The following article is being reproduced with permission of its author, Kate Towell. Kate is a holistic wellness counselor who supports individuals to create the balanced, vibrant life they imagine.
For most people, their work schedule dictates everything from the time they wake up, to when and how they eat their meals, to whether or not they exercise. Many people don’t realize that their work schedule is the culprit of their digestive issues, and affects their mental clarity and energy levels.
One of the most challenging Ayurvedic teachings to adopt is the practice of making lunch your biggest meal. Establishing healthy habits is hard, especially at work. You may know how to eat healthy but you still find yourself working through lunch, eating at your desk in a rush or grabbing a snack on the go. Ultimately, you are left unsatisfied and probably experience the 3:00 pm slump, which leads to cravings for caffeine and sugar.
According to Ayurveda, lunch is king because your digestive power (agni) is the strongest mid-day and during the daytime is when you need most of your caloric energy, not in the evening when most people tend to eat their largest meal and when digestion begins to slow down.
When we eat on the go, while multitasking, or when we are stressed, our digestion shuts down. Even if you’re eating healthy food but the environment around you is tense or distracting, the strength of your agni is dramatically reduced, and the result is often indigestion, gas, bloating, constipation, mental agitation and fatigue.
Common Pitfalls and What to do Instead.
Eating a salad.
Salads are a trendy lunchtime favorite because they are quick, require little prep-work and seem like a healthy choice. Unfortunately, salads are not the best choice from an Ayurvedic perspective because their qualities are cold, light and rough. They can be hard for many people to digest and typically they don’t provide enough energy to get you through the day.
Instead of eating a light salad choose warm, nourishing foods that will fill you up. When possible, bring your lunch from home and if you eat animal protein have it at lunchtime instead of dinner. If you do choose a salad, bulk it up by adding avocado, seeds, nuts or a hard-boiled egg.
Eating on the go.
Skipping lunch, eating on the go or snacking throughout the day results in low energy, mental fatigue, cravings and extra snacking. When we eat while distracted or while on the go, the food is not digested properly, and the result can be gas, bloating, fatigue and other digestive troubles.
Instead of eating on the go make time for lunch. How we eat is just as important as what we eat. Try hard not to eat at your desk but if you do, logoff and put your phone away. Choose to eat without distractions. Sit comfortably, eat slowly, chew your food well and savor the taste and texture of your meal. If you have time, take a short walk after you finish.
Lack of planning.
How many times have you worked through the day and find yourself starving and without healthy options for lunch? When we get to the point of starving, we make poor choices and instead of making a wise decision, we tend to make a fast one.
Instead of lunching without a plan try to bring your lunch a few times a week. When you make dinner at home say the motto “cook once, eat twice.” Eat a smaller portion for dinner and bring the rest for lunch the next day. You will have a healthy option, save time and money and won’t find yourself starving and making a quick choice instead of a healthy one.
Give these lunchtime tips a try and let me know how you feel.
Wishing you Vibrant Living