Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine talk a lot about Digestive Fire and place a lot importance in eating foods and adopting habits that keep the stomach nice and warm. What this means is keeping the function of the digestion working well. Yang is function and what we eat, our lifestyle and unfortunately the aging process starts to diminish Yang or function. So it makes a lot of sense to look after the functioning of a system that supplies you with your nutritional needs or in other words your Qi or Prana.
So what habits can we adopt to help our Digestive Fire? There are some simple things we can do:
- Avoid cold, icy foods and drinks.
Our stomach sits nicely at body temperature, ready to receive food to digest. If we add very cold food or fluid, it cools down our stomach as it hits it. This lowers its temperature, constricting blood and fluids; the body then needs to divert energy to warming it back up again. If this is happening continually it starts to diminish the function of the digestion and even affects our micro biome.
- Avoid too many raw foods.
Raw foods are harder for the body to digest and over time can diminish the digestive function.
- Connect in with your food before eating.
When we focus on our food before eating, we start to salivate and can start to feel hungry, which means that our parasympathetic nervous system has switched us on to start the digestion process.
- Chew your food well.
There is a saying: drink your food and eat your fluids. Which means that you need to chew your food so that it becomes like liquid. And when you drink fluids, swish them around your mouth like you are chewing them. This warms the liquid and food to body temperature and mixes them with your saliva.
- Sit and enjoy your meal.
Don’t work and eat! A simple one, but we are all guilty of this. When we are not concentrating on eating, our body is not switched on to digest! Listen to your body, if you are not enjoying what you are eating, it probably is not the right thing for you.
WARMING AND DIGESTIVE TEAS & HERBS
- 1 – 2 slices of fresh ginger seeped in hot water
- Take before or after food
Cumin, Coriander and Fennel Tea
- 1 tsp. of each seeped in hot water
- This mixture can be chewed if preferred
- Take after food
Ginger, lemon juice and salt
- Eat a thin slice of fresh ginger sprinkled lightly with lemon juice and salt – ½ hour before a full meal
Dried Ginger powder
- Sprinkle dried ginger powder on difficult to digest or cooling foods
- g. Yoghurt
Pip Atherstone-Reid is the co-founder and co-owner of Kundalini House and has been an Acupuncture and TCM practitioner for over 15 years. She is available for Acupuncture & TCM appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.