Top 10 Ancient Secrets for a Lively Digestive Fire
- Avoid eating in between meals (no snacking; let your huger—and fire—build)
- Sip warm fluids (avoid cold and carbonated drinks; drinking just hot water throughout the day will stoke your digestive fire, improve digestion, and help prevent the accumulation of ama)
- Sit down to eat, chew well, and avoid passive entertainment while you eat (no TV, computer, cell phone, tablets or even reading)
- Make lunch the most important (biggest) meal of the day (eat like a king during the day, and a pauper at night); digestion is strongest at midday; avoid heavy dinners (think brothy soups and light salads)
- Spice it up! Add spices to your meals like fresh ginger, cumin, black pepper, turmeric, and fenugreek. These contain properties that will enhance your digestion and weight loss goals.
- Eat less, live longer. Watch your portions (skip the second or third helping and push away from the table before you reach maximum fullness).
- Eat foods filled with Prana (“life”); no processed, packaged or even reheated/leftover foods. Avoid bad but popular combinations that will weaken your fire: milk with meat, fish, eggs, bananas, yogurt, and sour fruits; eggs with milk, meat, fish, yogurt, cheese, fruits or beans; fresh fruits with any other foods (eat them alone but avoid eating fresh fruit as dessert)
- Respect the 24-hour solar day: Time your meals to maximize your body’s inherent preferences for turning on its digestive fire. The ideal schedule:
Breakfast between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. Don’t eat a lot of food after 9:00 a.m.
Lunch, (largest and most important meal of the day) between noon and 1:00 p.m.
Dinner (which should consist of a light meal) before 7:00 p.m. Avoid ever being wakeful between 10 pm and 2:00 am— Immune Function
- Fast a few times a year, or at least once a season (“detox on the equinox”): four different fasting protocols—from least to most vigorous—entail the following:
- Consuming light, easily digestible foods only, such as khichadi, soupy broths, and warm herbal teas.
- Eating fruits, vegetables, or fresh juices only.
- Avoiding solid foods and drinking water or herbal teas.
- Pursue your passions and live to the fullest of your unique self: Strive to align your goals and values with your talents and passions in a job that supports your livelihood, and allows you to feel appreciated and needed in the world at large. And don’t forget to make room for fun and laugher in whatever job you pursue. The act of laughter itself will make you feel lighter and heighten your sense of awareness. A belly full of laughs is a hot belly indeed.