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Agni: Stoke the Fire in your Belly!
So you’re eating a healthy diet, following nutritional advice and instruction on what food to eat but still have a hard time digesting. Maybe you feel drowsy after meals, or you get gas, or your don’t feel quite as energetic as you know you could be. What is that about? How come all the good nutrition you put in your body does not translate into vitality?
Ayurveda has a simple answer: your Agni, you digestive fire, might be burning low. If you think about it, digestion is a mesmerizing and magical process: it takes foods from the outer world, breaks them down, and turn them, well, into you! New cells are constantly being created from the building blocks taken from the foods we eat. So when you have a well-functioning digestive fire, appetite is regular but not excessive, digestion is smooth and elimination regular and the breath is pleasant and the tongue isn’t coated.
Now most of us don’t enjoy such strong fire. Cold drinks, frozen treats, too much processed and heavy foods, inappropriate meal times, too much or too little food are all factors that can bog down our digestive fire. When our Agni is low, we could be eating the highest nutritional content and not really benefit from those foods. So what can we do?
Well there are simple lifestyle habits to adopt that can make a big difference:
- Avoid drinking ice or cold water. Drink room temperature instead. Ask for water without ice at restaurants.
- Wait for signs of real physical hunger before eating. Hunger is a clear sign that your previous meal is digested and your stomach is ready for more. Eating without hunger will produce Ama (toxins) and slow down your digestion
- Drink warm water throughout the day. I keep some in a themos and sip it all day. Plain warm water may sound unappetizing, but it really grows on you. It’s also easy to find when you travel or at work.
There are numbers of other lifestyle tips that can help you Agni. However if you feel that you want to reset your digestion and remove layers of toxins and mucus from your digestive system, nothing beats a good cleanse.
We have experimented with a few and we love Dr John Douillard’s Colorado Clease. This cleanse is thorough, allows you to keep active by providing you easy to digest nutrition (khitchari), effective herbs, complete instructions and daily email support, the works! We do it once or twice a year and cannot recommend enough!
What do you do to keep your digestive fire going?