Let’s deconstruct the latest trend from an Ayurveda perspective! No, I am not referring to yoga, I’m referring to gut health. Both topics are new in our culture…. Ayurveda is known as the science of life! The foundation of Ayurveda is that all disease begins in the digestive system. Disease begins when we forget our own nature as spirit and ego become dominate. In the pursuit of pleasure through senses we tend to overindulge. This leads to a host of energetic and physical imbalances that disturb the bodily Doshas…which are governed by the five elements (earth, water, fire, wind, ether). Weak digestion results in the formation of AMA (toxins) in the body. The wisdom and knowledge of the Rishi’s is mind-blowing. To consider that they referenced the digestive system as being the key factor to living a long healthy life, so one may follow their path and fulfill one’s Dharma (one’s potential for awakening or happiness within oneself). They didn’t have the science that we have today, or the vocabulary that we have. New vernacular is being developed to reference the new emerging science of gut health and the living organisms of the gut. Science has confirmed the that there is a mind-body connection between gut and brain.
The mind-body connection refers to the Vagus nerve! The Vagus nerve, is known as the “wandering nerve” because it has multiple branches that diverge from two thick stems rooted in the cerebellum and brainstem that wander to the lowest viscera of our abdomen touching our hearts and most major organs along the way. Vagus means “wandering” in Latin. It meanders all the way down, into the belly, spreading fibers to the tongue, pharynx, vocal chords, lungs, heart, stomach, intestines and glands that produce anti-stress enzymes and hormones. When the “Wanderer” is starved of the essential nutrients it needs to help you survive, a whole host of chronic illnesses and impairments such as chronic fatigue, headaches, depression, bruxism, breathing disorders (asthma), heartburn, I.B.S., chronic diarrhea or constipation can result. The Vagus nerve has an impact on our happiness and immune system, sending signals from the gut to the brain. We can reactivate our Vagus nerve with simple breathing techniques, meditation, yoga and the right food choices; specifically, fermented foods will re-establish the gut microbiome. These practices can signal your relaxation response and relieve stress in the area that is causing discomfort–resulting in a significant decrease in symptoms and a greater sense of well-being.
To achieve good gut health in a fast paced, over processed world can be simple, based on our mindset, our approach to everyday life… Let’s connect to some basics principles for a healthy digestive system.
CONNECT WITH THE FOOD: prior to inhaling your meal, take a moment to find gratitude for the food, the people who made it possible for you to have this meal, offer a nod of gratitude to Mother Earth for growing the goodness on your plate. Create a ritual around each meal. Ask for the meal to provide you with the nourishment you’ll need, remember to breath in, breath out, as you eat be sure to chew properly, the digestive process starts here!!
EAT SEASONALLY: Eating seasonally will bring your body into harmony with nature, assisting with allergies, daily headaches and other symptoms of fatigue, healing can take place when we become in alignment with nature.
PROPER FOOD CHOICES: eliminate the processed shit, white sugars, white flour; your cells, tissues, blood and organs will thank you! Make a connection to how you feel after you eat; are you bloated, tired, cranky, gaseous? The after-affects will be a direct indicator to how your food choices impact you. Most importantly everyone is different, listen to your body’s feedback.
FOOD COMBINING: embracing the wisdom of food combining slowly helps us to cultivate a refined awareness around how our dietary choices affect us. Careful food combining can dramatically improve the quality of digestion, support the body in receiving a deeper level of nourishment, and positively impact our overall health. Satisfying all six flavors; sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent and bitter will give you the feeling of being satiated.
FERMENTED FOODS: with each meal, you should take in one serving of fermented veggies! Fermented veggies/ sauerkraut (probiotic rich foods) that have gone through the proper fermentation process have beneficial bacteria that re-establish good gut health, I call these bacteria the “good guys;” they override the bad bacteria in your GI tract. Everything you eat, will feed the bacteria in your GUT, most of our food sources have BAD bacteria causing inflammation, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, brain fog and this list goes on and on. Fermented foods will redefine your gut health.
If you are reading this article, I’m certain you have heard about probiotics. The truth about taking a probiotic supplement is that pills, capsules dissolve in the stomach, you will receive the benefit of the probiotic in the liver, and stomach however those pills never make into the large intestines or colon. This is the REAL POWER of sauerkraut and cabbage having a healthy amount of fiber! ONLY the fiber of foods can make it into the large intestines and colon. You must get those probiotics all the way down into the colon, to truly heal the ENTIRE digestive track…. Fermented foods will stoke the digestive fire with the salty and sour elements. Choose a brand which is unpasteurized, raw and organic, those are key ingredients to finding sauerkraut with LIVING enzymes. As a 20-year student of yoga, an Ayurveda Practitioner and foodie, I have cultivated a local sauerkraut using different herbs to access different energetics, which assist the body in healing. During the fermenting process, we play high vibrational chanting and each jar is packed with a healing intention, our mission is to heal the community with proper digestion.
In summary, make good food choices, connect with the food that you eat, understand that food is your best source of medicine, commit to a daily practice of “you” time, meditation and gentle stretching, these small steps will make a powerful difference in your everyday experience, creating a life of harmony and self-love.
OM shanti OM
Sharon Juraszek ~ Fermentlicious