Multi-tasking has become the norm in our world today and this has unfortunately spilt over to our eating habits as well. Most of us tend to eat without much thought while occupied with other activities, such as scrolling through social media or watching videos..Sometimes these activities affect our mood causing us to eat quickly or binge eat which all have an adverse impact on our digestive system. Eating mindfully changes our relationship with food and eating, and is said to provide immense benefits towards digesting properly and our overall health.
Holistic healing in Ayurveda
Ayurveda which is an ancient life science teaches that wellness and health are achieved through maintaining balance between the mind body and soul, which is the basis for holistic healing. People are encouraged to recognise and respect the connection between these elements and how nourishing them equally with wellness-based lifestyle choices helps a person enjoy better health.
Ayurveda and mindful eating – What does it mean?
A healthy digestion process is important to maintain the digestive fire or ‘agni’ according to ayurveda. Mindful eating practices strengthen the agni for good digestion. This helps remove toxins and waste from the digestive system. Ayurveda encourages seasonal eating along with mindful eating to help the digestive enzymes, which are proteins made in your body to break down food. Digestion sources the nutrients from the food combinations you eat to provide your body with energy to perform vital functions.
Mindful eating goes beyond simply what you eat. It is about eating with intent and appreciation. It is about engaging your mind while eating, chewing your food consciously, eating slowly and thoroughly enjoying your food so that you feel content and satiated. Ayurveda encourages eating foods that are in season to avoid or reduce the consumption of preservatives and to give your body the benefit of fresh nutrients.
In Ayurveda, digesting properly is a key component in being healthy because it keeps the digestive fire healthy. That is why an ayurvedic diet consists of six tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent – each with a different effect on the body and mind. An ayurvedic practitioner would guide you regarding the best taste ratio for you based on your body type – namely if whether you have a vata, pitta or kapha body constitution.
Role of diet in holistic healing
Mindful eating is where you sit down to eat and connect mentally with the process of eating and the food you are about to consume. It helps you be aware of what you are eating so that you appreciate each mouthful which helps you feel satiated with less food. When all the taste requirements are catered to it helps reduce cravings as well. Based on your dosha type you will be recommended certain foods that will nourish your body type and nervous system better, for overall good health.
How do you incorporate mindful eating into your diet?
Being mindful when eating promotes better digestion. There are a few steps to take that can help promote mindful eating.
First acknowledge and be aware that you going to consume food. Take care with the food you decide to eat for your meal and value it. Be thoughtful of how it will nourish your mind, body and soul. Pay attention to the preparation and/or the plating.
Try and avoid distractions when eating, such as scrolling through your phone or watching television. Instead focus on the food, the texture and taste and appreciate each mouthful and the goodness the food brings your body.
It may seem difficult initially but with time the habit of being present and mindful when eating will develop and become the natural way to appreciate your meals.
Mindful eating vs food choices
Ayurveda advises mindful eating along with eating a diet that is suitable for your body type. This is where food choices play an important role. We each have an individual body composition with one of the dosha or life energies being in dominance. This governs us and to maintain health and wellness we have to ensure the correct dosha balance is maintained.
Based on this, there are certain food types that suit the different body types better, depending on the dominant dosha. Ayurveda encourages seasonal eating because it allows you to add fresh and organic produce to your diet and reduce preservatives. Legumes, nuts, seeds and ayurvedic herbs and spices are also encouraged to help maintain balance and to satisfy your taste buds.
Vata dosha types benefit from moist, warm, hearty and grounding foods. It is better if they avoid or reduce their intake of raw vegetables, dried fruits and bitter herbs. Pitta types should focus on cooling and energising foods with plenty of nuts and seeds and avoid overly spicy food. Kapha types should eat as many vegetables as they can with a focus on beans, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and leafy greens. Legumes are also good, but they would do best to avoid heavy foods prepared with oil. Nuts and seeds should also be limited.
Maintaining a healthy digestive fire is important in holistic healing which is why Ayurveda encourages mindful eating. Paying attention at meal times helps you feel full on a smaller quantity of food and avoid the dangers of overeating or snacking. Find out more about mindful eating and how it can help you achieve better health and start your mindful eating journey today.