What Does Ayurveda Have to Do with Pizza?

January 19, 2015
Barbara Sinclair What Does Ayurveda Have to Do with Pizza?

What Does Ayurveda Have to Do with Pizza? I was watching a segment on CBS This Morning where the subject of childhood obesity and pizza was being discussed.

Because of pizza’s prevalence in the American diet, especially with kids, a recent study was published in the journal Pediatrics which compared caloric intake, fat and sodium, when the pizza was consumed, the age of the child, etc.

Dr. Tara Narula speculated on CBS This Morning that it was perhaps the type of unhealthy pizza that kids were eating that contributed to their weight gain (processed grains, stuffed crust, extra cheese, etc.) No doubt there is truth in this.

And then Charlie Rose commented,

“There was also a recent study that suggested when you eat is as important as what you eat.”

Bingo! Here’s where Ayurveda comes in (I’ll get to that in a moment.)

Dr. Narula responded with another study that was done with mice (always the poor mice) that showed a variance in weight gain depending on the time frame in which they were allowed to eat. Some mice could eat whenever they wanted (they gained the most) and others were restricted to a specific time frame.

She could only speculate, however, the reason why this happened, “We think it may have something to do with genes being turned on during the time when you’re not eating.”

Huh???

I wanted to call them up and say “Ayurveda has the answer!”

This is ancient and important wisdom. We’ve all heard the old adage,

“Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch (called dinner in many cultures) like a king, and supper (we say dinner!) like a pauper.”

In the morning when we wake up, our digestive fire is still weak

Hence, eat breakfast like a queen (not too much, but enough to get you through until lunch). We “break-fast” because we haven’t eaten anything all night, but not with a lot of food, which will overload the body.

10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. is the Pitta (fire) time of day. It is when our digestive fire is strongest

Therefore we stand the best chance of digesting and metabolizing our meal. Lunch/dinner like a king! Noon – 1:00 p.m. is optimal.

Eating supper like a pauper means a light evening meal

Enjoy your meals preferably between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m, just enough to get us through until morning. A large supper will overtax the body, forcing it to digest a heavy meal and hinder its ability to heal, rejuvenate and burn excess fat.

The moral of this story is that pizza (or any other unhealthy food vice) eaten at a noon meal will stand a much better chance of being properly digested than one that’s eaten in the evening. Keep this in mind and your body will thank you.

I know all about pizza. I love it! Years ago on my way to work, I would stop at Raimo’s Pizza down the block from my NYC apartment. I’m guessing this happened four or five times a week (I’m not kidding). I would get the first slice out of their brick oven at 10:00 a.m. when they opened. I was devastated when their landlord raised their rent and they had to close. The store stood empty for years, taunting me. I felt like my dealer had left town.

Do I eat pizza four or five times a week now? Hell, no! But because I needed a picture of some pizza for this article, I went to get a slice for my lunch, which I ate at noon. 🙂 With a healthy salad. 🙂 Jersey City is a dangerous place for pizza-lovers. There’s pie on nearly every corner. Yum.

Much love,
Barbara

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14 Comments

  1. Darby Ryon

    Great point! Our culture is in the habit of ordering the late night pizza….or having a big pizza party for the kids in the evening. Maybe we need to start thinking about having our pizza parties earlier in the day?! Luckily, I have not yet tried the Chicago pizza since I moved here 6 months ago. That could create a problem on these cold, windy days when you want to just sit inside and watch a movie…and eat a slice! Thanks for the info!

    • May the force be with you, Darby! Pizza is definitely a winter/hibernation temptation! 🙂

  2. Ha ha! Way to write a catchy title, Barbara! To me childhood obesity is as much about lack of physical activity as about food, and the big problem with food is too many sweets and too MUCH food. Kids are eating SNACKS like a king, let alone meals! Another sin I see with eating too much late at night is that it interferes with healthy sleep, then you “need” caffeine-laden often sugary drinks in the morning to stay awake.

    Hope you enjoyed your lunch! Great article, as usual. See you soon, my friend.

    • Amen, Nancy! Lots of different reasons, for sure, and you’ve named some important ones. Thanks for leaving a comment! 🙂

  3. Misty Stam

    Great article, Barbara! I have to admit I was hesitant to read it for fear that guilt would kill me! We eat pizza once a week and my kids love it. Glad to hear we’ll be okay with fresh ingredients and eating it at a sensible time. Hugs!

    • Thanks, Misty! Hey, a world without pizza? I don’t think so! xoxo

  4. Cathy Duncan

    Great article and great insight. Like Misty, my kids wouldn’t be to happy if I took pizza off the table for weekend fun. We don’t really indulge in pizza that often but we do indulge in may other varieties of salty, sweet, fat laden treats!!! I will just have to remind them to indulge before 5….

    • Thanks, Cathy! It really does make a huge difference – when AND how (slowly) you eat. Big Ayurveda principle. 🙂

  5. Sheila K

    Barbara, love to read your blogs, this one bought a smile

  6. Mary

    Barbara, When I visit Rachel in Madrid they have their ‘lunch’ (dinner at the noon hour) and dinner (supper) later in the day. They are on to the Ayurveda principle and it makes complete sense. Sleep is even better when there is not a lot of food to digest. Glad we can still indulge in pizza as long as it is at the right time of day! As always, I loved reading your post! xoxo

    • Hi Mary, I know – lots of Europeans do this – makes so much sense! I feel so much better eating this way. Thanks for weighing in. xoxo

  7. Naomi

    Another great article with helpful, and yes, very true advice. I saw this firsthand when I spent the summer with my uncle and aunt in Venezuela when I was 15 and on my travels through southern Europe and Israel in my early 20’s. My body felt so terrific on that schedule: dinner mid-day followed by rest or a nap and then a light supper in the evening. The US lifestyle makes it so difficult to adopt it here. And sadly, the American practice is spreading around to other parts of the world.

    As for pizza, delicious, but like anything else, all in moderation. What a cute pizza shop, by the way.

    • Thanks for your input, Naomi! And yes, everything in moderation. I don’t eat pizza often anymore, but when I do, I make sure I enjoy it thoroughly. 🙂

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