What’s happening with my digestion?
Author: Linda Sinden Date Posted:25 February 2019
As the turn of season brings changeable weather patterns and cooler nights, have you noticed your digestion has changed or become irregular?
As one season fades and the next season starts, Vata dosha often becomes more active in us all. Vata’s role as the bringer of change can give rise to irregular digestion, bloating, gas, acid indigestion or an unusually sharp appetite, where you feel impelled to eat more than you usually do. These symptoms of imbalance occur when Vata accumulates within the digestive tract and starts to create some mischief!
Vata’s mischief typically causes an imbalance in Samana Vata.
Tell me about Samana Vata
Samana Vata is located in the stomach and intestine and is responsible for peristalsis, the wave-like movement that guides food and fluid through the intestines. When the winds of Vata cause digestion to become irregular, Samana Vata, whose job it is to flame the fires of digestion, becomes like a fire that blows hot or cold dependant on the whim of the wind blowing through the flames.
Think about toasting marshmallows over a flame; if the flame flares too hot, the sweet and sticky mess becomes darkened with charcoal and inedible. If the flame is changeable darting this way and that, the effect will be partial melting on one side while another part may be untouched, also unsatisfactory. What is needed is an even fire that blows steadily and consistently so that the food is passed through the stages of digestion in a measured and balanced manner, giving rise to perfectly cooked foods and optimal nourishment.
- Samana Vata Imbalance is linked to slow or too rapid digestion, gas, diarrhoea, nervous stomach, inadequate assimilation of nutrients, and emaciated tissue formation.
- In helping to reduce gas and bloating or to balance irregular digestive patterns we primarily focus on restoring balance to Samana Vata.
Samana Vata - 4 Steps to Balance
First let’s understand the key lifestyle choices that are often implicated when Samana Vata is imbalanced and see what is best to support optimal digestion.
Irregular eating habits
This upsets the body’s rhythm of digestion. The body gears up for food at a certain time and food does not come. Then food comes when the body is not ready to digest it! Yes, confusing for the body and the natural rhythms get out of synch with nature’s rhythms, resulting in incorrectly digested food and impurities that coat the lining of the intestines, causing discomfort like bloating, gas, acid indigestion and inflammation. As these impurities start to move about the body and settle, for example in the joints, then discomfort such as arthritis can occur over time. The impurities settle in the joint adding to inflammation and auto-immune issues can arise. Best to eat at regular intervals throughout the day and to be hungry for those meals. To support digestion take Herbal Digest 2 tablets 15- 30 minutes prior meals and Digest Plus 1 tablet 15 minutes after meals.
You may say.. leftovers are okay, I have them every day - I cook extra the night before and take it for lunch the next day. I’m being very healthy aren’t I? I’m sorry to have to tell you that even with your good intentions once food has cooled down and is more than 4 hours old, the prana or life force in the food is greatly reduced. This vitality is utilised by the body to help with the digestive process, much like a lock and key fit together. If the food lacks vitality because it is “leftover”, then impurities from partial or incomplete digestion accumulate and settle somewhere in the body where they don’t belong, causing discomfort and over time dis-ease. Favour fresh foods, freshly prepared.
If you have been taking leftovers you may have a build up of impurities sitting in your system even though you may or may not be aware of it. Suggest you take Congest Assist 2 tablets prior breakfast and Digest Tone 2 tablets prior bed.
Cold food or drink
Going back to the fire analogy, what happens if you put a glass of ice cold water or an ice cold dessert on a fire? Yes, the fire is cooled down for a while as it overcomes the coolness to assert its heat, and if the quantity of water is sufficient, the fire can be doused. Similarly with the fire of your digestion, cold food and drink have a tendency to reduce its digestive capacity causing the buildup of impurities that over time settle somewhere in the body where they don’t belong causing discomfort and dis-ease. Favour room temperature, warm or hot food and drink.
Heavy food in the evening
Although it is traditional to eat our largest meal in the evening with friends and loved ones, it wasn’t always that way. Prior the industrial revolution the lunch meal was the main meal of the day as it provided the energy for the day’s activities. Ayurveda explains that eating heavy foods in the evening can be a challenge to your digestion as the fire is strongest at midday when the sun is highest and strongest. One could say that our digestive fire is our body’s sun. As the digestive capacity is lower in the evening if we eat heavy foods such as meat, eggs, cheese, fried foods or yogurt or eat a large amount of food in the evening our digestive fire cannot effectively break it down. We will eventually pay for it with discomfort, weight gain that we just can’t shift, or over time dis-ease. Eat your main meal at midday and have a light evening meal by 6.30pm. Similarly, suggest you take Congest Assist 2 tablets prior breakfast and Digest Tone 2 tablets prior bed.
Wishing you the bliss of balance!