By Rianne Chittenden
Here we are. That funny week after the Holiday season and before the new year. It always feels like the twilight zone to me. And now it’s about to be 2022. What? How ya feeling? I hope you enjoyed family time and ate delicious food. Did you manage to stop when you were full or did you get lost in the good food and good company and are now feeling dull and sluggish?
As we are entering the thick of Winter Season it is crucial to keep our digestive fire or agni strong. In Ayurveda, agni encompasses our ability to digest everything we come in contact with, not just food. When our Agni is strong, we are able to easily digest and absorb nutrients from the food we eat and handle what the day throws our way with some grace. Additionally, 80% of our immunity is in our gut so when our Agni is strong, our immunity is strong.
A key component of the stomach’s ability to digest food is the mechanical churning that happens after a meal. When we over-eat, the churning is unable to happen. We essentially just added a large mass to the stomach and it can’t process it. This stresses the adrenals and makes us feel lethargic.
I know this and I still manage to over-eat around the holidays. My go-to when this happens is a simple fresh ginger tea. The effort of peeling and dicing the ginger is worth the relief you will feel by sipping this kick of a tea for the rest of the day. A wonderful way to reset digestion the following days is our Kapha kitchari. This age-old Ayurvedic recipe contains super easy-to-digest ingredients and spices to help reset and kindle Agni. I probably would have never tried it had I not joined an Ayurvedic program because beans weren’t a huge part of my diet and split mung dal beans sounded funny to say. I wanted to make sure I could walk my talk since Kitchari is a staple go-to recipe for healing and nourishing the gut in this ancient system of medicine. Now I honestly love kitchari when I need a reset or my stomach is bothering me. It is so soothing and satisfying.
I use to associate enjoyable, tasty food and having fun with things that were not good for my health. It is so empowering to nourish myself and be in joy in ways that do not also drain my adrenals. As we enter into 2022 together, let’s leave behind this notion that health is boring and bland. Health is joyful, fun and full of vitality.
May your inner fire stay strong this winter.