My Ayurveda teacher, Dr. Lad often reminds us to take care of the small problems when they arise. You know those little annoying problems that don’t go away: minor digestive issues, intermittent sleep disturbance, hemorrhoids, low energy….The idea is simple: small problems left untreated turn into bigger problems. We get used to the problem, learn to cope with it but never actually resolve it, and next thing you know we’re dealing with a major health issue.
A friend of mine recently landed in the hospital after a recurring tooth infection became systemic and began affecting her heart. My friend lives a holistic lifestyle and is pretty tuned into her body. Still, she had this tooth infection that would periodically arise, but after gargling and cleaning carefully around the toot, it would get better and she’d forget about it. Thing is, it kept coming back. She was calming it, but not resolving it, and eventually landed in the hospital. She finally had the tooth removed, but by that time, because the infection had spread, she had to go on a massive dose of antibiotics, which the doctors weren’t sure would take care of the infection it was so bad. Fortunately for my friend, the first round of super antibiotics worked, and she is recovering well.
Chronic Bodily Issues that don’t resolve on their own are the body’s call for help.
What nagging issues are you living with?
Ayurveda is an especially useful framework for understanding these early stages of imbalance. Healing minor digestive issues and strengthening digestion is especially important since the health and balance of the digestive system is crucial to the health of the rest of the bodily tissues including the immune system.
When I work with clients and ask about digestion, most people report that their digestion is “fine;” however when we start to work on bringing in some of the principles of healthy eating and tweak the diet a bit, everyone reports feeling an improvement with digestion and elimination. Sometimes, like my friend, we are habituated to small annoyances so that we take managing or living with them as normal.
If you’re struggling with ongoing digestive issues like gas, bloating, constipation, acidity and excess weight, send me an email: Shannon@livingintobalance.com. Let’s set up a time to talk about what’s going on, what you’ve tried so far to that hasn’t worked, and create a plan to get you back on track.
Ayurveda categorizes digestive imbalance in three ways.
Sometimes people recognize a combination of these types in their digestive imbalance: for example one might have sharp digestion, but variable elimination. Or a more variable appetite but with loose stools (sharp elimination).
(Click the Titles below to link to a printable PDF to post at home).
Symptoms: Variable Appetite (may skip meals), Gas, Bloating and Constipation:
SELF-CARE for variable digestion pattern:
- Eat two or three meals a day at regular times.
- Sit down to eat, and eat calmly and slowly with awareness of your food, enough to be satisfied but not full.
- Wait to eat until the previous meal has been digested(at least 3 hours, and after a big meal, 5 – 6 hours—follow your real hunger).
- Eat freshly prepared food whenever possible (consume within 24 hours) and avoid frozen and packaged food.
- Attend to plenty of hydration, but don’t drink a lot with food or the hour after food—only sip a little warm or room temp liquid while eating.
- Avoid excess dry and raw food (and use oil in order to balance the dryness and roughness).
- Include more soups.
- Try triphala powder 1/2 t. at night before bed.
Symptoms: Sharp Appetite (can’t skip meals)Acid Indigestion, Mild Nausea or Loose Stools:
SELF-CARE for sharp digestion pattern:
- Eat two or three meals at regular times
- Sit down to eat, and eat calmly and slowly with awareness of your food.
- Eat enough to be satisfied but not full
- Wait to eat until the previous meal has been digested (at least 3 hours, and after a big meal, 5 – 6.hours).
- Eat fresh food.
- Avoid of minimize hot, spicy food, sour food and salty food.
- Avoid or minimize fatty fried food and excess fats in general.
- Include more bitter greens (collards, mustard, kale, lettuce)
Symptoms: Lack of Appetite: Slow, Sluggish Digestion, Sticky Stools:
SELF-CARE for slow digestion pattern:
- Eat two or three meals at regular times
- Sit down to eat, and eat calmly and slowly with awareness of your food, enough to be satisfied but not full
- Wait to eat until the previous meal has been digested (at least 3 hours, and after a big meal, 5 – 6 hours).
- Reduce or avoid heavy, cold, sugary food and excess carbohydrates (dairy, wheat, excess red meat).
- Include more dry and light foods like salads and pungent spices like ginger and black pepper.
- Exercise daily.
These principles really work if you practice them. More specific food and herb recommendations may also be needed to resolve your situation. Below are the signs of balanced digestion:
Signs of Balanced Digestion:
- Regular hunger at meal times.
- Regular elimination once or twice a day(balanced elimination is the size and consistency of a banana, floats instead of sinks and has no foul smell).
- Feel light, relaxed and energized after eating (rather than tired and heavy).
- Clear thinking
- Balanced emotions.
- Balanced mood and energy.
- Lustrous skin.
- Clear, bright eyes.
- Strong immunity.
- Right weight for your constitutional type.
To achieve balanced digestion, take care of your imbalanced digestive pattern.
Take care of the little imbalances in your body/mind and those small things won’t add up and turn to bigger things. Everyone is unique. Listen to your own body/mind and don’t compare yourself to another. You are one of a kind!
Want some help balancing your digestion? I am here for you. I have helped many people improve their digestion and eliminate nagging issues like allergies, sleep disturbance, acidity, headaches and constipation in the process. E-mail me: Shannon @livingintobalance.com or Text/Call: (206) 412-8784.
Wishing you a strong and balanced digestive fire.