Here are my top five recommendations to support
(or show appreciation to) your digestive system during
I usually don't suggest herbs as the first recommendation, but this is
a worthy exception. I believe everyone should take triphala (unless
you are pregnant, on blood thinners, or have a bleeding disorder).
You can learn more about the benefits of triphala on my website
( svasthahealth.com), but the short version is that triphala helps to
keep everything flowing in the digestive system, reduces the effects of
stress on digestion, and is a powerful tool for balancing vata.
2. Choose warm instead of cold food and drinks.
Most of us have felt esophageal spasms if we eat something cold
quickly; cold slows our digestion. Hot water and herbal teas are good
to support digestion, as are warm foods.
3. Portion control.
Cup your two hands together and form a bowl with them. This
"bowl" is your maximal individual portion at one sitting (level bowl,
not heaping). You can eat more frequently and tolerate it well if
you are maintaining good portion control. As soon as you feel full
physically, stop! Take a break, put the leftovers in a glass or stainless
steel container, and save it for later (ideally, two hours later, at least).
My pushy relatives are okay with me saying I'll consume their food
offering in two hours because I really want to savor and enjoy it, and
likely yours will be, too.
4. Favor hot and bitter tastes.
The comfort foods of this season are inherently heavy and can be hard
to digest. We can help to balance these qualities, and support our
digestion, by spicing it up. Spices for the season are all heating (clove,
cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger) and improve our digestive
capacity (agni). Include spices in everything (e.g. cinnamon in your
coffee, rosemary in your eggs, black pepper on your veggies, paprika
on mashed potatoes). While pungent, or heating, spices help support
digestion of seasonal foods, bitter taste helps to reduce accumulation
and stagnation in the digestive system. The easiest way to get bitter
taste in is with fresh leafy greens, and the best way to do so this season
is to cook and spice those greens.
5. Support your emotional body.
The digestive system is the portal through which the energetic patterns
in your mind/emotions enter the body. It's almost impossible to have
optimal digestion if you have a lot of intense or rapidly changing
emotions. During this season in which we try to squeeze in family
and travel and holidays with our work load, it's easy to find yourself
in a stressful place. Check in now, and consider your greatest tools
for self-care and emotional balance and plan ahead. Book massages
now, schedule the day spa, plan yoga classes, identify your therapists’
holiday hours….you get the idea.
Of course, anything you do to balance vata and maintain agni
(digestive capacity) will help support digestion. Start with these five
tips to avoid being overwhelmed, which is another facet of vata
Dr. Siva Mohan integrates Ayurveda with modern medicine in her Ayurvedic wellness practice
and educational programs to define and achieve whole-being wellness. Dr. Mohan specializes
in addressing the psychospiritual basis of healing. DOC TORMOHAN.COM.