Even the healthiest among us knows the pain and regret from overindulging on Thanksgiving. We suddenly throw caution to the wind and begin eating all of the comfort foods from our past. And then the reality of what we’ve asked our body to do sets in.
Ayurveda is really big on digestion. Roughly 60% of our daily energy goes towards digestion. And every Ayurvedic practitioner will ask you about your digestion, no matter what your health concern is. It all starts in our gut.
Most of us today have compromised digestive systems. More and more people keep eliminating foods from their menu that they really should be able to digest. Their digestive fire (agni) is just not burning properly.
Today all I want to do is give you a few simple tips to help you feel your best on Thursday.
- Try to plan your celebratory meal between noon and 1:00 p.m. Our digestive fire (ruled by Pitta) is highest between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. So eating your Thanksgiving meal at this time will give your body the best chance at digesting it. By the way, this should always be when your biggest meal takes place. Have a lighter, smaller dinner later, around 6:00 p.m.
- Avoid eating lots of appetizers. Let your hunger build for the main meal.
- 1/2 an hour before your meal (NOT during or right before) drink one of the following: a warm cup of ginger tea, a glass of warm freshly squeezed lemon water, a glass of warm water with lime juice and a pinch of salt, or a glass of warm water with a pinch of black pepper. These are all simple options and readily available. Doing this will both help activate your digestive juices and hydrate the stomach lining so the body can produce enough hydrochloric acid necessary for digestion.
- Avoid drinking liquids with your meal, especially cold ones. A small amount of hot tea or water is okay. Remember, you’re trying to keep your agni (fire) stoked so don’t throw cold water on it!
- Try to relax during the meal, eating consciously - truly. Ayurveda teaches that good digestion is dependent on how we eat just as much as on what we eat.
- Lying down on your left side for 5-15 minutes after a meal can help quite a bit (unless you have heartburn, in which case you should remain upright). You might have to fight your relatives for the sofa!
- Go for a leisurely walk around the block to get some fresh air and de-stress.
- After the meal, ginger tea can help with stomach upset. Peppermint is also a good choice. Fennel can help with gas and bloating. Make a tea with it or simply chew the seeds. There are a myriad of other digestive teas you can buy. For heartburn, drink some coconut water or aloe gel/juice.
I hope some of these tips will make your Thanksgiving a little more comfortable so that you can truly enjoy the day.
I want to tell all of you how grateful I am that you take the time to read my posts, leave your wonderful comments and share the information with others. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!