Fight Fat With Ayurveda: Part 4

Everything has cycles – the seasons, the day, the stock market, even our mood. So it should be no surprise that your digestive system has cycles as well. And just like in any field, knowing the cycles allows you to take advantage of them.

Everything has cycles – the seasons, the day, the stock market, even our mood. So it should be no surprise that your digestive system has cycles as well. And just like in any field, knowing the cycles allows you to take advantage of them.

For example, if you understood and could predict the cycles of the stock market, imagine how easy it would be to turn a dollar into one million in just a short amount of time. The same is true for weight loss – knowing the cycles of your digestive system can help you lose weight in less time. 

This fourth blog on fighting fat with ayurveda will help you to better understand your natural cycles of digestion and use it as a tool for weight loss. Click to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

In ayurveda, all meals are not created equal. Your body is a dynamic system – the most dynamic system on the planet. It processes food differently at different times of the day.  Although what you eat is important, it is actually equally as important as when you eat it.   

The common approach to weight loss is measuring calories alone. The traditional thought is calories “in” must equals calories “out.” I am not saying that this is totally untrue, but remember, your body is dynamic and not a lead pipe. Depending on the cycle of your digestive system, you are actually more efficient at burning calories at different times of the day.  Just like in the stock market, it is not a matter of just money “in” and money “out” – it depends on when you put that money in as well. Use the following information and see the difference for yourself. 

According to ayurveda, lunch is the most important meal of the day because it is when your digestive fire, agni, is the strongest.  Therefore, you should have your largest meal and your heaviest foods – cheese, eggs, meat, and desserts – at lunchtime. Dinner is when your digestive fire is the weakest so it should be your smallest and lightest meal.  Ideally dinner should consist of small proportions of easy-to-digest foods such as soups or cooked vegetables. Dinner should never be eaten after 7 p.m.  After 7 p.m., your body is using its energy to prepare for sleep and most of the food you eat remains undigested.  Undigested food is turned into toxins and often stored in your fat cells. This results in instant weight gain. Breakfast should be moderate and easy to digest. 

If you think about it, why would your digestion be turned on “high” all of the time? This would be an exceedingly inefficient state.  There is no company that would expect all of its employees to be prepared to do a job at all times of the day. Companies divide up responsibilities and time the completion of a task sequentially so that it functions as an efficient whole. Your body has over a trillion employees in the form of individual cells, so it has to be much more efficient than any company that exists on earth.  That is why the human body has so many cycles, and the more you understand about its natural cycles, the easier it is to predict what causes health and disease. This is the heart of ayurveda. 

Here is your experiment: measure the number of calories that you are currently consuming on a daily basis. Don’t reduce the number of calories or change your diet in any way other than eating the majority of your calories at lunch (at least 50%) and the least number of calories at dinner before 7 p.m.  Without any additional effort, you should begin to lose weight. This is the advantage of knowing your natural cycles.

Your Parent Has Dementia: What to Talk to Their Doctor About

Make sure all their doctors are aware of all the medications she is taking.

Q: My mom is 94 and has dementia. She is taking a whole medicine cabinet-full of medications and I think they actually make her fuzzier. How should I talk to her various doctors about what she is taking and if she can get off some of the meds? — Gary R., Denver, Colorado

A: Many dementia patients are taking what docs call a "polypharmacy" — three or more medications that affect their central nervous system. And we really don't know how that mixture truly affects each individual person.

A new study in JAMA Network that looked at more than 1 million Medicare patients found almost 14% of them were taking a potentially harmful mix of antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines such as Valium and Ativan, nonbenzodiazepine benzodiazepine receptor agonist hypnotics such as Ambien or Sonata, and opioids. And almost a third of those folks were taking five or more such medications. The most common medication combination included an antidepressant, an antiepileptic, and an antipsychotic. Gabapentin was the most common medication — often for off-label uses, such as to ease chronic pain or treat psychiatric disorders, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan.

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