Do you have trouble digesting gluten? (Or dairy? Or other types of foods?)
While eliminating the “problem” ingredients from your diet—the ever-popular modern way of responding to food sensitivities—can relieve your symptoms, it does nothing to relieve the root problem.
The biggest problem isn’t the gluten; it’s your digestion.
Gluten sensitivity or intolerance is an indication of low agni—digestive fire or digestive ability. And low agni is a manifestation of low energy, which is why I’m covering this here in my “Energy Feeds” series.
The good news is that YOU CAN REBUILD YOUR DIGESTIVE FIRE. You do not have to avoid the problem for the rest of your life. You can work your way back to eating freely again, without the bloating, gas, bellyaches, constipation, etc. that gluten currently create in you.
How to Digest Gluten Again
Here are my top five recommendations for rebuilding your agni so you can eat gluten again. (And good news: these also work for helping you be able to digest dairy and other foods you’re having trouble with.)
- Stop grazing.Stop eating four to six meals a day or snacking between your meals. Give yourself at least a few hours between meals, and preferably three meals a day, so you can fully metabolize your food before you add more in.Think about it from a cooking perspective. You wouldn’t want to add more beans to a pot that’s been cooking for a while already. Sure, some of the beans may get cooked, but everything you put on top of the already partially cooked beans will not!
- Eat a light, early dinner.Give yourself 12 hours of fasting time overnight so that your body has enough time to fully metabolize, digest and assimilate one day’s food before you start eating the next day.
- Cook digestive spices into every meal.Spices and herbs act as digestive enzymes in your cooking. They make your food easier to digest, meaning that your belly doesn’t get bogged down by the meal. Bog in the belly quickly and efficiently dampens the digestive fire, while using herbs and spices kindles the digestive fire, which is exactly what you’re going for.Go to your local ethnic grocer or supermarket and make a small investment in different spices and herbs. Cumin, fennel, coriander and turmeric are a few classical Ayurvedic digestive spices, and I like to experiment with a whole range of herbs and spices from around the world.
- Drink only warm liquids, with just small sips during meals.Cold beverages are the antithesis of digestive fire. The inside of your belly is naturally warm. When you put something cold inside of it, your body has to go double-duty (or more) just to reheat your belly to digesting temperature—an unnecessary use of energy that could otherwise be naturally invested in fueling your digestive fire.
- Try agni sara.The kriya (cleansing) practice I demonstrate in the video above is a classical yogic practice for cleansing bog from the gut and kindling the digestive fire.
Give these a shot and let me know in the comments below how they're working for you...