A healthy digestive system is revered in Ayurveda as a cornerstone of well-being, and every disease is believed to arise from inefficient digestion. In fact, we can even distill the science of Ayurveda down to the simple idea that total health resides in the state of our digestive powers and that restoring health must originate with a focus on our digestive system.
Your digestive fire simply refers to your body’s metabolism–the process of turning nutrients from food into energy for cells to sustain life, which, of course, is commandeered by your digestion, a complex combination of biological and chemical interactions. And the ingredients that make for a strong digestion and fast metabolism, or "fire," include four chief components.
1. Eating specific foods and drinking certain hot liquids that feed and fuel your metabolism rather than slow it down, ultimately supporting digestive balance and efficiency. We know that, scientifically speaking, not all calories are created equal. When you consume calories from the types of foods on the Hot Belly Diet, you can spur rapid weight loss. What’s more, when you drink warm teas and water throughout the day, you can continually stoke your metabolism.
2. Fasting in between meals (no snacking), for the sensation of hunger is essential to weight loss and overall health. New science shows that intermittent fasting can help you live a longer, healthier life.
3. Making lunch the most important meal of the day (i.e., eating when the sun is burning brightest). Studies now prove that eating more calories midday can result in greater weight loss, and that late lunches and big dinners can be detrimental to weight-loss efforts and general health–even if the total calories consumed in a day are the same.
4. Clearing out “digestive sludge”–residue from poorly digested food that antagonizes weight loss, provokes hormonal imbalances, and ultimately triggers inflammation, the root cause of virtually all disease. This sludge also includes toxins that cannot be cleared by the body effectively due to a weak metabolism and debilitated digestive organs such as the pancreas and liver. Research now shows that these toxins, which are created by the body during normal metabolism, can trigger weight gain and impede weight-loss efforts. Removing this sludge, however, is like clearing dust and ashes from a used fireplace to get the logs to burn stronger and cleaner the next time. You’ll achieve this through a combination of steps in addition to the diet, including a 24-hour castor oil cleanse, healing waters (i.e., herbal teas) and some herbal supplements you can take that are widely available today.
At the core of this four-part, three-phase diet is a dish called khichadi (pronounced kitch-a-de)–a complete but incredibly easy-to-make meal that helps clear out that digestive sludge and transform your metabolism. Overall, the Hot Belly Diet changes your relationship with food to make healthy eating–and living–effortless.
The Quick & Easy Overview of the Hot Belly Diet
PHASE 1, Days 1-3: PREPARE
Starting with an optional castor oil cleanse on the first day, this brief phase begins to detox the body, kills cravings, and starts to rev that metabolic engine–that hot belly fire.
You’ll also be simultaneously training your tongue to taste differently as you cut out sugar, meat, processed carbs, artificial sweeteners and full-fat dairy. You’ll be less swayed by cravings and the urge to overeat. This is when “kindling” is being introduced, a metaphor for the physical shift in your body’s biology whereby digestive powers are beginning to be renovated and turned on maximally for optimal digestion.
PHASE 2, Days 4-26: ACCELERATE
During this 21-day segment, you’ll follow a specific protocol that’s laid out for you meal by meal, day by day–with all simple and portable recipes provided. It entails a protein shake in the morning, a bowl of khichadi at lunch and dinner (with the lunch version bigger than the dinner one), and fasting in between meals to maximally stoke your fires and not inhibit fat-burning. You are advised to sip hot water with ginger and lemon all day plus some Ayurvedic herbal supplements (Triphala and Trikatu) to accelerate weight loss.
PHASE 3, Days 27-30: TRANSFORM
These four days are used to teach you how to keep the weight loss going while also reintroducing certain foods back into your diet. Continue to apply Ayurvedic tips for weight loss and vibrant health.