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  • Digestive Health, Ayurveda, and YOU

    Digestive Health, Ayurveda, and YOU

    When you start diving into Ayurveda, you’ll see that it ALWAYS teaches… digestion is the root of your vitality.

    Digestive Health and The Ayurveda Connection

    Here’s how it works:

    When the colon (i.e. your large intestine) gets backed up with any kind of congestion, dryness, or inflammation, so do your lungs. They’re sister organs and they work together intimately.

    When either one is stuck, symptoms like colds, coughs, sinus infections, earaches, constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and belching result.

    Similarly, when the liver becomes stagnant (due to overeating processed foods, cooked oils, alcohol, or negative external stimulation), so does your digestive system. Symptoms like allergies, inflammation, weight gain, indigestion, pain, irritation, and mysterious issues flare.

    You might wonder, “why does this happen?”

    The reason is inside the science of digestion. When Kapha is in excess, as it is for most everyone in the winter and spring, heaviness is an issue. Metabolism slows down and your digestion can feel full, sluggish, thick, and slow.

    When your digestion is that off, (Houston) you’ve got a problem.

    Your body can’t let go and the result is a backup of ama (Ayurveda’s word for excess, accumulation, toxicity, and waste). Sometimes that sludge will back up so far back that it affects your breath!

    When your elimination isn’t on the move, your body becomes toxic. Your large intestine’s primary job is to reabsorb water from your stool. If stool can’t leave your body, toxins can’t either.

    This particular dilemma puts a lot of stress on your lymphatic system (i.e. your immunity). Now your entire body has to struggle to fight pathogens, bacteria, microbes, viruses, and infections.

    How does Ayurveda help improve digestion?

    Digestive health and Ayurveda are connected.  Ayurveda can improve your digestion because it looks at YOU – your body type, your symptoms, and the nourishment that will help YOU feel balanced. When your body gets what it needs digestively, you feel pretty awesome!

    There are several things you can do to get started with improving your digestion through Ayurveda. One of them is seasonal cleansingCleansing foods are foods that promote optimal nutrient absorption, assimilation and elimination. That’s why I teach my RAD Cleanse program every season of the year.

    Ayurveda makes it simple to understand how the digestive system works by teaching us about Ama and Agni and how digestive health and Ayurveda are connected. (Watch my youtube on Ama & Agni HERE)

    Ama refers to all toxic waste buildup in the body. Anything that’s not digested or completely broken down in the body, including undigested food, is ama.

    Ama is a term that refers to natural waste products, like feces and mucous. It’s what gets stored in the body as opposed to eliminated. High ama is most often a result of weak digestive fire, malabsorption or poor metabolism.

    “If water and blood are the sweet nectars of the body, ama is the rotten sludge.” – Dr. Tom Yarema

    When you have a lot of ama, it’ll show up as a coating on the surface of your tongue. Or, you’ll notice it by way of congestion, inflammation, bloating, and fatigue after meals.

    The colon’s job is to excrete what the body couldn’t break down or wasn’t able to absorb. The colon is permeable. Toxins can seep into your blood and make you feel sick. Your body can become toxic if anything undigested sits for too long.

    Toxins circulate through the blood over time. They travel to organs and tissues where they then become sludge, dried, trapped, and/or inflamed.

    Excess ama is stage one in the primary stages of all disease.

    Here’s a list of symptoms that show you probably have excess ama:

    • indigestion
    • allergies
    • chronic headaches
    • recurring colds and flu
    • depression
    • yeast and fungus-related issues
    • food intolerance
    • acne
    • random aches and pains
    • skin disorders                                                                                              

    Now, let me say that build up of ama over time is normal and natural – even if you eat a pretty healthy diet.

    Environmental toxins, emotional toxicity, and other factors play a part. However, it’s good to know which aspects of food and diet impact ama the most.

    Here’s a partial list of factors that influence ama accumulation:

    • over-eating
    • under-eating
    • eating cooked oils (like cooked olive oil)
    • eating rancid fats (like cooked olive oil)
    • eating pasteurized dairy, sugar, and processed foods
    • drinking coffee every day
    • eating lots of flour-based foods, table salt, and bread
    • poor food combining
    • rushing through meals
    • eating foods that don’t compliment your body type
    • drinking iced drinks
    • eating too much meat and protein
    • eating overcooked meats
    • eating too many desserts
    • not listening to your body
    • emotional eating
    • big heavy dinners
    • greasy foods
    • low-fat diets
    • rapid weight loss
    • drugs
    • fluoride
    • disrupted sleep
    • too much TV
    • emotional stress
    • mercury fillings

    The list above is especially prevalent if your agni (digestive fire) is cold, slow, or weak. When that’s the case, you may be more susceptible to infections and congestion.

    Undigested food particles can permeate the intestinal wall, enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation.

    High ama indicates that you have high levels of acidity or blood toxicity. Acidity causes the body to lose its vitality. This can be dangerous.

    Because an acidic gut is the type of environment bacteria loves – and where most diseases take root.

    Agni is your digestive fire.

    The digestive system is a fire-based system – it transforms matter into energy. Agni symbolizes the power of your digestive metabolism. When it’s strong, food digests well and you feel great.

    When Agni is weak, dry, cold or congested, toxins build up in the organs and tissues. You feel heavy, sluggish and slack.

    The concept of ama and agni doesn’t have a direct equal in allopathic medicine. Most who suffer from poor digestion and compromised metabolism feel heavy, sick, and low energy.

    But after they cleanse? And start paying attention to nourishing their unique nature according to Ayurveda? Now that’s a whole new story!

    It’s simple – we’re going to avoid accumulating ama by being mindful about our food and our approach to eating.

    The Ayurvedic Way to Eating Healthy

    You can start right now!

    • Purge all processed foods from your cupboards and your fridge. When they’re not in your house, you’re less likely to eat them
    • Select organic fruits, grains, and vegetables when you shop
    • Seek alternative remedies rather than over-the-counter, pharmaceutical medicine (stick with me – I’ll show you how!)
    • Only choose organic, grass-fed, local meat and dairy
    • Refuse to buy food that’s hormone injected, chemically altered or genetically modified. GMO’s are in most corn, soy, wheat, white and brown potatoes, canola oil and tomatoes
    • Make vegetables the main attraction of your meal – aim for twice a day or more
    • Sip on hot or warm water throughout the day
    • Eat only when you’re hungry – if you’re not sure, have some hot or warm water first and see what your body tells you.

    As you can see, digestive health and Ayurveda are intimately connected! What you eat – and even more importantly, what you digest – matters. Ayurveda can help guide you to eat healthy, delicious, nourishing food that makes your body sing. And, improve your digestion which boosts your overall health.

    Love this kind of education? Join my free Facebook group for more Ayurvedic tips, information and an awesome community of Ayurvedic enthusiasts!