Ayurvedic Practices for Digestion & Hydration
How Ayurvedic practices on digestion and hydration have helped me live a more energised life
Having an Indian heritage meant that Ayurveda has always felt familiar to me but it wasn’t until I was at university that I started to really explore it. Ayurveda directly translates to "life knowledge" (a Sanskrit term: Ayur = life, Veda = knowledge) and is one of the world’s oldest healing systems from India that takes a completely holistic approach to health.
At university, my body was completely out of balance and I wasn’t aware of how stress could have such a negative impact on my physical as well as mental health. As a result I was experiencing exhaustion from my challenging course and general student lifestyle, which I think most people do without even realising. Ayurveda teaches you that everybody is different and has a unique set of characteristics (known as your dosha) and from this I began to learn the basis of what it is that I needed in the form of foods, herbs and lifestyle activities to live a more balanced and energised life. More specifically, it was when I started to put into practice the Ayurvedic principles on digestion and hydration that I really started to notice a huge shift in my health and wellbeing. I did this by focusing on having daily practices that would help strengthen my digestive fire called “agni”, which in modern terms would be your gut health, digestive enzymes and microbiome.
I have always loved cooking and as a result of learning about the health benefits of foods, I began to incorporate them into my diet. I started with being more conscious about eating spices and herbs throughout the day. For example, turmeric which is not only great for your digestion but also immunity, can be enjoyed in a drink called “Golden milk” or “Turmeric milk” which essentially is a warm drink with turmeric and other indian chai spices including cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, black pepper and milk. It’s delicious and can be enjoyed in the morning as a light breakfast, or before bed if you’re feeling hungry but don’t need to eat a full meal. I try to have turmeric daily, and another way I enjoy spices and herbs is by making fresh herbal tea. Fennel seeds and black cardamom are another two of my favourite spices and taste great together. When I’m working I have a pot of herbal tea next to me to sip on, which is not only great for my digestion but also helps to keep me hydrated throughout the day.
Another great way to support your digestion and hydration through Ayurveda is to drink water first thing in the morning, which is known as “Ushapan”. My mum used to give me warm lemon water in the morning even as a child, so fortunately this is a ritual I have been practicing most of my life. It’s great for flushing all the toxins in the body that have accumulated from the previous night and great for cleansing your intestines. In essence, Ayurveda is all about getting us back to eating and living in ways that are more in tune with nature, as we come from nature. One great way of being in tune with nature’s rhythms is by eating more seasonally. I have been enjoying eating lots of pumpkin and squash over autumn and one of my favourite ways to eat these vegetables is by roasting them in the oven with lots of cumin and masala spices. Nutritious and delicious! I also love incorporating superfoods into my diet, as it’s a really great way to incorporate vitamins and minerals to my daily routine. I am loving the raw organic Baobab powder and raw organic Moringa oleifera powder by Dhow Nature Foods, and have been experimenting making some unique ice cream flavours with them! Adding superfood powders into your diet also adds so much vibrancy and colour to the meals that you eat which makes it all the more enjoyable. Dhow Nature Foods have a wide range of superfoods available online in the UK!
The more I have learnt over the years about health foods and Ayurveda the more empowered I have felt, knowing that I can make the right choices for what to eat and also recognising that food is medicine. The beauty of this journey is that it has also brought me closer to my Indian heritage -- and for that I am very grateful.
Abilasha Bhohi, founder of Moonji, a vegan plant based and Ayurveda inspired ice cream brand, has shared her experiences of benefiting from Ayurvedic practices focused on digestion and hydration. As a result of this holistic lifestyle, she lives a more energised life. Moonji tubs are available in store at The Parlour at Fortnum & Masons, and the acclaimed vegan restaurant Farmacy in Notting Hill. Find out more on their instagram @wearemoonji.