#10: "To eat is human, to digest, divine"

-Mark Twain. Smart fellah.

I first heard the titled quote this week while running and listening to Ayurvedic Wellness: the Art & Science of Vibrant Health by Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar. And it resonated with me.

Ayurveda talks about digestion as deriving nutrients from our not only our food, but also ourScreenshot_2016-03-01-20-51-11.png surroundings and experiences. It is said that we cannot actually derive nutrients from our food if our bodies are not in a state of preparedness and to achieve this. A state of preparedness is one of calm, appreciation, and awareness of the fuel that we are about to provide our bodies, minds, and lives.

I'm listening to this guy talk and I'm thinking, yeah yeah, that sounds magical but I don't have time to sit and "relaxedly" eat my food. I'm trying to work 12 hrs a day, commute for 2 hrs, train for a marathon, keep up with an online class, a community project, AND get to bed by 9pm. I've got to eat man, so I will do some simultaneous operations (aka multitasking, my forte).

Even with all of these reasons running around in my head why this won't fit my lifestyle, I am still listening to it and feeling like I am missing out on a relationship with my food and my body that is really special #FOMO. He talks about a place of calm while eating, when your digestive juices are primed and ready to fully absorb the nutrients that you are providing it, a place where you are truly enjoying the flavors, tasting the nourishment that you are giving your body, satisfied, and craving-less.

I want to have a space of calm, I want to truly appreciate the food that I am eating, I know that I want ALL of the nutrients and less cravings wouldn't be so bad either. So how can we get to this place?

Eating 3 meals a day at relatively the same time

  • Hold the phone. I'm a snacker. Why only eat 3 meals a day? According to Ayurveda, eating 3 meals a day at relatively the same time gets your body into a routine and digestion will be fully primed to kick in. Additionally, eating only 3 meals a day ensures that the meal's nutrients are fully absorbed. He compares this to a overfilling a dryer, an experience to which we can all relate, the dryer does not work as well. Touche Suhas, touche.
  • For the past 3 days I have been mostly adhering to 3 meals a day, only having a date or two before my run and I have to say, it does feel pretty good! Will continue to test this theory to the best of my abilities.
  • Finding a calm place in both your environment and body

    • Do what it takes to find it. Take a few moments of deep breaths, some stretches, a change of location, clearing your table or desk, etc. Make sure that you mind is engaged with the meal that you are about to enjoy. This is a time to stop the hurry. Your body will thank you. Mine certainly has! Associating mealtime in the middle of a busy day with relaxation and calm feels totally recharging AND I have found that I am enjoying what I have made significantly more (even if it is average at best).


    Being thankful for what you are about it ingest. 

  • Lots of people had a hand in what you are about to consume. When the food is alive (God made, not manmade) and not something fried to oblivion or fresh out of a shiny wrapper, you are providing your body with superb nutrients. This is like the Grand Maester of nourishment, it should be treated as such!
  • Chewing each bite. No really, CHEW each bite.

  • Chew it to oblivion! This is part of the digestion process and actually alerts us of satiety. Gobbling leads to overconsumption because our salivary glands (more closely connected to our brains than our stomach) have not given our brain the signal that we are full because the food hasn't spent much time in our mouths. It's already in our stomach, which is confused.
  • Afterwards, give yourself time to sit, digest, appreciate, and extract.IMG_20160128_045011744_HDR.jpg

    • Again, this seems like a luxury. But really it is a special time to see how your body is feeling post-meal. Satisfied? Overly full? Still a bit hungry? Sleepy? Energized? Craving? Noticing how you are affected by a meal is something that could really change the way that you eat, what you want to eat, and how you will eat for the rest of the day.


    Conclusion below this delicious montage of food

    While I have to admit that I haven't gotten any of this perfect, I already feel myself shifting towards healthier, more relaxed, and more appreciative eating habits. For instance, I am aware when I approach mealtime what my brain and body are feeling. I have noticed that a lot of the time I am feeling anxiety, not very intense, but a dull anxiety like I need to eat so that I can shower, do work, catch up with friends/family, etc.

    I also notice myself CHEWING more. Really helping out my digestive system. Not only that, I am putting my fork down. I am chewing and noticing all of the flavors and noticing what is going on around me.

    I am really loving this Ayurvedic approach to eating. While I find that a lot of it cannot fit my current lifestyle to a tee, I am making the time and effort to implement as many of them as I can. I can feel this taking my love of food, health, and wellness to a whole new level and I am excited for the journey!

    Inspired to join me? I hope so!