SLOW, HEAVY DIGESTION (Gastroparesis)
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? WHAT'S CAUSING IT? WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Are you prone to a problem with 'Slow, heavy digestion'?
Do You Have the Sluggish Digestion Blues?Friends don't let friends eat twinkies(TM). My neighbor's kids, astounded by my 15 year twinkie fast, somehow convinced me to eat one. Against my better Ayurvedic judgment, I indulged in this former childhood pleasure. It was 'another learning experience.' Two days later I could still feel the twinkie in my gut. It was like a brick in the pit of my stomach. I knew I was the victim of slow, heavy digestion.
Slow, heavy digestion is when you feel like a bomb is lodged in your stomach. The bomb of undigested food plugs up your digestive tract, making you feel bloated and slightly nauseas. The thought of more food makes you queasy, even if you are hungry. The longer the foods sits there, the more it churns and the more sour you feel.
A sluggish gut can make you so tired that even getting up off the couch seems difficult. Externally, your belly may appear big and puffy. You may feel, in these circumstances, that you are overweight. However, the real problem is you've got a food baby to digest. A laxative will deflate the balloon in your belly, and you will feel 10 pounds lighter.
A major cause of slow, heavy digestion is heavy or gooey foods, like oatmeal, soggy french toast, bread, and cheese. These foods bog down your gut in mucus. Poor food choices, like twinkies, or foods laden with preservatives are another common cause of slow, heavy digestion. A client of mine once ate a big mac(TM), and burped up the taste of it three days later! Her health spiraled downhill after that big mac, and a few years later it took us a month to help her back on track. Although we were able to revive her digestive system she is still recovering from hypothyroid. That is a big price to pay for what must have seemed like a cheap meal.
Ayurveda has an antidote to gooey foods and slow, heavy digestion. Next time your stomach feels lethargic, try aromatic spices. Aromatic spices accelerate gastric emptying, propelling food out of the stomach and into the small intestine and beyond. Aromatic spices include common kitchen spices like mint and cinnamon. Cardamom, fennel, and hing are also supberb aromatics. In fact, any spices with a strong smell can be a great aromatic.
Chronic slow heavy digestion, in the absence of a big mac or twinkies, usually points to blood deficiency, low metabolism or poor circulation. For example, anemia causes poor enzyme production (a vata condition). Hypothyroid makes digestive muscles very sluggish (a kapha condition). These conditions are all cold disorders in Ayurveda. In addition to aromatic spices, if your digestion is cold you can warm it up and reduce food stagnation through pungent spices like ginger and black pepper. Warm foods that are easy to digest like soups and kitchari are also helpful. Avoid cold, heavy foods like ice cream and cold milk.
Joyful Belly's herb formula Digestive Bitters is rich in aromatics and may be helpful for those with sluggish digestion. The opus of Ayurveda includes many other striking tips to improve your digestion if you have that slow and heavy food bomb feeling.
DIET REMEDIES FOR 'SLOW, HEAVY DIGESTION'
PRODUCT REMEDIES FOR 'SLOW, HEAVY DIGESTION'
FIND MORE DIGESTION RELATED PRODUCTSSee our herbs & products in these categories. Or, click here for general Digestion Tips.
DISCLAIMER: The pathogenesis of each person's condition is unique, and so the diet must be fit to the individual and the unique root causes of the condition in your body.
HOW DOES AYURVEDA HEAL 'SLOW, HEAVY DIGESTION'?
AVOID DIETS, LIFESTYLES & HERBS THAT AGGRAVATE THESE EFFECTS
With Slow, heavy digestion, one or more of the following
and qualities may be aggravated.
If you have an imbalance of one of these doshas or qualities, Ayurveda recommends avoiding foods and lifestyle habits that aggravate that quality and/or dosha.
These imbalanced doshas and qualities may need to be brought back into balance before this condition can be healed.
Click on the quality to learn what foods and
lifestyle habits should be avoided.
Symptoms Tell A StoryThe first step to healing is learning patterns from your symptoms. Symptoms are clues that reveal underlying imbalances, showing you where your body is weak. Specifically, they reveal the doshas & qualities that may have become aggravated. If you notice a quality or dosha appears next to many of your symptoms, it helps you establish a pattern that may be systemic.
V = VATA, P = PITTA, K = KAPHA
To learn more about the symbols above, click on them.
FAVOR DIETS, LIFESTYLES & HERBS WITH THESE MEDICINAL EFFECTSEverything you eat has an effect on your body, which Ayurveda categorizes in a simple and easy way, using gunas. Gunas are qualities (like cold and hot) that describe the effect a food or herb has on your body. Cooling foods like cucumber, decrease metabolism. Heating foods like chili pepper, stimulate your body and increase metabolism. For 'Slow, heavy digestion', you should select foods with the following qualities (gunas). Individual results will vary, based on your body type and the root cause of your imbalance.
To learn more about the symbols above, click on them.
CARMINATIVEStimulates the release of gas. Helpful for bloating or cramping abdominal pain. Propels food downward.
DIGESTIVEHerbs that encourage healthy digestive.
SPLEEN-TONICAn herb that strengthens spleen function by improving strength of the blood. Spleen tonics Builds agni, brighten the person's appearances & firms up tissues.
STOMACHICAn herb that increases appetite or settles a nauseas or nervous stomach. These generally increase the digestive fire, therefore relieving symptoms of sluggish or difficult digestion.
Energy Vitality Strength:
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs
Heart & Circulation:
CARDIAC-STIMULANTHerbs that increase the heart rate. Useful in cardiovascular health, blood stagnation, and subjective feeling of heaviness in the chest area.
BLOOD-TONICAn herb that produces more blood cells in the body or otherwise strengthens blood. Helpful for anemia and other types of deficiency.
VASODILATORA vasodilator is an herb that widens the blood vessels by the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, thereby increasing circulation systemically or to a local area.
GENERAL-LAXATIVEPromotes a bowel movement. General laxative is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of laxatives...
ADDRESS ISSUES IN STAGE OF DISEASE 1SLOW, HEAVY DIGESTION IS IN STAGE OF DISEASE 1 - AFFECTING DIGESTION
If you have symptoms in this category, your body is sending you a warning sign. Since digestion is so metabolically intensive and sensitive to stress and emotions, the earliest warning signs of imbalance usually appear in the digestive tract first. You may have gas and bloating, for example, or acid reflux. Ayurveda recommends paying careful, close attention to warning signs. They indicate that an imbalance is starting to accumulate. Correct these warning signs before they accumulate further and weaken your body's resistance. This is usually accomplished by removing diet and lifestyle habits that aggravate your imbalanced doshas and qualities.
REDUCE THESE RELATED SYMPTOMS & HABITSThe following symptoms & habits may be related to 'Slow, heavy digestion'. See your quiz results for a computerized assessment of your body type. Please click on the symptoms below to learn more about them.
DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR UNIQUE BODY?
What aggravates it? What heals it? Then get your Personal Ayurvedic Body Book! This book, written by founder and director of Joyful Belly, John Immel, is individually formatted for your unique body and will help you confidently choose food that restores your healthy glow to get you feeling like your best self. Just $19.99!
HOW AYURVEDA WORKSARE YOU WONDERING HOW AYURVEDA CAN HELP YOU?
WHY IS AYURVEDA THE RIGHT SOLUTION?Ayurveda strengthens the body, in addition to addressing the disorder. It take a holistic, systemic approach, instead of myopically focusing on the disorder in question. Ayurveda shows a person how to interpret signs and symptoms of imbalance, and how to address them using materials from home, so they can optimize their health on a continual basis. You can't take the doctor home with you, but you can take Ayurveda home with you. Ayurveda is the most advanced and easy to use home system for self healing with an exceptional focus on digestion.
HOW DOES AYURVEDA WORK?Ayurveda starts by identifying your body type, which identifies certain tendencies in your body to get sick (as well as identifying your strengths). It uses body type to determine the likely root causes of your disorders. Next, Ayurveda analyzes the nature of your disorder. It fits all your signs and symptoms into a pattern, expressed as a combination of gunas / qualities. For example, you may have a heat disorder, a cold disorder, or an oily disorder, etc. This simple categorical approach shows you how to correct systemic imbalances and strengthen your body as a whole.
On Joyful Belly, we've created an extensive categorization of food so you can easily match food to your imbalances (gunas). By eating an optimal diet that balances your gunas, your whole body is strengthened and the conditions that created the disorder are removed. Once the root causes of the disease are removed, the disease lessens in strength or disappears altogether. Additional remedies - such as herbs and lifestyle practices - focused on the specific disorder, can greatly enhance your healing.
Want to learn more about Ayurveda and its step-by-step approach to healing? Click below.LEARN MORE
GET STARTEDTo get started on your Ayurvedic journey, we first recommend that your find your body type by taking our free quiz. In Ayurveda, every solution is based on your unique body type, so by taking this quiz, you’ll get the best results.
5 WAYS TO HEAL YOUR BODY
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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.
Comments & Personal ExperiencesHow does 'slow, heavy digestion' affect your quality of life? What aggravates it? What has helped you? Is there something you'd like to know about 'slow, heavy digestion'?
It gives a false feeling of being full which leads to skipping of meals, and resultant decrease in energy. Then, I end up eating more heavy foods, and the cycle starts all over.