School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion
Staying Hydrated: Ayurveda's Approach to the Essence of LifeWater is the essence of life. Without it you cannot go on living. In fact, the sheer volume of water on Earth is what makes this planet unique. But how much do you really need? And when is enough simply enough? Proper hydration is essential for health and thus a somewhat controversial topic. Although modern medicine claims that more water is better, the ancient Ayurvedic texts discourage drinking large amounts of water, and recommend a more individualized approach to fluid intake.
Soups, broths & teas
Like everything you consume, water takes effort to digest. It must be processed until it resembles the blood in salinity, sweetness, and pH. Since water takes effort to digest but does not provide nourishment, Ayurveda recommends nourishing drinks, broths, and teas in the place of water. Some examples are soup stocks, herbal teas, almond smoothies, and fruit juices.
No matter how much water you drink you won't be hydrated until the electrolytes in your body are in balance. Banana smoothies are an easy way to replenish lost electrolytes. Other 'homemade Gatorade(tm)" ideas include adding lemon, lime, salt, or ginger to water. In addition to electrolytes, these ingredients enhance the flavor and digestibility of a simple glass of water. When choosing salt to supplement your electrolytes try to stay away from highly refined table salt as it contains nothing but pure sodium. Sea salt is a much better option as it contains the trace minerals needed for a good balance of electrolytes.
Warm water: nature's most powerful home remedy
Warm water is nature's most powerful home remedy and the #1 alleviant of digestive mayhem. It's also the least expensive supplement. Sipping warm water stimulates good digestion and circulation, and cleanses the bowels. It also encourages sweating which cleanses the lymphatic system and improves complexion. In addition, water flushes the urinary tract, ridding the body of unwanted toxins. And if you can't seem to get rid of those annoying hiccups, just try drinking a glass of warm water!
Should I drink ice water?
No. Think about what happens when you put your hand in a picnic cooler to grab a drink. When you pull your hand out it's numb and pale because your blood has retreated from the cold skin. This is another example of vasoconstriction. The blood vessels have become tight and small, cutting off blood supply to prevent heat loss. So drinking ice water with a meal cuts off the blood supply to the digestive tract, sabotaging the stomach in the moment that it needs this blood the most.
Tap water vs bottled water
Many people are concerned about the safety and quality of the water they drink. Yet, almost all municipal water in the United States is of good quality and very drinkable. Nevertheless, you should pay attention to your local water sources. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the standards for tap water. Additionally, local water suppliers are required to furnish the public with annual water quality reports. The EPA and American Water Works Association (AWWA) are credible organizations that can provide information on the quality of your local water.
When it comes to bottled water, Americans consume more than any other nation. Bottling water is now a 16 billion dollar a year industry. The FDA sets bottled water quality standards based on the EPA standard. However, the FDA does not carefully regulate the bottled water industry. Most commercial bottled water comes from tap water that is filtered to make it taste better. Examples include Pepsi's Aquafina and Coco-Cola's Dasani. High quality bottled water offers benefits, but may be pricey and all those plastic bottles have the potential to cause a lot of waste. So if you choose to drink bottled water, please recycle.
Increases These Qualities (Gunas)
Ayurveda helps you assess how you feel through the 20 main therapeutic feelings or qualities called gunas. Through the gunas you can articulate, experience and develop sensitivity to the signals your body sends you. Imbalanced gunas are the root of your imbalances. Every guna has an opposite which balances is (i.e. hot balances cold). You create balance by favoring diet and lifestyle choices that increase the opposite guna.
The Three Doshas / Body Types
Your body type shows how your strengths, as well as how your body typically goes out of balance. It also shows how your body responds to the environment. Your body type is comprised of certain qualities and affects every part of you - your physical and mental characteristics as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses. This is because your body type is based on how your body uses energy. Ayurveda has 3 body types (doshas), called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata spends energy. Pitta burns energy. Kapha stores energy. Vata people tend to be easily stimulated, hyperactive, underweight and dry. Pitta people tend to be hot, focused, driven, and easily inflamed. Kapha people are heavy, stable and grounded, but if they store too much energy, they could gain weight easily and have congestion.
HAS THE FOLLOWING
WATERResembles water (ap) in quality - fluid, sticky, soft, heavy, stable, cool.
QUENCHES-THIRSTAn herb or substance that relieves thirst.
|Cleanse and Detox|
DETOXICANTAn herb that eliminates or metabolizes toxins from the body.
|Heart & Circulation|
REBUILDS-FLUIDSHerbs or substances that create moisture in the body and increase fluids.
|Kidney & Urinary|
DIURETICHerbs that promote urine formation, thereby flushing the kidneys and urinary tract while eliminating any excess water retention. As diuretics reduce water retention, they are often used to reduce blood pressure.
RELIEVES-BURNINGHerbs that soothe a burn or reduce an internal burning sensation, such as aloe vera.
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DigestionPancreatic Insufficiency, Strong/frequently thirsty
About the AuthorJohn 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.