Some water tips – Anjum-style

We all know I love Ayurveda, but we also all know that I can be a wee bit distracted by…well, by everything.  So, my commitment to Ayurveda has suffered since leaving India in June.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  I was pretty committed to it while in Hawaii in July and August last year.  Mama Kauai can be pretty conducive to 1) anything ancient 2) anything healing and 3) anything.  But, since then I haven’t done much until now.

Enter Anjum Anand.  Chef.  Cookbook author.  Woman extraordinaire.  After listening to her talk intelligently and engagingly about Ayurveda at the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature this weekend (where I also got to meet one of my literary heroes – Marjane Satrapi) I tracked her down for a little one-on-one (so me right?).  I had some questions and she had some answers.

As a pitta…back-up, I guess I shouldn’t assume everyone would know what that means after all a year ago I would have thought it was a cute nickname for a pit bull.  Here is a  Ayurveda 411:  Everyone is split into three doshas or constitutions.  There is pitta, kapha and vatta.  Your constitution is made up of all three, but one will be more dominate than the others.  So you have a primary, a secondary and a tertiary.  My primary is pitta, secondary kapha and trailing very very fair behind is vatta.  Ayurveda is both preventative and curative.  The curative side has many branches from medicine to aphrodisiacs (gotta love a medicinal system that takes sexual desire into account).  The preventative side (which is much more my thing) concentrates on diet and lifestyle (with an emphasis on yoga and meditation crammed into our busy little lifestyles). There are certain foods that are recommended for each dosha and certain lifestyle choices that are more conducive to each.  There are also foods to avoid and lifestyle choices to kick to the curb.  I’ll be writing a lot more about Ayurveda as time wears on, but here are a couple tips for all doshas to get you started.

1. Start the day with a mug of hot water with lemon to clean your digestive tract.

2. Don’t drink a full glass of water 30 minutes before a meal or 1 hour after as it dilutes your stomach acids and makes digestion more difficult.

3. Eat only once you have digested your last meal (for us Americans this is a revolutionary concept).  Want an easy way to see if you have digested that mile-high chocolate chip pancake breakfast?  Drink some hot water and when you burp see if it smells (and tastes) of food.  If so, close the refrigerator door and give your digestive system a little more time.

4. Rather than gulping down full glasses of water with your meals to “fill your stomach so you eat less food” (how many times have we heard that one), sip hot water or herbal tea.  Then continue the practice throughout the day as the hot water aids in digestion.

5. When drinking water always opt for room temperature or hot water – skip the ice cubes since they hinder “the digestive fires” (more on that later).

Start there and stayed tuned for more tips.  And, as always, email me.

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