Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion Made Easy
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|(4.50 out of 5 stars) 2 reviews|
Written by John Immel
Now that I have two daughters of my own, I take them out for a special treat to Blue Mountain Pizza, a local favorite, and enjoy the daily live music while the kids wolf down the grub. I know that, Ayurvedically, pizza is the closest thing to poison, but somehow the memories are worth it. That's why we've devised these special tips, aptly named, "How to Eat Pizza and Live to Tell the Tale." Mangia!
Food is not only about health. Food is also a joyful way to celebrate with loved ones. It might seem tempting to abstain from indulgence in social situations, believing that you are following the rules or being "good," but Ayurveda is not about having a perfect diet at the expense of your relationships. The word "companion" derives from the french word meaning "with bread" - you grow closer and bond with loved ones over food, which actually reduces stress and helps keep you healthy. It is healthier to eat the pizza or cake with joy than to sulk in the corner, missing out on memories & quality time with loved ones.
There are other reason why you might stray from your Ayurvedic diet, sometimes for convenience, or simply because you don't have any other options on hand. Travel, a church potluck, or a child's birthday party may make eating cookies, cake, pizza, and other "unhealthy" foods virtually unavoidable. If you generally have a healthy diet, you can afford a transgression on the weekend, so long as you are 'artful' about about it.
Ayurveda literally means the 'art of life.' To have an artful life means finding ways to live life joyfully, without sacrificing your health. While these tips won't make pizza actually healthy for you, they will help you indulge responsibly. Ayurveda can help reinforce your relationships and bond with loved ones over food, with minimal impact on your body. By following some basic steps in the example, you can figure out how to eat pizza and live to tell the tale. You don't have to follow all these tips - we've included them just to convince you that in any situation, you have lots of options to stay healthy. Once you master pizza, you'll soon figure out how to participate healthfully in myriad social situations.
Note: Yes, you might have to abstain if you have a wheat or dairy allergy, unless gluten free, dairy free options are available.
Step 1: What is Pizza Like? Let's figure out what's behind Ayurveda's 'pizza is poison' philosophy, then we'll try to restore some balance, slice by slice. First, consider how pizza makes you feel. Pizza can make you feel heavy, tired, and even depressed. You might notice a throbbing brick in your stomach that makes you feel stuffed and sluggish. That night, if you have trouble digesting pizza, you might get acid reflux, gas and bloating. The next morning, you might feel swollen and puffy.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, the main qualities of pizza are the following:
Step 2: Choose a responsible amount of pizza. Once you've figured out how pizza makes you feel, and its Ayurvedic qualities, you're in a great position to decide how much you can reasonably consume. No food is ever off-limits, so long as it is eaten in an appropriate quantity and with the proper precautions, it should be fine. Only you can discover the appropriate amount for your body, and you can only do so by listening. For pizza, a slice or two is normally enough to satisfy you without leading to imbalance. If you've eaten too much, you'll know - there will be a sense of heaviness, tiredness, and stagnation in the body and stomach. Notice the amount you ate, and remember to scale back in the future.
Step 3: Chew it well. Whenever you are in the worst of food situations, chew your food carefully. Saliva has digestive enzymes. Try to 'digest' the food as much as possible in your mouth. Unchewed food is even more difficult to digest. Plus, the slower you eat, the less you'll eat of potentially harmful foods, without feeling too austere.
Step 4: Always order a salad when you eat pizza. The roughage of the salad breaks up the Goopy-Pizza-Glob, dispersing it into smaller pieces instead of keeping it as one big, difficult, mass in your stomach. The bitter taste of the salad increases bile production and flushes the gall bladder, helping you mobilize heavy fats from the meat and cheese and taking the pitta-aggravating heating out of the oils. Order your salad with a vinaigrette dressing instead of ranch. The sour taste of vinegar also aids in fat metabolism by stimulating bile production and will help your body process the heavy fats in the cheese and meat.
Step 5: Order hot water with lemon. Hot water is a great way to get your digestive fire going and the sour taste of lemon improves digestion. Order this with your pizza and sip throughout the meal. Do not drink ice water or cool drinks - this will extinguish your digestive fire, and thwart all your efforts.
Step 6: Indulge Early. While it's not always possible, it is better to eat heavier foods early in the day as opposed to later. Around noon, your digestion is the strongest and therefore better prepared to handle heavy foods. If you are planning to go out for pizza or host a party with cake, try to do it around lunchtime or early afternoon rather than a late-night pizza binge. This will give your body more time to digest the heavy foods.
Step 7: Honor your body by eating light before and after. If you plan to eat pizza for lunch, eat something light for breakfast, like grapefruit with honey, and give your body a break. Your body has a tipping point. If you assault your body with bad choices meal after meal, eventually you will reach the straw that broke the camel's back. Eat lightly for dinner as well, or skip dinner altogether. This can keep your body from getting overwhelmed or bogged down by too much food. P.S. Eat just enough so that you aren't starving when you arrive at the pizza joint.
Step 8: Enjoy a stroll after your meal. Taking a short walk around the block afterwards revs your metabolism, adding an element of mobility and breaking up heaviness from the pizza.
Step 9: Consider Triphala before bed. Triphala is a mild, non-habit-forming laxative that is good to take the evening after indulgence, right before you go to bed. It will give your body a gentle cleanse, will help remove any lingering toxicity formed by the pizza, and will reset digestion so you feel ready to go the next day.
Step 10: Give Thanks, Release Regret, and Have Fun. If you eat anything with guilt or regret, it will certainly harm your body more than if you eat it with an attitude of thanks and joy. Eating a piece of pizza or a slice of cake is not the end of the world, and its important to keep that in mind. Focus on being thankful and enjoying the quality of time you have with loved ones and don't worry about the food.
Imbalance AccumulatesImproper food and lifestyle causes balances to accumulate. Ayurveda shows you exactly which doshas and qualities will accumulate in your body. Once these doshas and qualities accumulate too much, they will begin to cause disease. You can reduce an imbalanced dosha or quality by removing things that aggravate it from your diet and lifestyle.
'Pizza' is likely to aggravate the following doshas and qualities.If you have a systemic imbalance of one of these doshas or qualities, Ayurveda would generally recommend removing, substitute or lessen the frequency of Pizza.
Key: V = Vata, P = Pitta, K = Kapha. A slash through a dosha means it an aggravated dosha. To learn more about the symbols above, click on them.
Correct ImbalanceFood and lifestyle habite with the following effects may reduce imbalances associated with 'Pizza'.
Please review these herbs & products below to determine which ones might be helpful for Pizza.
|Mustard Greens||Red Leaf Lettuce|
|High Triglycerides||Blood thick / Congested lymph|
|Slow, heavy digestion||High Cholesterol|
|Tight/tense chest||Large amounts of mucus|
|Emotional eating||Indigestion / Upset stomach|
|Tired after eating||Bad breath|
|Acid Reflux||Gallstones / Attack|
|Restaurants 3+ per week||Dairy/milk/cheese/ice-cream|
|Few leafy greens||Fast food more than 2x/week|
|Wheat||Low fiber diet|
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.
(4.50 out of 5 stars) 2 reviews
A great practical approach- thank you!
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