One of the many things I love about Ayurveda, is that it doesn't promote a restricting diet, it's a lifestyle. We can look at the qualities of our food and know that we will take on those qualities.
For example, if I'm consuming a piece of pumpkin pie: It's dense, sticky, oily, and heavy. I will take on these qualities from eating it. This can be considered medicine, though! These qualities help to balance the light, dry, rough qualities of the season.
Here are three ways to enjoy Thanksgiving, Ayurvedically:
Ayurveda recognizes 6 tastes: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter, Astringent. This order is important, as well.
When we consume heavier foods first, our saliva increases and it promotes our digestive juices to come to the forefront. As we finish our meal and end with something bitter and astringent, the astringent taste absorbs excess moisture, stops leakage of fluid, cleanses the mucus membranes, decongests, scrapes fat, improves absorption, and helps to bind the stool.
So, yes, I know what you're thinking, and you are correct.
AYURVEDA SAYS EAT DESSERT FIRST FOR HAPPY DIGESTION.
Now, sweet doesn't necessarily mean sugar. It means heavier foods like rice, wheat, meat, dairy, bananas, tofu, garbanzo beans, mung beans, almonds, cashews, etc... think prominent Earth and Water elements.
After you have completed your meal following the taste order, you might be feeling full. A simple trick to support your digestion and leave you feeling lighter, is to lay on your left side!
Laying on your left side supports the food you ate to travel to the stomach, as the stomach is located on the left side of the body.
I recommend a full-on lay, especially after Thanksgiving. But if all you can do is a left-side lean, that'll get the job done too.
Lay on your left side for 10-15 minutes. Much longer and you might land in lethargy and not want to move! After your left side lay, enjoy a leisurely walk for 15-20 minutes. This will support your digestive process and keep things moving so you can enjoy leftovers later! Maybe you can even get members of your family to join you for a new Holiday tradition :)
Last, and certainly not least, is enjoy some nourishing Golden Milk before bed. This spiced power-house is excellent for inflammation, digestion, absorption, rest, and nourishment for these cold, rough nights.
Here is a recipe I use that I believe you will enjoy! Serves one:
1 cup milk of choice ( I recommend light canned coconut milk and almond milk blended )
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1 Star Anise (or 1/8 tsp)
Sprinkle of black pepper
1 tsp maple syrup (to taste)
pinch of cayenne (optional)
Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Whisk together. Bring to a low simmer for 4 minutes, stirring as needed. Let cool and enjoy :)
Black pepper is important as it increases the bioavailability of curcurmin, the magical compound in turmeric, to absorb into our bodies by 2,000% !!!
Above all, the most important element to digestion is our microbes. Our microbes are the tiny bugs that are all around us. We share the same bugs as our family, but they also jump horizontally, from person to person, or person to food!
What are we doing when we are eating? How are we feeling? Is our full attention on our food and good company, or are we talking quickly, anxious, angry, or sad? Whatever we are feeling while we are eating, we are transmuting that onto our food, and therefore making our food not happy or happy, which in turn makes our bellies not happy or happy.
It is better to have a piece of cake from a state of gratitude and happiness, than it is to have some sad looking broccoli, feeling anxious.
Enjoy your loved ones. Have gratitude for your food. And let me know if you tried any of these magical Ayurvedic tips!
They've made my meals so much happier, healthier, and exciting :)
In health and harmony,