BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER
With our western penchant for busy-ness many of us skip breakfast, thinking we don’t have time as we’re rushing around in the morning. According to Ayurveda, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Fasting irritates all of the Doshas, and missing breakfast is particularly bad for Pitta, making us irritable and unsettled as we start our day. What to do? Eat something!
Blended fresh fruit and/or vegetable juice is a great way to rehydrate the body after the night’s fast. Citrus is too acidic for an empty stomach, so try alternatives like apple, pear, or grape. Fresh juice is best, and it should be served at room temperature or slightly cooled. Cooked apples are another wonderful way to start your day the ayurvedic way. Morning is the perfect time to get the maximum benefit from fruit. It helps with our digestion and overall well-being.
Digestion is affected not only by what we eat and how we eat, but also when we eat. Because our digestion is strongest midday, between the hours of noon and 1 pm, lunch should ideally be our largest meal of the day. We want to wait 3-5 hours in between meals to eat so that the digestive process is completed from the previous meal before we go ahead and put more food into our stomachs. It’s okay to snack on some nuts or crackers and hummus in between meals if you feel like you need to keep your energy up. Just don’t eat so much that your snack becomes a meal in itself.
The best time for dinner is anywhere between 5:30 and 7 pm. It’s a good idea to complete the meal before 7 pm so that the body has at least 3 hours before bedtime to adequately digest the food. When the food has been digested, the body can then focus on sleep. Since the ideal bedtime is 10 pm, the guideline is to finish dinner by 7 pm. A small snack or dessert is fine after dinner, but try not to eat anything after 8 pm.