You are what you can digest

Have you heard the phrase “You are what you eat?”

Although it’s true that what we eat will have a direct impact in our health and wellbeing, in Ayurveda it is believed that the way we are able to digest what we eat is even more important.

Our digestive power is called Agni. Agni in Sanskrit means fire. Our digestion is our power to transform food into nourishment that will go to our tissues and impact our overall health. 

It is not only food we need to digest, we also digest teachings, thoughts and emotions in order to learn, understand and feel.

Undigested food and or mental activity become poison.

When digestion is functioning properly, the food we eat and the emotions we process will be entirely digested—with no residue left behind.

When digestion and elimination are not working as they should, the result is malas (waste) being left in the dhatus (tissues), leaving a toxic by-product called ama, which can build up in the body and contribute to the disease process 

We need our agni, i.e. the fire of digestion to be strong, but not burning. This will stimulate the metabolic breakdown of the foods we eat Increasing agni promotes healthy skin, appetite, energy, balance, a clear mind, strong digestion, and a healthy immune system.

According to Ayurveda, most health and weight conditions can be linked to a suppression of agni or to suboptimal digestion.

Agni’s quality is responsible for transforming raw substances into a form that can be assimilated into usable tissues.

It’s present in the two aspects of metabolism: 

  • Catabolism: the breaking down of a substance into a smaller substance.
  • Anabolism: the creation or building of tissue from smaller components.

What can you do to avoid having a weak Agni?

  • Eat God made food ( fruits and vegetables are great!) instead of man-made food (avoid processed foods).
  • Eat when you are hungry. Avoid overeating
  • Have a routine for your meals. Irregular eating and snacking confuse our digestion.
  • Be aware that food loses its prone as it gets older.
  • Avoid eating when you are upset.
  • Don’t eat if you have indigestion.
  • Observe what you eat regarding your geographic location, time, and season.
  • Don’t suppress your natural urges.
  • Brief fasting can be good, but a prolonged one won’t be.