Ayurvedic tips for optimal nutrition
Are you an evening grazer?
Did you know that traditionally the evening meal used to be lighter than lunch?
Lunch was considered the main meal of the day. The evening meal provided a social ‘coming together’ for family, friends and communities at the end of the day.
Since the industrial revolution this natural pattern of refuelling for the day’s activites with a larger breakfast (breaking the fast) and lunch (noon day meal), and a smaller evening meal has changed.
Now it is more common to have breakfast on the go. Some people find they miss breakfast altogether due to time pressure. Lunch has now more commonly become a lighter meal that is taken on the go, or consists of yesterday evening’s leftovers reheated in a microwave. The evening meal has commonly now replaced the lunch meal as the larger, more sustaining meal of the day.
The research findings below highlight how these changes in eating patterns may be partly responsible for the epidemic of obesity we now face in the western world.
- Research from the University of Texas, published in the Journal of Nutrition in January 2004 found that meals consumed in the early parts of the day provide more of a sense of fullness than meals consumed later in the day.
- Researchers wonder if this is behind the tendency to graze in the evening. They found food is less satisfying in the evening than during the day, making some people more vulnerable to overeating.
- They also noted that the same amount of food taken earlier in the day is burnt off more efficiently than when it is taken in the evening. Significantly more calories were burnt digesting the same meal in the morning, compared to the afternoon or evening.
Ayurveda has understood this for over 3000 years. Ayurveda explains that our bodies are guided instinctively by nature’s rhythms. When the sun is rising and at full noon are the ideal times to eat for best digestion, full satiation and for optimal nutrition.
As the sun sets our capacity for eating reduces. Taking larger quantities of food when the sun is setting therefore leads to incomplete or partial digestion. This in turn causes a build up of impurities that spread through the body localising where there has been injury or overuse and causing discomfort and disease.
Tips for optimal nutrition
If you typically eat your largest meal of the day in the evening then consider adopting the following tips to increase satiation and reduce cravings and overeating.
- Aim to eat your evening meal by 6.30pm.
- Where you can, favour vegetarian options in the evening and take heavier foods like meat, cheese and fried foods at lunchtime. If you need to eat these foods in the evening, then choose to eat small portions.
- Eat your meal with full attention. Avoid watching TV, talking on the phone or working on the computer. Put your whole attention on the meal and enjoy the process to gain optimal nutrition.
- Sit quietly after the meal for 5-10minutes and then take a 20 minute walk to aid digestion.
- Aim to have a “light food day” every 1-2 weeks to allow the body to rest and digest any build up of impurities that may have accumulated. On the light food day take soups, juices, herbal teas and water. Blend grains, vegetables, dhals and beans into a liquid form before eating. This is not a fasting day but a light food day. Avoid meats, yoghurt, cheese, fried foods and heavier foods for the day.
- Be sure to do a 3-7 day seasonal cleanse during the seasonal changes 2-4 times a year to protect your health and longevity. Eating larger quantities of foods in the evening does cause a build up of impurities from incomplete digestion and is often a key cause in the aches and pains I treat most days. Watch out for our seasonal cleanse instructions that we send at each change of season.
- Take Digest Tone 1-2 tablets prior the evening meal to reduce the build up of impurities from partial or incomplete digestion. Digest Tone has an amazing array of benefits and is key to staying well if you have to eat your main meal in the evening.
- After eating have a drink of Rajas Cup or ginger tea.
- Then take 1-2 tablets of Digest Plus (for more Vata and Kapha types) or Digest Medium (for more Pitta types) 15-30 minutes after eating.
Wishing you the bliss of balance.
Written by Linda Sinden
Linda Sinden has been a practising Maharishi Ayurveda Consultant since 1990 and is a regular contributor to our weekly Insights. She has a practice in Auckland, New Zealand and also provides phone or Skype sessions for those who need assistance, but don’t have a consultant in their vicinity.
Mobile: +64 212237525
Article from Get Balance NZ