Healthy appetite (not too much, not too little) and good digestion are paramount in maintaining optimal health. Maintaining optimal health right now not only makes your day-to-day life more pleasant, but it also prepares the body for a healthier future. Prevention is the best medicine. We know this but it’s so easy to put it off until “tomorrow.” Instead of overturning your whole life, start with a few easy tools and add to them when you’re able.
This is a spice that should be in every kitchen. It’s an ideal spice because it cultivates stronger digestion while not overheating Pitta or agni (fire of digestion). Stronger digestion means you will better utilize all the good foods you take in, and you will better process those less-ideal foods or other toxins that accumulate in the body. Stronger digestion = better health, period. This spice can be used in or on anything. Add it to the oil in your pan before you add food, but be careful not to burn the oil and spice. This will offset the benefits. Add it to oil in your salads or into any dish you like, even your teas and coffee. Use the spice regularly for full effect, it’s not intended to change your body overnight, just add it to your cupboard and commit to using it regularly.
This is another great spice for ease of digestion. It’s especially good for bloating or discomfort after meals. You can take this in a few different ways. If you know you have bloating or intestinal discomfort after meals, sip on 4-6 ounces of fennel tea just prior to or immediately after your meals, especially breakfast and dinner. You can buy fennel tea and make it more potent by using 2 tea bags, or you can make your own by buying fennel seed powder at your health food store and add a 1/2 tsp to 6 ounces of boiling water. Frontier and Banyan Botanicals are great brands, but whatever you get, buy organic spices; it’s essential to have high quality spices if you want the full effect for your body. You can also buy fresh fennel, dice it and add it to boiling water. Lastly, for the most potent effect, buy fennel seeds and simply chew on one tsp of fennel seeds just after your meals. If it’s too potent, you can mix a pinch of turbinado sugar. You can toss the shells of the seeds after you’ve chewed on them. For bloating and post-meal discomfort, fennel is your friend. Fennel is also great for nausea.
Most people have heard lots of good stuff about ginger. It’s true that it increased digestion, so it’s great for those who have minimal appetite. But be careful if you have a “hot” constitution or “fiery” digestion. For those who need a little stimulus to eat and enjoy food, and/or need to lose a little weight that just won’t go away regardless of how few calories you’re consuming, try taking 4-6 ounces of ginger tea or just chew on a piece of fresh ginger just prior to meals. It will stimulate your appetite, but better yet, it will stimulate your digestion. Thus, you will better assimilate the good foods you take in, and you will better detoxify and eliminate the toxins (ama) you may be carrying. Again, if you have or are prone to any type of ulcers, avoid the ginger.
For additional questions pertaining to unique health concerns, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call for an Ayurveda consultation at The Sanctuary (310)566-7690
Photo from Flickr.