How Ayurveda Revolutionized My Approach To Food & Improved My Digestion
While I don't have anything clinically wrong with my digestion, for years I've struggled with bloating, gastrointestinal pain, and um, achieving regular, healthy bowel movements.
I always knew these issues were intrinsically linked to the way I was eating—but 1), I didn't want to face the facts and make a change, and 2), I didn't even know where to start, given all the information that's out there on what a healthy diet should look like. That is, until I was introduced to ayurveda.
What happened when I dipped my toes into ayurveda.
I first learned about ayurveda during my yoga teacher training, which took place in Thailand. (Yoga and ayurveda, both originating in India, are considered "sister traditions.") It was hot and humid—but we were eating a primarily ayurvedic diet of stews, lentils, and other warm, easily digestible foods. Thanks to the Western world of smoothies and iced coffees, I couldn't wrap my mind around why we were eating these warm foods in 95-degree weather.
Yet, I quickly noticed positive changes in my digestion and my bowel movements. And not only that, but my face started to look more glowy with less redness, and what little eczema I had (a common sign of a gut imbalance) was gone by the end of my training. Plus, I learned a few helpful cleansing techniques, or "kriyas" that I still use frequently. Needless to say, I remained open to all ayurveda had to offer for gut health and overall well-being.
And what happened when I dove into Sahara Rose's ayurveda class.
With my interest understandably piqued, I was happy to explore more of this ancient Indian system of medicine through Sahara Rose's ayurveda class, particularly when it came to approaching my diet.
One of the biggest takeaways I learned from Rose was the idea of digestion as energy; the more energy the body has to dedicate to digestion, the less energy it has for other things. Going back to smoothies versus stews, I realized the strain I was putting on my body by forcing it to warm up the cold foods and drinks I so often consumed. Now, I've grown to love room temperature water and warm teas.
Over the course of the class, we discussed how in ayurveda, it's actually recommended not to drink much during meals, as that will also negatively affect your digestive fire. I gave it a try, and it's made a huge difference for such a small change. (Less gas and bloating. Win.)
Yes, I'll still go for a smoothie here and there, but I've incorporated way more warm, easy-to-digest foods into my diet. Speaking of, Rose explained why soaking legumes is so important for digestion and how to do it. As a primarily plant-based gal with a love for beans, this was incredibly helpful info and has noticeably improved the uncomfortable gas issues I used to think were normal after eating legumes.
All in all, the same benefits I felt while eating ayurvedic food during my training are now accessible to me through my own cooking, thanks to this class.
And along with how to approach diet, Rose also talks about the three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha—plus how to keep them all in balance and practice self-care based on yours. With so many bases covered, this class gave me tons of helpful tools to use—and my body and spirit feel better for it.
Why I'd recommend this class to anyone.
If you're looking to eat in a way that nourishes and supports your individual needs, take your self-care to the next level, or simply improve your digestion, this class is one to dig into.
Figuring out your dosha is a great place to start, so you can then learn how to best maintain balance depending on your constitution. Knowing what dosha(s) you're dominant in can help you figure out the best things to eat and drink, plus which things to avoid. Rose goes into all of this and more, for a foundational framework of ayurveda that makes it super easy to adopt its practices.
Ayurveda has been trusted for centuries, and for good reason. It's intuitive and holistic, viewing the body as one whole of interconnected parts. And the basis of ayurveda as a medicinal practice is not to treat ailments but rather to prevent them from happening at all. In a world of popping a pill for what seems like every little symptom, I greatly appreciate ayurveda's holistic approach. (Regularly using a neti pot, for example, has kept sinus infections at bay when I used to suffer from one every time allergy season rolled around.)
If you're curious about ayurveda, Rose's class can give you the basis of what's sure to be a revolutionary approach to your overall well-being.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.