When two or three different food substances of different taste, energy and post-digestive effect are combined together agni can become overloaded resulting in production of toxins in the system — trouble starts! The order in which we eat different classes of foods, how we combine them, and the amounts we consume will determine how well we digest and assimilate our vital nutrients. The better we digest and assimilate our foods, the less likely we are to form toxic substances, accumulate excess fat, and crave unhealthy foods.
Yet as a society we seem to have missed the vitally important implication of this fact. It is: by consuming many different types of food at a single meal we place a demand on our digestive glands to manufacture and secrete many different digestive enzymes simultaneously.
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For example, eating bananas with milk can diminish digestive fire, change the intestinal flora, produce toxins and cause sinus congestion, cold, cough and allergies. Although both of these foods have a sweet taste, a cooling energy, their post digestion effect is very different — bananas are sour while milk is sweet. This causes confusion in our system and results in serious imbalances.
The principles of ayurvedic food combining come from the ancient writing of the Indian physicians around A. In the olden days, we used to eat only two or three different types of foods at any one meal. These days, we tend to have at least six or seven if not more types of food overtaxing our digestive system.
And, yes, it means that yogurt with fruit would not be considered a healthy breakfast choice by an ayurvedic practitioner! Eat separately.
Avoid eating fruits together with potatoes or other starchy foods. Fructose fruit sugar and other sugars are digested quickly, whereas starch takes quite some time. In this case the sugar would not be properly digested. Avoid eating melons and grains together.
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Melons digest quickly whereas grains take more time. This combination will upset the stomach. Melons should be eaten alone or left alone. However, many brands artificially alkalize water by passing it over metal plates with slight electric charges, which manipulate the ion balance as a shortcut to alkalinity.
Even in healthy diets , there can be a considerable amount of sugar. When you eat sweet foods, the sugar contained therein finds its way into your bloodstream and quite quickly at that. Your body maintains a very delicate balance of sugar levels in the blood; and a sudden influx from eating highly sweetened foods—especially if the sugar therein is refined—causes your blood sugar levels to spike.
In order to get things back under control, your pancreas begins to secrete insulin, which then safely transports the excess sugar out of your bloodstream. This is a normal, healthy process; but like anything in excess, it leads to digestive problems. As mentioned, your pancreas is critical for healthy digestion, releasing a number of vital digestive enzymes to break down foods as they enter the intestines.
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Over stressing it by consistently eating sugary or sweet foods whether or not you are aware of it greatly diminishes its ability to produce enzymes and your digestion suffers. Over the course of weeks, months and years, this can severely affect the ability of the pancreas to function normally and your digestion is weakened as a result. A piece of fruit or two per day, if your digestion is in good working order, is fine and nothing to be concerned about.
However, if you suspect you may have digestive problems, it is best to avoid all sugar or limit your intake to a piece of fruit on occasion until your body gets back into balance. By becoming mindful of your eating habits, you can quickly bring your digestive health back into balance. The simple knowledge I have outlined so far of how digestion operates and digestive problems are formed in a general sense is enough to empower you with the foundational skills you will need to maintain resilient digestive strength for your entire life and correct imbalances as they occur.
Healing your digestion has two main components: diet along with herbs and supplements that can speed the process. Diet alone is enough to repair most digestive problems, but is a more drawn out process on the whole. Those who find restricted diets difficult, for reasons social or otherwise, will appreciate the added boost of powerful herbs, supplements and special medicinal foods that can greatly speed up the healing process , sometimes cutting the time needed to restore digestion in half or less.
Always listen to your body. If whatever you are doing is too intense or uncomfortable, back off and move at a slower pace, giving your body the space it needs to heal at a pace it is comfortable with. Consequently, if you feel like a gung-ho approach is doable and necessary, then by all means give it a try.
Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes two fundamental forces in the universe that apply to everything in life, diet included— Yin and Yang. Keep this in mind as you work to heal your digestive problems. Balance forward momentum with rest, activity with peace. So, apply that wisdom to the healing process as well and keep everything balanced. If your symptoms worsen or you suspect there may be more at play, consult a Naturopathic, Ayurvedic or Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor for guidance. Although the recommendations below are safe for anyone, if in doubt, get it checked out.
The following suggestions, with the exception of eliminating artificial sugars, are only necessary until you get your digestion functioning back at optimal levels. At that point, you can reintroduce foods and see how your body is reacting to them. If you feel fine, then you can include them in your diet in a balanced manner. Whole, gluten-free grains brown or any other colored rice, non-GMO corn, millet, amaranth, quinoa, etc.
It is important here to note that the above mentioned foods are not bad for you by any stretch, especially if they are eaten in a whole, unprocessed form again, with the exception of artificial and refined sugar. In fact, they are all highly nutrient-dense foods that provide many health benefits and should be included as part of a well-rounded diet.
However, if you are suffering from digestive problems, they can be aggravating because of their difficulty to digest. Eliminating them from your diet in the short term will allow you to heal much faster, so you can get back to eating the foods you enjoy once again.
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If unsure, check in with your body and see how it reacts when you eat them. As always, listen to your body. In this case small amounts of berries are usually tolerable. The time needed for your digestion to regain its strength and digestive problems to heal is largely influenced by how closely you follow the suggestions in this article, your individual mindset and life circumstances and how deficient your digestion has become. For someone who is tenacious and committed, great progress can be made in a few weeks.
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For others, it may take a bit longer. Remember you are reversing a pattern that may have been months or years in the making, and so it is important to be patient and give yourself space during the recovery process. That being said, if you follow these suggestions even loosely, you should start to see progress immediately. Ghee, which is simply clarified butter, is the most revered food in Ayurvedic medicine, with an incredible array of remarkable healing properties, not least of which is the ability to rapidly repair digestive problems.
Ghee is a building food, meaning that it is ideal for people recovering from a deficiency due to its deeply nourishing effects on the body.
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According to Ayurveda it restores ojas, loosely translated as vital or foundational energy. In a more scientific sense, ghee heals digestive problems because it is extraordinarily rich in butyric acid, which is used in the treatment of ulcers, IBS, ulcerative colitis and colon cancer, among other things. Butyric acid works by soothing and reducing inflammation in the digestive tract and healing wounds in the mucus lining of the stomach and intestines.
It also balances the hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach, which are frequently disturbed in those with digestive problems. As an added benefit, Ghee is delicious and makes just about everything it comes into contact with taste much richer and more flavorful.
Trikatu is the Sanskrit name for a highly revered Ayurvedic herbal blend of long pepper, black pepper and ginger, all herbs with the remarkable ability to powerfully stimulate digestion—particularly the production of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Significant increases in energy and elimination of digestive problems after the first dose are not uncommon, however, for such a powerful herbal blend it is important to start slow and be aware of how your body reacts. If you have acid reflux it is best to begin with something milder and more soothing like ghee or slippery elm bark until your stomach lining has had a chance to heal.
Ironically enough, most cases of acid reflux are actually caused by a deficiency of hydrochloric acid, but the use of trikatu may be too intense at first. Start with a half tablet with the first bite of every meal and see how your body reacts. Adjust upward as needed by a half tablet every day until you reach a max of 2 tablets with every meal.