Ayurveda and Weight – Find Your Balance (Part 2)
by vpk® by Maharishi Ayurveda & Mark Toomey, Ph.D. on January 28, 2013
Weak Agni Can Mean Easy Weight Gain
According to Ayurveda, weak agni leads to the condition whereby even very small amounts of food tend to cause weight gain.
What happens in this case is that weak agni allows ama (impurities) to be created, which accumulates as fat tissue. The Ayurvedic solution is to balance agni, increase the metabolic rate and eliminate the ama.
Exercise helps to burn ama and increases circulation and metabolism. Walking briskly 30 minutes a day, or other activities such as dancing, swimming, biking, hiking or weight training, are all recommended.
You can also help balance digestion with Ayurvedic herbs used to enhance agni. Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) is a traditional herbal formulation that balances agni. Following a diet that stimulates digestion and reduces Kapha by favoring astringent, bitter and pungent tastes and reducing salty, sweet and sour foods will also help balance agni. The spices found in Organic Kapha Churna Spice Mix can help to balance Kapha and weak agni. Be Trim Tea is an herbal infusion that supports a normal, balanced appetite. The Ayurvedic herbs and spices include Gymnema Sylvestre (see image), Fennel Seed, Cinnamon and Cardamom, which help balance fat and sugar metabolism and curb snack cravings.
Studies also show that consistently going to bed late can lead to weight gain. Ayurveda recognizes the weight-balancing effects of daily routine (called dinacharya) for maintaining healthy weight. These small adjustments to routine can create significant balance in mind and body. The recommendations for daily routine include ideal times to go to sleep and wake up, eating times, dietary habits, food combinations and more. For tips on daily dinacharya, click here.
Eating when you are not hungry, or looking for something sweet to pacify an unpleasant mood, are signs of lack of a state of balance. Ayurvedic herbals can help. Stress Free Emotions and Stress Free Mind are two Ayurvedic products that help with both emotional and physical stresses. Worry Free tablets support a calm, relaxed mind and deeper sleep. Blissful Joy tablets help uplift the emotions.
Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) is an agni-balancing group of traditional herbs (Amalaki, Bibhitaki, Haritaki and Cabbage Rose). These herbs are excellent for reducing ama and the dhatu associated with fat metabolism. Vidanga (found in Amrit Nectar and other Maharishi Ayurveda products) is excellent for balancing Vata and Kapha doshas. Shilajit or Mineral Pitch, found in Vital Man and Vital Lady, is excellent for decreasing excess fat and reducing ama. Guggul is strongly detoxifying and cleansing. Research has shown its ability to help support healthy fat levels.
The herbs in Rejuvenation for Men and Rejuvenation for Ladies can be taken by men and women respectively. Both of these formulas contain Shilajit. According to the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NCBI), “Shilajit has been used as a rejuvenator and an adaptogen for thousands of years, in one form or another, as part of traditional systems of medicine in a number of countries. Many therapeutic properties have been ascribed to it, a number of which have been verified by modern scientific evaluation.”
Other Ayurvedic weight-balancing tips include:
- Eat good organic fats such as olive oil. The amount will depend on your body weight or doshic makeup. Vata types can have more oil due to their tendency to dryness. Pitta should have less, and Kapha no more than two teaspoons a day.
- Eat more organic fresh vegetables, and focus on whole grains like quinoa, whole barley, oats, millet, or amaranth. Also include good protein, such as dahl, lentils and nuts.
- A cup of digestive lassi after lunch will help maintain those billions of good bacteria in your gut. For a recipe, click here.
- Barley or Kanji water can be a big help in maintaining fluid balance, reducing cravings and assisting in the removal of toxins. See a recipe here.
- Generally cut back on or avoid cold foods and drinks, aged cheese, potatoes, yeasted breads, butter, cookies, cakes, ice cream, chocolates, deep-fried foods and cream sauces, and reduce your intake of rice.
- For breakfast try some stewed apples and/or pears with a few raisins, and a little cardamom and cinnamon.
- Fasting or skipping meals is not recommended, as this can lead to weakened agni and binge eating
- Aim to have your main meal at mid-day and favor a delicious but lighter meal for dinner. Generally avoid meals after 8 p.m.
The Art and Science of Balance: Maharishi Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, people are viewed as unique expressions of nature’s intelligence. Ayurveda identifies the unique differences in the doshic makeup of each person. Ayurvedic experts not only design a dietary program that is best for each unique dosha combination but, as importantly, focus on improving the quality of digestion and metabolism.
Good mental health involves a stable condition of esteem and happiness, no matter what the physical structure. Focusing on healthy lifestyle habits that also help improve your physical and mental self-image is a great self-help technique.
The goal of Ayurveda is to educate a person, intellectually and experientially, about their beautiful unique physiology. Lifestyle choices, including effective stress reduction, managing diet and using herbal formulas, can help create a truly satisfied, stress-free person who is not subject to the whims of emotions or held hostage by their diet.
Front Page Yoga Image By RelaxingMusic, Flickr Creative Commons