Ayurvedic Diet

Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion Made Easy

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Meal Times

Routine meal times are essential for health. The mind loves freedom but the body loves stability. Digestion is demanding on resources. The body schedules blood to make sure enough is available for digestion. Eating off schedule not only causes indigestion, but also confuses the body's biorhythms. Vata may eat smaller meals more often. Kapha can eat fewer meals and skip breakfast altogether.

Breakfast is the spiritual meal. Lunch is the joyful meal. Dinner is the gentle meal

Generally, eat breakfast at 8am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 5pm. Try to eat within an hour of these times. If you miss a meal, or have to eat off schedule, eat light, easy to digest foods so that you will be hungry on time for the next meal. Here are some tips for healthy snacking.

The morning is the best time for prayer and spiritual practice. An austere meal complements developing spiritual awareness. Vata people should include simple proteins such as 10 almonds with their breakfast. Eat the biggest meal of the day at lunchtime when agni is strongest. Finally, by 3pm our organs are as tired as we feel after a long day's work. Dinner should include gentle foods only. Kapha should never eat heavy foods after sunset. Generally, eat early enough to ensure food will completely digest before sleep. Baby the digestive tract after 8pm. Overnight, undigested food becomes stagnant blood provoking Kapha and mucous.

Late Night Meals

As the night wanes, dinner should be simpler and simpler according to the following:
  • 5pm Beef okay unless Kapha is aggravated
  • 6pm Chicken okay
  • 7pm Fish or veggies only
  • 8pm soups, easy to digest veggies, small portions only.
  • 9pm small bowl of rice
  • 10pm Glass of almond milk

Do Not Eat Until at Least Two Hours After a Meal

The stomach processes food for approximately two hours while slowly releasing it into the duodenum. Wait until the stomach is empty before eating or snacking. Avoid water after meals. Sipping water slowly is okay.

Preparing the Stomach and Taste Buds

Bitter, pungent, salty and sour tastes help kick start digestion. Bitter neem or dandelion stimualtes peristalsis. While Europe stimulates digestion with alcoholic aperitifs, Ayurveda recommends lime for sour taste. A ginger, lime, salt appetizer refreshes the taste buds, stimulates saliva, and brings blood flow to the digestive tract.

Do I have to spend all day in the kitchen?

Are you too busy to cook? We find that eating out, fast food, and even making a sandwich takes more time than cooking soups. Here's a way to cook soups that's fast and easy.

When I wake up in the morning I cook all three meals at the same time. First, I start a soup. Next, I start a pot of rice. Next, I cook my oatmeal or fry an egg for breakfast. The rest of my day is kitchen free. This method of cooking is fast, easy, and healthy.

The Fundamentals of a Good Routine

  • Eating meals at the same time each day (preferably 8am, 12 noon, and 5:30pm)
  • If you can't follow ideal meal times, at least eat at the same time each day.
  • Avoid anything that strains eyes after 9pm (reading, TV, computer, bright lights)
  • Going to bed at the same time each night (preferably 10 pm)
  • Even if you have insomnia, avoid getting out of bed or using the eyes.

About the Author

John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.

John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.

John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.

Lunch & Dinner
The Secret to Eating Slowly
Introduction to an Ayurvedic Diet
The Heart of Preventative Medicine
Food Types in Ayurveda
10 month online program starts Oct 10th
Starts Oct 2017

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I am a habitual late night snacker. I eat small meals through the day and find I need something around 9 or 10pm. I've been eating yogurt and often I have mucous in the am. I'm going to witch to fruit (if I need something) from now on. Thanks.

- Susan Simonetti, Cocoa beach, FL, 04-16-14 (Reply)
What would be the latest allowable time for a cup of goat milk? Thank you.
- , Stouffville, 11-23-16 (Reply)
It depends on the person, but generally speaking, 8pm ideally - about 2 hours before going to bed.
- Kimberly Kubicke, Wall, NJ, 11-23-16 (Reply)
Hi there, how long after eating a meal can one drink water to not affect digestion (ex. 500 ml water)?Thanks!
- , Stouffville, 01-10-17 (Reply)
Ideally wait about an hour to drink water after meals.
- Kimberly Kubicke, Wall, NJ, 01-11-17 (Reply)

What is Joyful Belly?

Browse recipes and hundreds of other ingredients on this extensive educational website. Joyful Belly helps people confidently choose food that restores their healthy glow, using the ancient technique of Ayurveda. Our extensive collection of online recipes, ingredients, and articles makes health easy. To get started, take the free dosha quiz to find your Ayurvedic body type.

What is Ayurveda?

Learn about Ayurveda from the author of this article and founder of Joyful Belly,
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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