At the basis of optimal health, perfect digestion is the goal. Is it enough to incorporate a healing diet of wholesome foods, or is an additional element required in order to maximize our ability to digest food and use it appropriately?
I pride myself on using wholesome, local organic foods, cooking almost everything from scratch and being mindful of balancing my diet with the season. For as much focus as I offer to the ingredients I choose to nourish my body with, the simple fact is, digestion goes beyond just the “what.” Just as the subtle energies of emotion, mental activity and spirit engage with every aspect of life, our digestion is not exempt.
The goal of perfect digestion is to elimiate the by-product of poor digestion, ama. Ama is the toxic build up as a result of improper digestion which can eventually result in disease. Building up the ojas is a way of opening the energy channels for digestion. Creating balance within the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of yourself contributes to proper digestion, thus building a foundation for overall health.
Most nutritional philosophies are based on advising you what to eat, but leave out a very important component. How many diet plans require you to love yourself and others, and to appreciate the joy of each day? The “what” we eat is as important as the “how” we eat.
Eating healthy plays a tremendous role in benefiting your overall health, but it isn’t everything. Have you ever noticed the way your body digests a meal when you are feeling anxious, sad, angry or hurried? You are likely disconnected from your body and the energies which should be used for digestion are going towards healing your emotional or mental state.
If you’d like to maximize on the benefits of a good diet, take these steps daily:
-Follow your heart
-Laugh from your belly
-Spend time in nature
Pay attention to how you eat your meals. Are you standing up, reading the newspaper, watching TV, engaging in conversation, or simple feeding more than physical hunger? In addition to practicing the steps to optimizing digestion, try eating in silence with full attention on nourishing and awareness of when your body is satisfied and no longer hungry.
The next time you sit down to eat, think about what you’re putting into your body, how it will serve you, and how you are feeling when you eat. By bringing awareness to your eating habits, you will mindfully create better habits. I encourage you to dedicate this week to optimal digestion.
With Love and in regards to your optimal health,
Megan Fleming for Marin Ayurveda