You can’t talk about Ayurvedic Medicine and not talk about digestion. For we are what we digest through our five senses, per Ayurveda. This includes what we eat and drink, as well as our experiences — what we see, hear, smell, and touch.
Our ability to holistically digest is dependant on the strength of our or agni (in Sanskrit) also known as our digestive fire. It is responsible for breaking down what we take in and helping us to absorb and assimilate what we need, before eliminating the rest. On a physical level (check out, our Podcast, You Are What You Digest, to learn more physical, emotional and mental digestion), if the agni lacks strength, absorbing food’s nutrients hindered and the probability for ama, or toxins developed from undigested food increases. With ama being the root cause for all dis-ease according to Ayurveda, our ability to digest plays a critical role in our holistic wellbeing. A key reason why so many of Ayurveda’s diet and lifestyle practices revolve around supporting the digestive process. Including what, when, why and how we eat.
When it comes to taste–eating, it is not just about what we eat, it also about the when, why, and how we eat. All of this plays a key role in the digestive process. A process that begins before we take our first bite! This is why engaging the senses is an essential part of eating the Ayurveda way. Enticing the nose and eyes signals the body to get ready and receive. Its sets the expectation, you can say. When our tummies begin to rumble and the tongue starts salivating the digestive enzymes begin to activate. The mind and the body are now linked.
However, for some of us, no matter how enticing the smell may be, how beautiful the food is displayed, or how much time between meals has passed–hunger seldom arrives. The lack of hunger can be a regular or occasional occurrence, one that comes as we age, or occurs due to the onset of an illness or stress. The root cause is low agni. One recommendation for low agni is to eat a digestive booster 30 minutes prior to your meal. A digestive booster is also great if you just want to support the digestive process, in this instance, it can be eaten prior or even during the meal, like a relish or one would a condiment.
If you or anyone you know seldom experience hunger, or you feel like your or your party guests’ could use a little digestive fire boost –consider bites of ginger and lime. These bites are rich in the transformative element of fire which helps ignite or boost agni. The salt and lime add a little alkaline and acidity, both in harmony support the digestive process.
Keep in mind, each bite is quite powerful, and for those new to ginger, a 1/4 tsp of ginger–1 to 2 bites, may be all that you need to stimulate hunger. Eating more doesn’t mean better digestion, absorption, and assimilation, in-fact it can have the reverse effect. Remember balance is key, go slow, do a little testing, listen to your body, your taste buds and proceed from your gut feeling. Happy Eating. Happy Digesting.
Lime, Ginger Bites, an ayurveda style appetizer
a simple 4-ingredient recipe to boost the digestive fire, stimulate hunger and support the digestive process that can be enjoyed up to 30-minutes prior to a meal
- 1 lime sliced thin & quartered
- 1 tbsp ginger fresh, peeled, grated
- Himalayan pink salt pinch
- black pepper tiny pinch
- fresh cilantro chopped
using a Microplane, grate about a 2inch peeled know of ginger, and mix it with a pinch of salt and pepper (optional), set aside. ginger can also be finely minced, this creates less "juice"
cut the lime into quarters then thinly slice it, like you would an orange, but thinner and not too thin. It needs to hold the weight of the ginger if serving it as a lime "cracker". arrange them on a plate, and add a small pinch about 1/8 tsp of the ginger and salt mixture, per lime slice.
sprinkle with fresh, chopped cilantro, if desired and serve.
- each bite can be enjoyed with or without the peel, the peel adds a touch of bitter-- keep the peel on if you want to serve it like a lime "cracker", or finger food
- the juice of the lime can also be sprinkled on the ginger, and salt, mixed and eaten as is without creating lime "crackers". this mixture will stay well in the fridge for about 3 days.
- feel free to adjust salt and lime to taste.. and black pepper is optional and not needed, but it does give a little extra boost and adds a nice flavor.