Holiday Eating Survival Guide

Ayurveda teaches us that our Agni (metabolism, or digestion) is everything, and that one who has perfect Agni will have perfect health.  We celebrate the holidays with family and friends with elaborate meals and parties.  This year, instead of bringing in the new year with extra pounds and guilt from over indulgence, remember the teachings of Ayurveda with these very simple tips and practices.  Make your Agni bulletproof.  Before your holiday party or dinner, keep these simple things in mind:

  • During the day before a large meal or holiday party, Kapha types can fast.  Vata and Pitta types should take simple foods like kitcharee or rice with steamed vegetables and ghee.
  • Sip warm water throughout the day to kindle the digestive fire in preparation.
  • Avoid the snack table. Instead of munching on hors d’oeuvres and cheese and crackers, opt for a full meal.  Th
    is may seem counter intuitive, but nibbling bombards digestion and doesn’t leave room for the fire to burn.  Make a full plate.  Eat it. Then mingle!
  • 30 minutes before you eat, drink 8 ounces of water.  Eat your MEAL (not snacks). Wait a full hour before taking more liquids or water. Again, we are trying to kindle the fire so that digestion can happen.  Excessive liquids taken after a meal will extinguish the fire.
  • Avoid iced or carbonated drinks.  Opt instead for a glass of wine.
  • This one might be over ambitious, but give it a try: exercise or do yoga in the morning! There’s no better way to kindle Agni.
  • If you’re the cook, be sure to use plenty of metabolism kindling spices like cumin, coriander, fennel and ginger. Avoid snacking while cooking.
  • I decided to save the best news for last. Eat your sweets first. Salad last. It’s the nature of the chemical digestion process. Think of a fire. If we throw kindling on it (lettuce, or a salad), it will flicker and soon die. If we put a nice log on the fire, it will burn for hours and hours.

Oh, and have fun. May you be present and full of grace during the holiday season and always!

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