Time of the Meal
- Timely meals at fixed time everyday should be taken. This will help your digestive fire to stabilize and kindle up for the meals to promote digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Ideal timings for breakfast is from 8-9 AM. Have a filling b’fast with good amount of proteins and healthy fats as it gives a good start to metabolism and hormone levels.
- Ideal lunch time is between 12-2 PM. Do not linger the lunch time as it aggravates Pitta Dosha.
- Ideal dinner time is between 5-7 PM. The earlier the better to keep your Insulin levels and hormones in balance. Do not eat anything after dinner. Warm water, herbal tea, and medication are fine.
- Keep a gap of at least 2 hours or more between meals and snacks. Try not to have any snacks or as little snacks as possible. Ideal snacks are fruits, seeds, and herbal teas.
- Do not fast or stay hungry for long windows. Do not skip meals. Excessive fasting can seriously dampen the digestive fire.
- Eat your main meal at noon and lighter meals at breakfast and dinner.
- Eat only when the previous meal has been digested. Do not graze or eat untimely snacks as it disturbs the digestive fire.
Suggested Proportion of Macro-nutrients in terms of Calories
Here is a broad view break-up of how your meals should be in terms of macro nutrients. This is based on calories in a day.
- 60% Carbohydrates, primarily from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
- 25% Proteins from grains, beans, vegetables, and dairy
- 15% Fats from Oils, Dairy, Nuts, and Seeds
Break-up of meal ingredients in terms of calories in a day
- 30% of calories from vegetables and fruits
- 20% of calories from beans and lentils
- 20% of calories from whole grains
- 10% of calories from nuts and seeds
- 10% of calories from pure oils and ghee
- 10% of calories from dairy and meat
Steps to Optimize your digestive fire during the Cleanse
- Eat in a calm and settled environment.
- Do not eat on the go.
- Do not engage in any work or entertainment during meals.
- Do not eat when you are undergoing emotional transition through sadness, excitement, anger, jealousy, hatred, pity, or anything that keeps your mind away.
- Prefer warm and unctuous foods such as porridge, curry, gruel, and soups.
- Drink warm water, herbal tea, or herbal water regularly during the day. This will promote circulation in the body, support hormone sensitivity, promote hydration, and toxin flush from the body.
- Generously use pungent herbs and spices in your meals, water, and teas. Follow the herbs from the food list.
- Take probiotics in the form of diluted curd or lassi, made by mixing 1 part of curd in 4 parts of water at room temperature. Add spices such as dry ginger, black pepper, roasted cumin, and rock salt to it.
- Chew a small piece of ginger with pinch of rock salt on it before your meals to kindle the digestive fire.
- Chew fennel seeds after your meals to promote satiety and support digestive fire.
Some Good Foods to include
- Add nuts and seeds to your meals or snacks.
- Include a variety of fresh vegetables and make them the major portion of the meal.
- Take pungent herbs and foods such as turnip, radish, cooked onion, cooked garlic, mustard, black pepper (limited), cumin, thyme, and rosemary in abundance.
- Consume bitter vegetables in moderation such as bitter gourds and leafy greens such as pointed gourd, bitter melon (karela), drumstick leaves, kai lan, and Agathi.
- Add pure oils such as Sesame, Ghee, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Mustard Oil, or Peanut Oil in your meals.
- Sour taste should always be consumed in limited quantity and along with spices and herbs. For example, add black pepper to yogurt and ginger to fermented foods.
- Prefer natural hydrating sources such as plain water, unsweetened and fresh juices, milk, and coconut water.
- Prefer natural salts such as rock salt and pure sea salt. Other foods are Seaweeds and seafood.
Some Poor Foods to avoid during the Cleanse
- Avoid chewing gum, candies, and any kind of snacks/fillers.
- Reduce and remove light and drying foods such as puffed cereals, crackers, cereal flakes, rice flakes, puffed rice or corn cakes, and popcorn.
- Avoid unripe fruits and excessive consumption of fruits.
- Remove highly spicy, hot, and sugary foods. Both chili and sugar lead to over stimulation and create Dosha imbalance.
- Remove cold food and beverages such as iced drinks, frozen foods, fruit juices, and ice creams.
- Remove raw foods such as salads as they are hard to digest.
- Remove stale and processed foods.
- Remove carbonated beverages and fizzy drinks.
- Stop Alcohol and smoking as both of them are highly dehydrating in nature.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, black tea, and green tea as they are dehydrating in nature.
- Remove spicy and fried foods such as chips, crackers, and crunchy snacks etc.
- Remove heavy to digest dairy foods such as paneer (cottage cheese), old cheese, sheep’s milk cheese, and buffalo mozzarella.
- Remove yeast based bakery/breads and white flour food products.
- Remove Incompatible Foods and Combinations.