Did you know that according to Ayurveda, 85% of disease starts with digestion?
A healthy gut and strong, balanced digestion is a cornerstone to good health. It impacts so much of our health and our overall experience of life.
When our digestion is working well it frees up energy and therefore makes you feel more energised.
Digestive health is directly tied to the nervous system too. It impacts your mood including how happy or sad you feel, along with feeling anxious or calm. About 80% of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that impacts mood and cognitive function, is produced in the gut!
A healthy gut helps build a stronger immune system
Ayurveda, a healthy gut is the most important factor in preventing disease or imbalances. When the digestion is 'off', ama (a thick, filmy gunk) can build up in the digestive tract and when it becomes excessive it will get pushed into other areas of the body. This can cause things like allergies, asthma, headaches, skin rashes, achy joints or stiff muscles, etc.
A healthy gut will help the body build strong, healthy tissues as it's the first chain in the link, all the way up to sexual health, vitality, and fertility.
Here are my top ten tips for a healthy gut:
Honour your hunger. Eat when you're hungry. Don't eat if you're not. Eat according to your hunger and only what you can easily digest.
Eat at the same time every day. Find what meal times work for you, and slowly start adjusting your schedule to make it consistent. If you're not hungry at the same time each day, you can slowly train your digestive fire to show up regularly. Start to narrow down your meal time windows and use cumin, coriander and fennel to cultivate more hunger (see tea recipe at the bottom of this newsletter).
Eat your biggest meal in the middle of the day. Your digestion is strongest between 11-2pm. This is the best time to have the heartiest, or more complex meal. Let your dinner be early and lighter. You'll notice the benefits when you wake up feeling more refreshed and light.
Fast on (room temp or hot) water between meals. Often when we think we're hungry we're actually thirsty. Give your gut a break and allow it to rest. If you have a hard time making it from one meal to the next, make sure you're having adequate protein, fat, and fibre at lunch. If your hunger is too sharp you can make adjustments to create balance.
Focus on FRESH foods. Fresh vegetables, freshly prepared.
Cultivate a healthy gut microbiome. Feed good bacteria with a daily probiotic and living cultured foods like sauerkraut or kefir. (Just do a small serving a day. Everything in moderation!) Eat prebiotic foods such as artichoke, dandelion, onion, leek, apples, barley, asparagus, bananas, etc. Limit your intake of sugar or sugary foods (hidden sources can be flavored yogurt, bread, cereals, bottled beverages, kombucha, etc.)
Listen to your body. What foods sound good to you? How can you connect to your body wisdom and intuition and feed yourself from there, rather than a strict diet? Focus on what you can ADD in, not what you take out.
Eat what's in season. Follow the intelligence of mother nature. She's clever.
Be present and enjoy your food. Food is amazing! Take a moment to pause and give thanks for the nourishment that will become your body. Be ready to receive, sitting down and without distraction. Stay present with your meal and savour the flavours, textures, scent and experience of dining.
Tune into regular bowel movements. If you don't already go to the bathroom once per day in the morning, you can make changes to make that happen. Just noticing what your bowel movements are like is great information for what's happening in your gut and how to make some changes.
Most Importantly: Build self awareness with your body and let thy food be medicine. A balanced healthy gut digests food without any symptoms. If you have symptoms, refine your understanding to know what causes it, and how to adjust your diet to create balance.
If you suffer from a weakened immune system, joint complaints, weight gain, anxiety or depression, food hypersensitivity, stomach discomfort – these are all signs that your digestion may be out of balance. The good news is there is plenty you can do for yourself to help restore intestinal balance.
The first prescription with Ayurveda is always to improve digestion - this is done by changing HOW you’re living. Start by noticing how your lifestyle, mental state, and self-care impact on your digestion.
Let me know if you'd like more personalised support.