type, not necessarily overweight, gains weight easily, holds fat and water, strong, great powerful athlete when in shape|
|Characteristics||grounded, stable, solid, clear about the ways of the world, sensual, strong sexuality, sense of physicality, steady appetite but not overly strong like pitta, can miss a meal, slower metabolism, resists exercise and is slower moving, often trying to lighten up (physically and emotionally)|
|Signs of Balance||reliable, dependable, calm, peacekeeper, even-tempered, loving, affectionate|
|Signs of Imbalance||holds on to emotions, lethargic, sleeping too much, depressed, lack of enthusiasm, feeling dull and sluggish, overweight, congestion|
|Organs to Nourish||lungs, stomach, body fat, lymphatic system|
|Foods to Reduce||High-fat foods, heavy and fatty proteins, dairy, gluten-based grains, red meats, starchy vegetables|
|Foods to Increase||drying and heating foods, heating and pungent spices for their thermogenic properties, lighter grains, light proteins, vegetables|
|Beneficial||beans, quinoa, spinach, dandelion, salads, cayenne, pepper, ginger, self-acceptance and body-image affirmations, cardiovascular exercises, love the body you have.|
Now that you have a pretty good idea of your Ayurvedic body type, you can learn how to identify an imbalance. Imbalances happen all the time for many different reasons – the changing seasons, a change in location, a big life event. They manifest in many different ways, as you can see from the charts above. An imbalance can even manifest as a bad day – and as soon as you recognize & try to fix it, your day will become blissful once again!
We are a combination of all three doshas. Therefore, you can also be dominant in one type, and imbalanced in another. For example, I am naturally very vata & a bit kapha – long limbs, thin, always chilly & often spacey and artistic, and yet calm, loving, and grounded. However, when my digestion is hot & unhappy, I know I need to balance the pitta qualities by eating cooling foods, and maybe by organizing something in my home that’s a mess.
The goal is to keep yourself at a sweet neutral, and embrace all of the healing properties of the three doshas. Yet, it’s good to know where you lean – that way, you can be ready to correct your imbalances when they happen!
To find out more about my digestive wellness spring detox, visit www.rachelswellness.com and sign up to get the announcement for the live kick off.