We think of our digestion in terms of what we eat, but what you put in your body is only half the story. The mindfulness of eating - how we eat - is actually more important than what we eat. Changing the way we approach food affects gas, bloating and indigestion. Essentially, the how is what matters.
Tips for great digestion:
1. Eat only when you're hungry. The problem with eating when you're not hungry is that it leaves you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Ayurveda show us that only when the stomach is truly empty are digestive enzymes strong enough to thoroughly break down your food. Here, it is important to differentiate between eating out of necessity and eating out of habit. As a rule of thumb, take three to four hours between meals (the time it takes to fully absorb your food) and see if you feel a difference in how you feel overall.
2. Eat in a calm, seated environment—at a moderate pace. This is a hard one as many of us are lucky if we can suck down a green juice while racing to catch up, but taking just a few minutes more has huge digestive benefits. When we actually sit down to eat, we can focus on the amount of food we are putting into our bellies and on chewing it thoroughly. As for walking and eating? People will only chew a couple of bites before swallowing, which causes the belly to do more work than the teeth.
3. Take in the smells, tastes, and textures of your meal. Paying attention to the sensory details of your food matters. If you're not actively smelling and appreciating the food you're eating, your body won't either. When you take time to soak in the smells, textures, and tastes, your stomach feels fuller after a meal, and you'll spend the rest of the day a whole lot more satisfied.
4. Eat freshly-cooked foods. If your food isn't fresh, you won't feel so fresh after eating it, according to Ayurveda. That's because it's lost its prana ("life force" in Sanskrit), which can leave you feeling tired and sluggish. So skip the heat-and-serve frozen stuff and spend a few extra minutes whipping up something new instead.