Ayurvedic Guidelines for Healthy Eating: Eat Only Until You Are 75% Full


“This is one of the most important, and yet challenging, of the food guidelines for a majority of people. If you eat too much, even a good food can become toxic. Excessive food smothers the digestive fire, leading to poor digestion, a heavy feeling in the abdomen and lethargy after eating. Large meals overwhelm the ability of the body to produce digestive enzymes. The end result is the formation of ama and an increase in the kapha dosha. This is just as true for rice and vegetables as it is for pizza and hamburgers. 

What does it mean to be 75% full? When the proper amount of food has been consumed, you will feel neither hungry nor heavy. A person who has consumed the proper amount of food feels “satisfied.” The body feels light and the mind is clear. 

The typical American idea of a good meal leaves a person feeling at least 100% full at its completion. While leaving a person with a satisfied feeling, there is also heaviness and lethargy following the meal. Most people do not realize that these are early symptoms of disease. Symptoms are the body’s voice letting us know something is wrong. Feelings of heaviness and lethargy after a meal are communicating that you have eaten too much food. True, the body will eventually digest the food but through the process, the kapha dosha increases and ama is formed. This leads to weight gain and, if not managed properly, more serious diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart dis- ease. Sometimes, the cause of a disease is as simple as eating too much on a habitual basis. 

Most people are not conscious of the difference between feeling full and feeling satisfied. Due to eating while distracted, the subtle communication of the body to the mind is interfered with. The mind does not perceive that the body is satisfied. Distracted from the subtle calls of the body, a louder signal is required. Only when the stomach stretches in an unhealthy manner do most people become aware that they have had enough.”

~ Excerpt from “Healing Your Life, Lessons on the Path of Ayurveda,” by Dr. Marc Halpern, Founder of the California College of Ayurveda.