Tip One: Eat When the Fire is Hot
One of the nice things about a Thanksgiving meal is that it is typically in the early afternoon, when the digestive fire burns hottest!
According to Ayurveda, the digestion is the strongest in the afternoon and the best time to be filling the tank to capacity.
So try not to have that big dinner at night when the cooks have gone home and your digestive fire is the weakest.
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It is not a bad idea to eat a light and balanced breakfast, so by the time the big meal comes you have fully digested breakfast and are ready to fill up.
Be careful though, if you sit down to that table starving, you risk inhaling your food and after hours of preparation you are stuffed to the gills in under 10 minutes.
The key here is to eat slowly! Relax and dine! Force yourself to put the fork down and chat while you chew.
The more time you give yourself to chew and relax, the more your stomach will gracefully expand and allow you to comfortably continue to enjoy your meal without over eating. If you eat that same meal fast, it will hit like a rock and you will find yourself spending much of the afternoon on the couch.
Tip Three - Stoke the Furnace
Use these simple tricks to jump-start digestion before your big meal:
a. Drink a tall glass of water 20 minutes before starting the meal. This will pre-hydrate your stomach wall, which is lined with an acid buffer that is 80% water. The more water, the better the buffer and the more acid your stomach will produce to enjoy more food.
b. You can add a little salt and pepper to this glass of water to further stoke the digestive fire.
c. Sip some ginger tea while you are eating, or sip it during the 20-30 minutes prior to the meal to stoke the fire.
Tip Four - After Dinner Tricks
There is an old Ayurvedic strategy to lie on your left side for 10- 15 minutes after a large meal. This is not an all afternoon siesta, but a short rest on the left side to allow the stomach to empty gracefully and effortlessly.
The stomach is on the left side of the belly and empties from left to right into the small intestine. By lying on the left side, you allow the stomach to hang freely and contract naturally to move the food through when it is all properly digested.
If you lie on the right side or get up too soon, the food is hurried and forced out of the stomach prematurely by gravity. This can cause ingestion and, after a big meal, it can cause some gas pains!
Tip Five - Digestive No-No's
a. Don’t drink cold or iced water with this meal!
b. Take a few minutes to relax, get settled, and say some form of blessing or grace before eating. Do not start eating until you are really settled, calm and ready to eat and enjoy each bite with awareness!
c. Don’t watch TV while eating.
d. Don’t eat standing up.
e. Don’t pig out on bread first. It is heavy and hard to digest and before you know it, you will be full!
Written by John Douillard