Congratulations! It's January and you survived the holiday season. Did your digestion survive? Kinda...? Did all the foods and drinks offered at the festive dinners, cookies, cocktail parties, and holiday gatherings leave you feeling bloating, indigestion, constipation, heaviness after eating, loss of appetite, or excessive cravings?
In Ayurveda, our digestive energy is called Agni. Our eating habits impact our Agni, and the current state of Agni is our best diagnostic tool to figure out how to reset digestion. Agni can be in one of four stages:
Low Agni - Heavy, bloated, loss of appetite, coated tongue, constipation
High Agni - Indigestion, heartburn, excess hunger, excess thirst
Variable Agni - Swings in elimination (constipation/diarrhea), swings in hunger and thirst
Balance Agni - Normal hunger at meal times, comfortable digestion, regular eliminations.
Take this quiz to determine your Agni.
Why does healthy digestion matter?
Besides the obvious of just feeling good, healthy digestion is the key to health in every system of our body and mind. Ayurveda looks to the root of all disease to start in the gut. If you have any of the below symptoms, your digestion may be involved.
- Poor sleep patterns
- Hormone imbalances
- Emotions and moods
- Skin conditions
- Weight (gain or loss)
- Respiratory issues
- Joint issues
4 Tips and Reminders for Improving Digestion
So, how do we reset our digestion after a season of festive foods and libations?
- Eating fresh whole foods that are cooked. Now is the time to get back to the basics and cook your own meals. Choose fresh Whole Foods, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins that are unprocessed and organic. Sugar laden, processed, or left-over foods will only perpetuate your issues or make them even worse!
- Spices to recover your digestion. Spices are kitchen medicine that can be added to any healthy meal. Common digestive spices are ginger, pepper, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, ajwain, cinnamon, and fennel. Based on your needs, different blends and ratios of each spice can be added to your dishes. Though, if you aren't into mixing and blending your own spices, you can make the selection easy by choosing from the following masala blends. (Use the results from your quiz to select.) I use each of these spice blends regularly throughout the year and find them to be quite delicious!
Sip warm drinks. Sipping warm water or teas can help settle your tummy, and many of the spices we listed above make great teas. But, just like the
masala spice blends, there are a number of teas pre-made to make life easy! I have a few favorites for digestion.
- For Variable or Low Digestion (Vata or Kapha) - Tulsi tea is a great staple for supporting digestion and immunity.
- For High Digestions (Pitta) - Pitta tea keeps things cool in the digestion and emotions.
- For Sugar Cravings (one too many cookies!) - Tripti tea will make sugar a turn off in one cup!
- If coffee is your things, but looking to cut out the caffeine, try Vaidya's cup. Not only is it without caffeine (caffeine can irritate your digestion and nerves), the herbal blend uplifts your mood and strengthens your nerves and colon.
- Get moving! A little bit of exercise after a meal can keep things moving on the inside too. It doesn't take a full blown, sweat-dripping-off-you kind of workout, a gentle walk or yoga stretches will do.
You don't need a New Year's Resolution to get your digestion back on track after the holidays. Having a happy belly and healthy digestion should be a resolution for every day. Thankfully, our digestion can correct and fix itself very quickly, literally changes can be felt within a few meals. All it takes is a few adjustments to your food, spices, drinks, and movement to get things reset.
Check out all my recommended spices, teas, and more at Chandika.com. Enjoy 10% off your first order of retail prices when you use the SAVEME10 code. Also, if you need individual support to solve digestive issues, contact Carol Nace directly at 262-893-1757 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Carol Nace is the Chief Enlightenment Officer of Bodhi Ayurveda, an Ayurvedic Wellness Center in Mequon, WI. At Bodhi Ayurveda, we help individuals find relaxation, rejuvenation, and renewed health using the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda, focusing on bodywork, coaching, and education. Check out our website at www.bodhi-ayurveda.com.