Healthy Eating Habits

Following the Healthy Eating Habits ensures the enjoyment of food not only during, but also after eating. How you eat your food is even more important than what you eat. Eating is one of the most essential (and enjoyable) experiences in our lives.

Eating healthy foods that taste good is important, but the other senses -sight, hearing, touch and smell-also need to be satisfied, in order to make your body happy. If you eat your food properly, with awareness and respect, your body will digest the food well. If you do not, your body has difficulty digesting it and this food causes gas and other digestive disturbances. The end result of poor digestion is ama (toxins) and this leads to disease.

Even food that normally causes greater imbalance will be digested reasonably well if these healthy eating habits are followed. Likewise, if you eat the healthy foods in the wrong way, your digestion will be compromised and gas, indigestion, and the formation of ama will follow. Hence, in Ayurveda we try our best to make eating a form of meditation - eating in peacefulness and with awareness.

If you follow these healthy eating habits and choose healthy foods for your dosha , your digestion will be maximized and you will experience optimal health benefits.

The Nine Major Healthy Eating Habits

1. Make eating a sacred ritual. Begin meals with a grace or by simply taking 3-5 slow breaths with the eyes closed. This prepares the body to receive the food.

2. Try to eat food prepared with love as often as possible. The energy of the cook is always in the food. Avoid eating food prepared with resentment. We eat not only the food but the emotions of the chef.

3. Eat in a calm environment where there is little distraction. It is best to avoid having the television or radio on. Avoid excessive conversation and all conversation about emotionally intense issues. Avoid reading.

4. Chew your food till it is of an even consistency. This requires that your attention be on the food in your mouth. There is no magic number of times to chew food. Chewing properly improves digestion and absorption of the food.

5. Eat at a moderate pace and until you are 3/4 full. Overeating is one of the major causes of disease in our society. When you eat too much, digestion becomes difficult. When you finish eating, you should not feel heavy and you should not feel hungry. You want to feel satisfied. This is what is meant by 75% full.

6. Drink only a little bit of liquid with meals. One half cup of room temperature water is average. Dry meals may require more and moist meals, like soup, require none at all. Take all water and drinks at room temperature or warm. Cold drinks destroy the digestive fire and decrease digestion. This is true not only at mealtime, but all day long.

7. Wait 15-20 minutes for the food to digest. Following your meal, take the moment to let the food digest before going on to the next activity. During this time, engage in light conversation or read a light book. You can also go for a slow walk. If you are rushed, take at least 3-5 slow breaths to close the door on this sacred experience.

8. Allow 3 hours between meals for your food to digest. For most people this means 3-5 meals per day.

9. Eat your largest meal at lunch and the smallest in the evening. Digestion is strongest around noon when the sun is at its peak. The body’s rhythms mirror those of the universe. Breakfast is very important and should NEVER be skipped. If you are very hungry, eat a larger meal also for breakfast. If you are not too hungry, drink a ginger tea to stimulate your appetite and at least a small breakfast (a piece of fruit is a good choice).

Enjoy your meals with these simple Healthy Eating Habits!

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