Practical Ways to Enhance Your Health with Ayurveda
What if I told you that your health and well being rest not on medication and disease management, but on an ancient lifestyle practice? It takes, but a few simple changes to experience the life giving power of Ayurveda. At minimum, you will feel more positive and optimistic, but these principles also hold the key to unlock the power of your own recovery and healing.
- Eliminate unnecessary snacking. Snacking or “grazing” is a popular fad that promotes eating throughout the day. But this disturbs the body’s metabolic processes and overburdens the digestion system, which often leads to constipation. Why not batch the craving and eat at fixed times. For example if I am craving a cookie, I will begin my lunch with it and not at random times, in between meals.
- Eat balanced foods. Heavy foods like meat, processed foods and nuts take longer to digest and light foods such as popcorn, fruit and puffed rice digest quickly, but lack natural fats that is needed in every meal. A healthy middle is might mean eating certain foods that contain oil—wheat or nuts—or it might mean drizzling warm ghee or clarified butter over foods like popcorn, salads, and cooked lentils.
- Avoid excessive fasting and dieting. When we partake in extreme dieting and fasting, we tax our body. Signs are constipation, physical aches, dry skin, cracking joints, fatigue, irritability, moodiness, and even depression. Many rely on diet shakes, powders and bars that are inefficient to meet the body’s nutritional requirements. Ayurveda recommends eating smaller meals, including steamed vegetable and Green gram lentil soup with added cumin and turmeric spice which aid in detox and weight loss.
- Consume warm foods and drinks. Cold drinks such as frosty shakes and smoothies dull the digestive fire. If what you consume is cold (in other words, cooler than room temperature), it will constrict your body’s channels, a metabolic liability. If you suffer from constipation or irregularity, cold water will worsen the situation. Iced water, lattes and cold foods are unnatural and I believe, contribute to obesity. So why not drink warm water as a rule? Try it for a month and see the difference; say goodbye to gas and bloating!
- Exercise for your health. It’s best to practice right exercise, one that is not too strong or excessive. Too much exercise can lead to fatigue, emaciation and breathlessness, which can compromise your health and lead to injury and even addiction. Instead exercise at half of your strength, not to your maximum capacity and in the hot seasons avoid exposure to full sun.
- Drink only when thirsty. You’ve heard that drinking eight glasses of water a day is an exercise in optimal health. It’s a popular trend. But drinking too much water is a liability to digestion. Extra water dilutes the digestive enzymes, blocks the bio-channels of circulation and, in general, taxes the digestive system. The body now must spend precious energy processing each extra swallow of water. The eight glasses of water a day is a one-size-all prescription that just doesn’t work. Why not trust your intuition again and drink when thirsty?
- Replace butter and oil with ghee. Cooking with clarified butter or ghee is an easy way to aid digestion. Ghee is renowned in Ayurveda for its immunity enhancing anti aging qualities. Plus it is delicious with a nutty flavor. Try it for yourself! You can cook with it and also drizzle it on salads, etc.
- Eat your last meal two to three hours before bed. Late night snacks and large meals too close to bedtime can wreak havoc on your digestion and also disturb sleep. What you cannot digest may be converted into toxins says Ayurveda. It’s best to eat as close to sunset as possible and plan a few hours between dinner and bedtime.
- Ready your bedroom for sleep. Your room is a retreat from the waking world. A cozy, inviting and uncluttered room invites restful sleep. Make sure the temperature is not too cold or hot. Dimmed lights, flowers, and soft music helps set the stage for a good night’s sleep.
- Prepare yourself mentally for sleep. Sleep is a time of surrender and plays an important role in your wellbeing. Eliminating stimulating TV, loud music and exercise and doing a short meditation before bedtime supports better sleep.