The way in which you eat your food is even more important than what you eat. Even foods that usually cause imbalance will be digested reasonably well, if the proper rules are followed. Likewise, if you eat the correct foods in the wrong way your digestion will be compromised, and gas, indigestion and the formation of ama will follow. If you follow these food habits and choose the correct foods then your digestion will be maximized, and you will experience optimal digestion.
1. Chew your food until it is an even consistency before swallowing.
2. Do not eat while being distracted by television, excessive conversation or reading.
3. Do not drink cold drinks just prior to eating. This weakens digestion.
4. Do not drink large quantities of liquid during meals, as this also weakens the digestive fire. A half-cup of room temperature water is about right, on the average. Dry meals may require more, and moist meals, like soup, require none at all. It is okay to sip a little wine during a meal.
5. Eat only food prepared by loving hands, in a loving way. The energy of the cook is always in the food. Avoid eating food prepared with resentment. We take in not only the food, but also the emotions of the chef.
6. Make eating a sacred ritual. Pause for a moment, relax, and say grace before you start.
7. Following your meal, relax for a short while to let your food digest before going on to the next activity.
8. Eat at a moderate pace until you are three-quarters full.
9. Allow three hours between meals to allow your food to digest.
10. Digestion is strongest around noon, when the sun is at its peak. The body's rhythms mirror those of the universe. Therefore, it is best to eat your largest meal at noon. The morning and evening meals should be lighter.
11. Take all water and drinks at room temperature or warmer. Cold drinks destroy the digestive fire and decrease digestion. This is true not only at mealtime, but all day long.
12. Allow three hours between meals for food to digest. This allows most people three to five meals per day. Those with a vata nature or imbalance should eat four to five times per day.
Dr. Marc Halpern is the founder and President of the California College of Ayurveda. An internationally respected expert in the fields of Ayurveda and Yoga, Dr. Halpern received the award for Best Ayurvedic Physician from the Indian Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. A. Ramdas. He is a co-founder of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. He is on the advisory board of Light on Ayurveda Journal in the United States and the Journal of Research and Education in Indian Medicine in Varansi, India. Dr. Halpern has published articles in popular journals and magazines of Ayurveda and Yoga including Yoga Journal. He is also a contributing writer in several popular books on Ayurveda and has written two textbooks. Dr. Halpern is a regular speaker at Ayurvedic and Yoga conferences and teaches regularly at the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers where he received his Yoga Teacher certification. Read more...