Tips for Better Digestion | Ayurveda

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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. 

Sachi Doctor

Elemental Alchemy, 90 Rio Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94611

Sachi Doctor is an Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach who founded Elemental Alchemy with the mission to provide a resource for those navigating their way towards optimal mind-body health.

Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at a young age, Sachi has spent over twenty years exploring different health modalities, treatment plans, diets and mindfulness practices to help alleviate chronic pain and restore balance.

After years of looking to others for a model of health with no relief, Sachi realized that the answers she sought were not hidden in someone else’s prescription for wellness but unique to her, and that the first step towards discovery was actually tuning out what was right for others and tuning into herself.

As she tapped into the wisdom of her own body, she discovered that the elements foundational for health  — the blueprint she so fervently sought — was within her, within each of us. Since then Sachi has been passionate about helping others also cultivate clarity and inner wisdom for vibrant health.

In addition to her Ayurvedic and nutrition education, Sachi has completed over 800 hours of yoga teacher training and continues to study with her mother, her first yoga teacher, for whom these practices are a way of life.

Sachi is a board member of the Prison Yoga Project at San Quentin State Prison and serves as an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit that raises funds within the US yoga community to support microcredit programs for women in India. She holds a Msc in Development from the London School of Economics.