In this third of four blogs about our ojas (read the previous blog post HERE), I’m going to focus on a vital component of building a strong digestive fire: how and what we eat. Let’s go!
Food, Glorious Food
Although there are now ‘healthier’ options available at restaurants like McDonald’s or Jack in the Box, do your best to avoid food grabbed on the fly, especially fast food. Get the highest quality, organic, non-GMO food you can afford.
Become One with Your Meal
Don’t wolf it down! These days, people often don’t connect with their food. Taking the time to be mindful sets you up to receive the food properly and actually stokes the digestive fire.
Take a few minutes to be thankful for your food. As you eat your yummy meal, the digestive fire gets hotter, allowing food to be metabolized in an appropriate way. Then you won’t have pieces of undigested food sitting in your body creating ama (toxins) that then get pushed through the digestive tract.
What’s the benefit? Keeping the body in balance blocks illness from coming in. Illness only happens when we’re in an imbalanced state or not taking in proper nutrition. Healthy food is your prime energy source.
Some especially healthy foods include organic milk, almonds, sesame, honey, rice, pineapple, mango, kale and spinach. It’s not necessary to eat these foods exclusively but incorporating more of them into your diet increases the quality of your nutrition.
Cooking with clarified butter, known as ghee, builds ojas. You’ll get the yummy taste of butter without the unhealthy fats. Omega 3s, mono- and poly-unsaturated fats are great sources of healthy fat, and remember to use coconut oil for cooking. Olive, almond, chia and flaxseed are also excellent oils to not only build ojas, but they’re great for heart health as well. Women with a higher intake of healthy fat have firmer, smoother skin!
A Magical Recipe
Stay away from white or any processed sugars. They promote inflammation, which can lead to a whole host of diseases, and will decrease your ojas. Use stevia or agave instead, or add mango or coconut to your plate so you can have a sweet without adding something bad to your diet.
When I talk about sweets, know that I really had to work on it because I’m a sugar addict! Rice pudding contains the good fats I talked about and gives you the sweetness you want. Gather these ingredients:
- ½ cup basmati rice
- 4 cups organic milk (I prefer almond or coconut milk because I’m lactose intolerant)
- 4-6 cardamom seeds – bruise them a little to allow the essential spice to come out
- 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/8th to ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder)
- 2–4 TBS honey or organic agave syrup
- 1 handful of pistachios or almonds. Almonds are good for all doshas.
Rinse off the raw rice. In a heavy-bottomed pan, add the rice, milk, cardamom and cinnamon and bring to a boil over low heat. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure it doesn’t burn. Check the texture and cook until the mixture is slightly thick but easy to stir. Remove the cinnamon stick and the cardamom pods (unless you used the powders). Stir in the agave or honey and let it cool. Toss in the nuts. I also like to add raisins or goji berries.
When I was pregnant with my daughter this was the only thing I could eat in the morning that didn’t cause morning sickness and was very nurturing to both of us. Funny that now my daughter doesn’t like rice pudding!
Do you have a favorite healthy go-to snack that’s healthy and satisfying? Share in the comments below how you build healthy ojas!
Wishing you peace to your mind, wellness to your body and tranquility to your spirit.
Rochel Marie Lawson, RN, AHP, CMS
The Queen of Feeling Fabulous and The Wellness Architect