Updated: Jan 25
Welcoming the new year with hope, and positivity is so crucial for all of us, considering how stressful the pandemic year was. However negative the last year seemed, it made us realize the role of nutrition and fitness in our lives, and taught us the necessity to maintain our bodies and build their immunity as high as possible. And all that and much more will happen only if we can cure or correct the diseases that relate to the stomach. 96% of all diseases originate because of undigested food or a weak digestion system, and that results in common conditions like acidity, gas, bloating, indigestion, and constipation.
So follow me through and listen to these 10 special smart eating hacks that worked wonders for me, because as we all know, we are not what we eat, but what we digest.
1. Count your bite- Digestion begins in the mouth, and not in the stomach as many of us believe it to be. The enzymes secreted by the mouth, in the form of saliva, helps to break down carbohydrates. Chewing food also helps the stomach assess the kind of protein that is coming into the stomach, and prepare for it by secreting those enzymes. But when we gulp down our food, we neither help the carbohydrate to break down, causing an overload on our stomachs nor do we wait for the stomach to release its digestive juices. Count your bite and reduce your weight, is a new mantra I follow now. I bite, chew my food till it turns liquid, and then swallow it down. And the best side effect of it is, I get to relish the taste of the food even more. 😊
2. Mindful eating- This one is a huge one, and something that I am struggling with too, honestly. The one thing that I hear many talking about is the ability to focus on the food completely during meals times and not combine television watching or social media scrolling. In fact, Ayurveda has even gone to an extreme by saying your mealtime should be a sacred routine that requires your full attention, and this time should be a me-time where you don't even talk to anyone around. However in today’s world what we could do is, be curious about our food on our plate, let the aromas sink in, feel the texture of the food, and hence be conscious of what you are eating, and eventually you will achieve mindful eating.
3. Don’t argue at the dinner table: Having your meals in a pleasant and positive environment is so important for the body because your state of mind is directly linked to the functioning of your digestive system. In fact, cook meals with a positive note and not with a grumpy face. Our negative emotions are so powerful that it can affect the food we cook, and in turn, pass the energy to those who eat it. And yet another tip, before beginning your meals, sit for 2 minutes, express gratitude for the food, and offer a prayer. This will help you calm your mind, be positive, and enjoy your dining experience.
4. Include all the 6 tastes in your meal: Do you always feel the need to indulge in a dessert at the end of a meal? Well, don’t beat yourself for experiencing that craving, because according to Ayurveda, our body considers a satisfying meal only if all the 6 tastes are completed. Try to complete and balance your meals by considering food from various food groups and with all the 6 tastes incorporated in it: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent and astringent. You can do this by having a piece of jaggery at the end of the meal, or having ghee and jaggery to your last roti, or even ending your meals with buttermilk. These will satiate you and help you from reaching out to midday snacking later on in the day.
5. Ginger and rock salt trick: If you are experiencing weak digestion, try munching on a small strip of ginger marinated with rock sal prior to your meals. Ginger improves your digestion and initiates the saliva enzymes that are essential for digestion.
6. Eat your salads prior to your meal: This smart trick actually helped me during a party. It was as simple as having at least a plate full of salad as my first course, which was then followed by the other non-veg course meal. But to my surprise, I did not face any gastric discomfort the next day or that evening, simply because my body got the required roughage for a smooth bowel movement, and of course, this helped me reduce my non-veg portion sizes. This is a good trick that you can use while being invited to a party where the food looks delicious and you are not in a mood to compromise on taste.
7. Drinking water between or right after meals: Sipping on water right after having a meal, dampens the digestive fire and thus reduces your body’s ability to digest the food. Strictly avoid it, wait for about 30 minutes after your meal and then sip on little water.
8. Have your last meal by sunset: Sticking to routine meal timing is very important for our bodies. And finishing your last meal of the day by sunset is another tip that worked wonders for me. rRight after I reached home from the office, I go to my kitchen and prepare dinner and try to eat it as early as I can. So that by the time I got to bed, I have given my stomach atleast 2 hours for digestion. Ayurveda also tells us that our digestive fire dampens after sunset, reducing the digestion ability to a large extent.
9. Reduce fast food cravings: The fast food industry is making our stomachs weaker and very ineffective to digest our food. The refined flours present in the foods, additives, and preservatives present in the packaged meals, do not get broken down, in fact, they stick to the intestine and reduce the ability of your intestine to absorb actual nutrients from your food. Fast foods are stale foods as well, they are prepared years in advance, packed in bottles, or kept in freezers. Eating fresh food is important if we want it to be easily digested and assimilated. Reduce your intake of junk foods and cook the same tasty foods using whole ingredients and at your homes.
10. Exercise and reduce stress: And the last but not the least hack that has always helped me is a daily dose of at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Exercise reduces stress, thus improving the ability of our digestive system. Exercise facilitates the movement of blood to every part of the body, thereby helping the assimilated nutrients reach the organs that are required. So make exercise a daily habit just like how brushing and eating have become. There are many yogic asanas that can be done to improve blood flow to the digestive organs thus strengthening the health of your digestive system.
So let the new year of 2021 be a year when we take charge of our fitness, indulge in the right kinds of food, and help our digestion perform optimally so that it rewards us with a high energy level, longevity, and a blissful state of mind. Happy new year to everyone, cheers to a better year cheers to a better lifestyle, and cheers to a stronger digestive system for all of us. Namaste. I will leave a few Youtube links for you to watch. Hope they inspire you, as much as they did to me!