Boost Your Metabolism with Ayurveda Principles
Metabolism is the chemical process that converts the food you eat into energy. The body needs this energy to function in your day-to-day life. In Ayurveda, the concept of metabolism is Agni, your digestive fire. Agni, is the element of fire and leads to transformation. Your Agni’s primary function are digestion, absorption, assimilation, and the transformation of food into energy. Ayurveda does not believe in fad diets or the concept of “one size fits all”. Digestion affects not only the food you eat, but also your mental capacities and energy levels.
Good Digestion + Good Assimilation/Absorption + Good Elimination = Fit Body
An important concept in Ayurveda that goes along with Agni is Ama. Ama is understood as toxins or undigested food, emotions and thoughts that get stored in our fat cells. Ama (toxins) depletes Agni (your digestive fire), which leads to gained weight, food allergies, and low energy levels. Ama clogs the digestive tracts, visceral organs, and even arteries. This build up of Ama depletes Agni, and a depleted Agni cannot properly digest, assimilate, or absorb food. Thus creating more Ama.
Simple Ways to Boost Your Digestive Fire(Metabolism)
- Start the day with lemon. Drink a cup of warm lemon water first thing in the morning. About one quarter of a medium-sized lemon in a normal coffee cup full of water will suffice.
- Eating on a schedule. Your body works best on a schedule! If you eat on a schedule your body will begin to prepare by increasing your enzymes before you even eat! Eating on scheduled intervals maintains a stable blood sugar level and avoids cravings.
- Make lunch the biggest meal of the day. This is because out digestive fire is optimal between 12-2, so food can be the most easily digested and assimilated. Eat light at night. Soups and milky/spicy herbal teas at night make the belly happy and help us detox.
- What you eat, your body will become attuned to. Your gut bacteria will adjust to the foods you eat regularly. That’s why switching to extreme diets can be hard on the body. By stabilizing what you eat, your body can more easily recognize and break it down.
- Avoid deep- fried foods, frozen foods, leftovers, or refined sugars and flours. This is not by principle, but by understanding that these foods lack prana (life-force energy) and don’t provide stable energy. It’s okay to have these foods once in awhile, but our unhealthy dependence on them only create more of a cycle of dependency.
- Prep your body for food. Try having a slice of fresh ginger with a squeezed lemon and a pinch of rock salt on it before food to awaken your digestive fire. Eat a slice about 15 minutes before meals to stimulate your digestive enzymes.
Loosen the lymph. Sipping hot water throughout the day helps loosen and detoxify the lymphatic system, which tends to get sluggish during the winter months. Make tea by boiling water and then adding the following spices, allowing them to steep for at least 15 minutes before straining the water and drinking the tea:Digestive Booster: 1/4 tsp. cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds.Winter Spice: 3 thin slices of fresh ginger, 1/4 tsp. cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds, 2 black peppercorns, a pinch of cardamom). I keep my tea in a thermos and drink all day. (Frequency of intake is more important than volume.)
Indulge in Physical Activity to Keep You Fit and Energetic.Breathe deeply as you take a daily 30-minute brisk walk outdoors. Move your body and let the sun shine on your skin.Salute the sun and the fire. Around this time of year, start incorporating more rhythmic flows like Sun Salutations into your yoga practice to help heat the body. Twists in particular will help stoke belly fire, and burn away sluggishness and lethargy. End your practice by meditating on a fire in your belly. Throw in any old grievances into this inner flame.
- Best in solitude. Drink milk alone or with things that are sweet (such as grains, honey, brown sugar). Milk digests best when it is hot and spiced. Drink Golden Turmeric Milk in Night before sleeping
- Dine with the stars. Get to know ginger in your liquids. Drink more ginger tea. Fresh ginger is best but bagged ginger tea works as well. Drinking ginger and other spiced teas at night helps, too.
- Get some herbal support. Trikatu and triphala are Ayurvedic herbal formulas widely known for boosting metabolism, stimulating digestion, and cleaning out the body. You can find them online through Banyan Botanicals.
- Improve and prioritize elimination (your poo). Eat freshly prepared foods. Leftovers lead to less-than-perfect poo. Eat fiber-rich foods to improve stool quality.
- Include Whole grains: It takes an extra effort from your digestive system to break down whole grains, so you burn more calories when you eat them. Make sure to select foods with real whole grains, not processed foods.
- Bolster Metabolism with Lentils They are an excellent source of iron and protein.