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Ayurveda & Food Combining

Lessen digestive "gunk" with these easy steps.

In the book, The Elemental Woman, I address food and digestive health on a truly holistic level. Eating "healthy food," is about eating the right food for your digestive system. Throughout the seasons of your life, and the seasons of the year, your needs will change. Ayurveda understands and explains these patterns, and better yet, Ayurveda teaches you how to appreciate these concepts in your own life.

Food combining is not high on the list of Ayurvedic food concepts to grasp but for some women, it can be the missing key. Learning Ayurvedic food combining can help you lessen ama, the digestive gunk that lines the intestinal walls. In Ayurveda, the overall accumulation of ama creates numerous forms of disease.

This is information to have handy and sometimes just taking the mystery out of digestive complaints is itself a relief. If you are a woman who has been mixing sour fruits and animal milk, maybe with your oatmeal, you may be relieved to find out this is a known indigestible combination and a simple switch will help digestive upset. Instead of buying another bottle of digestive enzymes thinking "something is wrong with me," you can use this traditional information to alter your breakfast.

Focus on one change at a time and come back to this, or any concept from The Elemental Woman book, as you make your way down the healing path. Again, knowledge should never overwhelm you. Simply put this information in your pocket and pull it out when you are ready.

A Simplified List Of Ayurvedic Food Combining Principles:

a) Beans and animal milk are known as indigestible combinations. Digestive issues after eating a large burrito, for example, are blamed on the beans. But could your system have better digested the beans if they had not been mixed with animal milk? A known ama-producing combination? And think, that poor combination is mixed with other foods, sauces, and flours and now you have a lot going on and your body is working hard to process all of this.

b) Pasteurized animal milk is missing the enzymes needed for digestion and assimilation. Pairing pasteurized animal milk with any food makes that meal more difficult to digest. The Elemental Woman book does not recommend the consumption of animal milk for health, environmental, and moral reasons. Animal milk used to be consumed in an entirely different way. Animal milk, as a liquid, was traditionally eaten alone and with its original enzymes intact. In other words raw. It should not be mixed with food or drunk cold. Even with those rules, animal milk was traditionally mixed with spices, such as cinnamon or cardamon, to aid the body in digesting it.

c) Mixing sour fruits or bananas with animal milk is considered especially ama-producing.

d) Acidic fruit, such as having a glass of orange juice with morning starch, aka cereal or oatmeal, causes a loss of digestive ability.

e) Fruit is amazingly healthy but should be eaten alone. Fruits make the perfect between-meal snack but, according to Ayurveda, should not be eaten alongside regular meals. This is especially true

with melons. Eat your watermelon as a hydrating between meal snack!

f) Astringent teas are best at the end of a meal or in-between meals. This includes black tea.

g) Multiple types of carbohydrates at one time, such as potatoes and rice, are known to strain digestion. A woman with a smaller digestive Fire (as explained in the book) would likely notice this while a woman with a strong digestive Fire may not.

To simplify this information you can focus on what DOES combine well together. An easy list would be veggies, grains, herbs, spices, beans, nuts, and seeds. You can combine these foods in any form. You can shop for foods in these categories and combine them into a veggie burger, a pesto pasta dish, a healthy burrito, a hummus plate, or whatever you think of.

Peace & Love


*Author Tara Lee Clasen is a manual massage therapist specializing in women's health and pain conditions related to the pelvic floor, neck, jaw & shoulder. She also trained in clinical Ayurveda and has authored a book on Ayurveda called The Elemental Woman.


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