Diet and the Environment

Dietary considerations in Ayurveda are based on the time of day when eating, the weather or seasons, and even the climate where we live and where the food is grown.

The time of eating is important. Breakfast, if eaten at all, should be taken as a light, easily digested meal. The biggest meal of the day should be around noontime, that is, when agni is strongest in the environment. This is an example of the similaritybetween one’s internal digestive fire and the external fire of the sun. Ayurveda holds that the digestive capacity is greatest around 12:00 or 12:30 p.m. When we eat food near that time the digestive enzymes are ready to work most efficiently. Invite guests to lunch for a spectacular feast that everyone can enjoy. A lighter evening meal is best eaten between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. If a heavy meal is eaten in the evening, there is not enough time for it to fully digest before bedtime. Although a light meal only needs two or three hours to digest, it is good to allow five to six hours after eating a full meal for the stomach and agni to be ready before eating again.

The ancient Ayurvedic physicians noted that conditions are best for proper digestion while sunlight is greatest.
In the summer eat fewer heavy, high-protein foods than during the colder days of spring and winter. These foods are harder to digest and assimilate, and during the hot summer months one’s internal agni is overpowered by the heat found in the environment. That’s when everyone’s digestion appreciates the seasonally available light, juicy fruits and vegetables nature provides.
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