I follow a Health Coach on social media. They are wonderful. Fun, innovative, great recipes and tips. Yet, in many of their post they complain of suffering from gas and bloating. While their choice of food ingredients and recipes are in fact “healthy” compared to many of our cultural standards, any Ayurvedic Practitioner would keel over at the combinations and preparation methods they use. The juiced, raw, and poor food combining leads to the obvious, the inevitable, the dreaded gas, bloating, and constipation.
This Health Coach, with a predominantly vata constitution, focuses on ways to improve gut health. Raw, juiced, and smoothies with milk, bananas, and peanut butter dominate their profile. These are all a major red flag when it comes to food combining according to Ayurveda. Keeping our agni (digestion) intact and happy is the source of health.
Our unique doshic constitution certainly plays a role for what would be appropriate or not for individual diets. Kapha, for example, could benefit in certain situations from raw foods. Pitta certainly deserves a cooling smoothie here and there, and vata could use some grounding from that oily peanut butter. But if we take the basic understanding of qualities in our bodies as well as qualities in our food and think of how these qualities combine, we can make healthy choices so that our digestion, assimilation, and elimination is happy and healthy. The journey begins with agni.
There are 4 major types of agni. Vishama, tikshna, manda, and sama agni. Vishama agni is variable, typical of vata, where digestion is inconsistent leading to constipation, gas, and bloating. Tikshna agni is your typical pitta digestion presenting itself as sharp huger, loose stools, and heart burn. Manda agni is typical of a kapha imbalance where there is weak and slow digestion. Sama agni is balanced digestion, which is ideal.
While the first rule of thumb is that not one specific diet fits all, there are some simple basic food combinations that should be applied for all doshas.
1)Eat fruit by itself. Especially bananas. Fruit is quickly digested, and when it is eaten with other food, it will digest before the other food and create fermentation in the body. Bananas specifically are sour and can dampen agni which leads to production of toxins. It is best to eat fruit at least 30 minutes before or after anything else.
2)Never mix meat and cheese! Enough said.
3)Nightshades with melons, cucumber, or dairy products are a no go. Nightshades are inflammatory in action so should be avoided if there is inflammation in the body.
4)Beans with cheese, eggs, fish, milk, meat, and yogurt are especially vata provoking and increase the air quality in the body creating gas, bloating, constipation.
5)Raw and juiced foods may be appropriate for certain situations. but should typically be avoided. When digesting raw foods, the body needs to work harder to break down raw materials. Juiced foods are heavily concentrated with sugars and stripped of fibers. Both are increasing to air and ether elements contributing to lack of absorption.
Consider an Ayurvedic Consultation with me if you need support with diet and digestion. The key to health and well-being begins in our gut.