This post was last updated on August 12, 2021 by Preethi Sukumaran
We spoke about open pores and oily skin yesterday and we looked at how they are variously approached by cosmetic science, dermatology and Ayurveda. We then looked at the role of Pitta dosha and how it influences oiliness on skin, breakouts and open pores. In case you missed that post, do read here.
At Krya, we focus on holistic beauty as seen in Ayurveda. And for holistic beauty, merely applying skin products and preparations get you only halfway there in your beauty quest. For real lasting beauty and a solid change, a change of diet, and suitable modifications to the way you live, will get you fully there.
Apart from what we eat, how we eat is critical to the way our body functions. Digestion is one of the most energy draining functions in the body. When food is digesting, the body literally has no energy or anything left to work on any other system. After food is digested, the body is left free to do its other tasks. Pitta dosha is almost exclusively responsible to ensure food is broken down and essential nutrients are extracted from it. By the functioning of the many components of Pitta dosha, the food we eat is churned, assimilated, separated into useful and not so useful components and then toxins are sent out into excretory systems. Here they are further checked for useful components and finally waste material is excreted through solid and liquid waste.
It seems obvious that the right “aharas” will power up our body well and the wrong “Ahara” will drain our body of energy. What is less obvious is eating the right “Ahara” in the wrong way will also drain our body of vital energy leaving hair and skin looking dull. What is the right and wrong way to eat food? We will see this in today’s post.
- Chew your food really well
Digestion begins in the mouth and not your stomach. The enzymes generated by your saliva not only help break down food but also signal the incoming food to your stomach and stimulates the production of gastric enzymes. When we chew food properly and well, we give the digestive system time to warm up and get prepared for food.
When food is chewed properly and becomes a semi liquid slush, it is easy to process and nutrient absorption is much higher. As it is better processed, there is less accumulation of ama / toxins (which show up everywhere including your skin).
- Eat the right quantity of food for you
Your stomach is the size of your dominant fist, clenched. Yes, this is the amount of space that is available in your stomach for food. At any meal, your stomach can comfortably take only this much food.
If you keep in mind the Ayurvedic method of leaving aside 10% of space for gases, and another 10-15% of space for liquids, you can eat only 75-80% of the volume of the space indicated by your clenched fist.
The amount of food required by your body changes by weather, activity and season. When your physical activity is low, or when the weather is very cold, the body tends to require less food. When your physical or mental activity is high, your body craves more nutrients.
Before you put food onto your plate, understand how hungry you actually are. Chew well and stop when you are feeling full – even if this means that you have cooked much more food than you can eat.
- When eating, eat
We saw in the earlier paragraphs that digestion is a very energy intensive activity. The body utilises every single piece of energy available and slows down all other systems in order to provide the maximum possible resources for the digestive system. So when we engage our brain excessively when eating, we are diverting energy from digestion.
This means that food takes much longer to digest or is partially digested, leaving us feeling sluggish and causing toxin build up.
- Eat each meal slowly; savour each bite
Eat in contemplative silence, where you focus on the flavour, aroma and texture of food. Even if you are strapped for time, think of your meal time as an investment – you invest this time to give your body greater energy, nutrition and health.
Eating slowly helps you chew better, focus on your food, and you tend to reduce over-eating when you eat slowly.
- Don’t let your food sit around in your body
Think of what happens to food which is left outside for a day or two after cooking. It slowly starts to decompose attracting bacteria and insect life and starts to putrefy and decompose. Undigested food sitting in the system can also putrefy and decompose similarly leading to toxin build up in the system.
Food undergoes partial or improper digestion when we gulp without chewing, eat much more than our capacity, eat when we have no appetite, or when we choose difficult to digest foods. Putrefying or decomposing food in the system attracts bacteria and toxins, slows down our thinking and puts an unnecessary load on every organ system.
- Eat at the right time (and when you are hungry)
All systems of traditional medicine advice eating at certain time windows. This is when the digestive system is most active, so it is able to digest very efficiently whatever you give at this time. Not following this window means you are using a less efficient time, which means that even if you eat good food, nutrient absorption is much poorer.
Breakfast is best eaten between 7 am – 9 am, Lunch between 12 – 1:30 pm, And dinner is best eaten before 8 pm.
- Give yourself atleast 2 hours post dinner to digest your food before going to sleep
Sleeping on a partially full stomach is the surest way to wake up with a zit the next morning. As we have said, if you are sleeping before digestion is complete, you are neither sleeping nor digesting properly, so your entire system suffers.
This is why our “eat before 8 pm” recommendation holds true – this gives you 2 hours to digest in peace and then sleep on a wonderfully light stomach at 10 – 10:30 pm. The sleep quality post this is amazing and the skin looks very clear in the morning (when this is done consistently).
- Hot water is clogged skin’s best friend
If you suffer from clogged pores and breakouts, sip a small glass of comfortably hot water 30 minutes before you go to sleep (and atleast 1.5 hours after your dinner). The hot water helps proper digestion and keeps down toxin build up (it basically aids the digestive process).
When this is done every day for 3 weeks, you should see a good improvement in skin clarity and a gradual reduction in break outs. If you have been eating sticky, oily or clogging foods, this is an especially good tip for you.
How you eat and your eating technique is atleast as important as what you eat. The right food eaten wrongly can equally putrefy in the stomach causing a huge build-up of toxins. When the stomach is not clear and digestion is improper, skin tends to look dull, congested, puffy and bloated and usually erupts in break outs.
We hope this post helped you appreciate the science behind eating. We will be back tomorrow with a post on how to cleanse skin correctly and why this is critical for good skin health and for skin to look its best. Stay tuned!
Krya’s range of skin care products for pitta prone, normal to oily skin can be found here. Our skin range for vata prone, normal to dry skin can be found here. Our anti acne skin care products can be found here. Apart from this, we have a range of products for Sensitive Skin (skin that is eczema, dermatitis & psoriasis prone) and for Sun Tanned skin . We also have a large range of Abhyanga-Snana products.
Our products are inspired by Ayurveda. completely natural, toxin free and extremely effective. If you would like help choosing the right Krya product for your skin, please call us (075500-89090) or write to us.