Food is an incredible gift. It gives us energy, connects us to the cycles of nature and, in Ayurveda, is the first form of medicine. But when we overeat, too much of a good thing leads to fatigue, disconnection and illness.
Overeating is part of our modern culture: Holiday celebrations, weddings and social events revolve around eating beyond our capacity. We hear from the media that we should eat small amounts all day long to stay thin, or that we should treat ourselves with snacks or a “fourth meal.” But cultural norms aren’t always natural for us and don’t have to dictate how we act.
Digestion takes a significant amount of energy and for good reason – our bodies have to extract the vital nutrients we need to live. When we eat too much, the body simply cannot process everything and the excess becomes ama, or toxins. Overeating turns the food that should be medicine into disease.
Overeating also has an impact on our mental and spiritual health. Certain kinds of foods – sugary, excessively salty or fried – bring us momentary pleasure and a tendency to binge and then feel guilty. Food is also commonly used to trigger positive emotions or mask uncomfortable ones. No matter how they show up, attachments to food pull us away from our higher selves, the place where we live in balance and harmony.
Most of us have been trained to each too much, but Ayurveda offers simple ways to train ourselves to eat to live rather than live to eat. Invite the practices below to your table to avoid overeating and enjoy health today and health tomorrow.
Ayurvedic tips to eat to live:
Just remember: If you do overeat, beating yourself up makes it worse. Simply give your body a break at your next meal by eating kunyi (a soupy rice dish made with a ratio of 1:6 rice to water, a little ghee and a pinch of turmeric and salt) and use the opportunity to meditate and release emotions at the root of overeating.