Handouts

Optimizing Digestion


OPTIMIZING DIGESTION
Ama develops when food or experience is not completely digested. Each time we eat on
the run, or run right after a meal, digestion is hindered. Ama will be created in all but
those with the strongest digestive power in this setting. The classic Ayurvedic texts give
guidelines to encourage proper digestion and to prevent the creation of ama. These
guidelines can be organized in terms of improving digestion itself, picking and preparing
foods that are better suited to complete digestion, and optimizing the environment for
digestion and assimilation. Some of these guidelines are:
Annamaya Kosha (Physical Body) Manamaya Kosha (Mental/Emotional)


IMPROVING DIGESTION

Physical

1) Eat when you are hungry.
2) Don’t eat when you aren’t hungry.
3) Eat to only 75% full.
4) Don’t eat until the previous meal is digested (3 -
6 hours).
5) Avoid large amounts of liquid before, after or
during meals.
6) Make lunch the large meal of the day.
7) Avoid ice-cold food and beverages.
8) Chew well.
9) Avoid large quantities of raw and uncooked food.
10) Do not eat when you are upset.
11) Do not eat too quickly or too slowly.

Mental/Emotional

1) Don’t overdo.
2) Don’t overwork.
3) Meditate to develop the awareness to attend to
each experience.
4) Avoid over-stimulating television programs,
movies, music, etc.
5) Balance mental activity with physical activity.


FOOD SELECTION & PREPARATION

Physical

1) Eat predominantly vegetarian food.
2) Eat organically produced food.
3) Avoid genetically engineered food.
4) Eat the freshest possible foods.
5) Avoid “sale” food that is old.
6) Do not eat burnt or rotting foods.
7) Avoid microwave ovens.

Mental/Emotional

1) Avoid crude or uncultured things.
2) Enjoy uplifting music, art, books.
3) Expect positive things to happen.
4) Think positively – what you think, you digest,
and it becomes you.


OPTIMIZING THE ENVIRONMENT

Physical

1) Eat in a settled, quiet atmosphere with a settled
mind.
2) Do not work, read or watch TV while eating.
3) Always sit to eat.
4) Eat at approximately the same times each day.
5) Take a few minutes to sit quietly after a meal
before returning to activity.
6) Don’t eat right before bed.
7) Take food that is pleasant to both sight & palate.
8) Take food that is prepared by a happy, settled
cook.

Mental/Emotional

1) Cultivate uplifting friends.
2) Avoid negativity in the environment.
3) Avoid gossip.
4) Find a place of work that is uplifting to you.
5) Take time for yourself away from your activities
to reflect on your experience.