3 Ways To Keep Your Digestive Fires Burning Bright for the Holidays
Try these three recipes for better digestion.
The holidays can overwhelm. Whether it is our schedule, our nerves, our physical reserves, this is the time when the surge of seasonal joy can threaten to inundate.
But nature is here to support you. Specifically, Ayurveda sees this as Vata season, when the energies of air and space are dominant. The beauty of now is that we are astir with creative and social activities. The challenge is that we might feel scattered, ungrounded, a whirlwind of go-go-go.
In addition to getting good rest, where this might be of help, a key to achieving balance this season is to support healthy digestion. Boosting your digestive fires helps boost your overall strength and reserves.
Each of these three key Ayurvedic remedies addresses a different stage of digestion, so consider one, or all, to keep your fires burning bright.
3 Remedies for Better Digestion
Of the recipes listed below, typically Kapha dosha will benefit from the first, Vata from the second, and Pitta from the last. But doshas fluctuate, so ask yourself, What do I need most right now? Every day, ask again. The response may be the same, or it may change. The beauty of Ayurveda is that it reminds us that we are dynamic, always changing, never the same, and that paying attention to how we feel in the moment is critical. At the same time, Ayurveda helps us remember that we ourselves are nature - powerfully regenerative and beautiful through all the seasons of our life.
In Ayurveda, ginger is referred to as mother for its capacity to warm, heal, nurture, and restore. Combined with lemon, a piece of ginger before your meals helps strengthen your digestive fire and burn off toxins that cause stagnation. Ginger also helps with anxiety, which is an extra bonus for the holidays.
Pungent, sour, sweet and warm, these ginger sticks are as comforting as they are medicinal. Something of a “grandmother’s remedy,” it is a soothing reminder that ancient wisdom is relevant in our modern times and that nature really has got your back (and your gut!).
Lemon Ginger Matchsticks
Makes 8-12 matchsticks
1-inch piece of Ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Raw Honey
1 grind fresh cracked Black Pepper
Chop the ginger into matchsticks. Place in a small bowl and cover with lemon juice, then honey, then black pepper. Give it a light stir to coat the ginger thoroughly and let stand 20 minutes to “marinate.”
Keep the rest of the ginger sticks covered, at room temperature. Chew one matchstick 30 minutes before meals to kindle your digestive fire.
Think yogurt is good for you? For a lot of people it is too heavy, clogging the channels and dampening the digestive fire. But when it is blended with equal parts water, it is aerated and transformed into a digestive-enhancing delight.
Add holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or clove, and your belly will say, “thank you,” when you complete your meal with a lassi—a frothy yogurt-based drink that keeps your digestive fires blazing and your immune system strong.
1 cup yogurt
1 cup water
2 pitted medjool dates
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 good shakes of cinnamon
1 good shake each of fresh grated nutmeg and clove
1 dash of pink or sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Put everything in your blender and mix until frothy. Serve fresh from the blender at room temperature after heavy meals.
3. Smooth Move Tonic
Triphala is a recommended option as it is well-known to support colon function. In fact, the Charaka Samhita, one of the seminal books of Ayurveda, tells us that, "Triphala can rectify any imbalance.” It can be found at most healthy whole food grocers, and usually comes in tablet form which can be ground back into powder for this recipe.
Smooth Move Tonic
Addressing the third stage of digestion - elimination - this delicious bedtime tonic encourages regularity so you wake up feeling light and balanced. Drink in the evening half an hour to one hour before sleeping.
2 cup almond milk
1 dash cardamom
1 medjool date
2 teaspoons ground flax seed
2 teaspoons psyllium
optional: 1 teaspoon triphala powder
Pour the almond milk into a blender. Add the cardamom and date, and puree. Pour this into a saucepan over medium heat and warm, bringing it just to the brink of boiling. Meanwhile, toss the first three ingredients together in a small bowl.
Stir the flax, psyllium and optionally the triphala in with the almond milk mixture. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool a few minutes while the dry ingredients absorb the moisture.
Pour into mugs and stir in honey, if desired.
Note: Drink this warm, or it will turn to pudding thanks to the psyllium - in which case you will need to eat it with a spoon.