. Dietary treatment plan for a slow digestion and increased Cold, Heavy and oily Universal Attributes
Ayur Veda Diagnosis:
Slow digestion: Manda Agni
Chinese Medicine diagnosis:
Slow digestion: Spleen Qi/Yang Deficiency + excess phlegm
Recommended dietary habits
This condition is treated with a warm, light and dry diet. Avoid rich foods which are cold, heavy and fatty. The appearance of phlegm in the system is an indication that the diet is too rich or that the digestive capacity is weak relative to the quantity and quality of food eaten. Since most rich foods taste sweet, salty and sour, it is best to emphasize in the diet the pungent and bitter flavors. Since most foods taste sweet in principle, consume less food in general. Eat small portions less often during the day.
The main meal is at noon and two relatively light meals in the morning and evening. It is best to avoid eating if there is no real appetite, for these reasons occasionally one may skip breakfast or dinner. Dinner should be early. Emotional eating is also a reason to eat without appetite, a habit to avoid.
- Eat only when truly hungry; do not eat before the previous meal has been digested, but only when there is a sense of lightness in the body and strong appetite. Keep a regular meal schedule and downtime to enable digestion and absorption.
- Avoid over eating. Eat only to the point that you are 80% satiated.
- Avoid snacking between meals. This practice will help you to relearn the sensation of hunger and fullness and will give your digestive system a valuable rest between meals. As you eliminate sugar and refined grains from your diet and your body becomes adapted to burning stored fat as fuel, you will likely find yourself hungry less often.
- Eat fewer meals, only main meals, usually 3 meals a day, sometimes 2.
- Eat dinner no later than sunset.
- Avoid eating at night.
- Eat consciously and attentively. Meals should be prepared deliberately and thoughtfully, and should be eaten in an environment that is relaxed.
- Pay attention to your posture during and after eating. Sitting in a twisted way impairs the function of the digestive organs.
- Chew the food well.
- Amount of food – relatively small meals, avoid eating too much and leave some space in the stomach. Stop eating before totally full.
- Simple and easy to digest meals – Avoid very varied meals or hard-to-digest food combinations.
- Cooked and hot food – most of the food should be cooked and served hot.
- Fresh food –cook often, you can store food in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Food texture – avoid foods that are wet, moist, compressed and fatty. Prefer food in a more dry texture, such as baked / stirred / steamed vegetables.
- Minimize or eliminate the consumption of dairy products from the diet.
- The nature of the food – eat foods of light and airy quality
- Flavors – emphasize in the diet the bitter and pungent flavors
- Energetics – prefer hot and light foods and use digestive stimulant spices such as ginger, black pepper and cinnamon.
- Spices –use spices generously to stimulate digestion and encourage the movement of food through the digestive tract.
- Use aromatics – aromatic herbs and spices, such as cardamom and hing, stimulate gastric emptying and propel stagnant food from the stomach into the small intestine.
- Avoid drinking water adjacent to meals – up to 15 minutes before eating, during meals and two hours after eating. If you are thirstyyou can drink any time a small cup of herbal tea as is customary in the eastern countries.
- Take a short, light walk after meals. A light walk after meals leads to better digestion and better health.
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Keep the abdomen and low back covered and warm
Foods to avoid
- Sugar, including high fructose corn syrup, agave syrup and maple syrup.
- Uncooked and cold food such as excessive raw vegetables and fruit. Cooking is pre-digestion of your food. By cooking the majority of your food, you lighten the load on your digestive system. Cooking can be light and short or prolonged, depending upon the items at hand. For instance, vegetables may be stir-fried or steamed shortly, while beans should be cooked longer. Although cooking may destroy some nutrients, it makes the remaining nutrients much easier to assimilate, so the result is better nutrition.
- Iced drinks are especially harmful to the digestive power.
- Unhealthy fats such as hydrogenated fats, fried foods and refined vegetable oil. These foods cause phlegm and block the body channels.
- Stimulants tend to exhaust the adrenal glands and hinder the body’s ability to generate heat (yang), therefore minimize or avoid caffeine.
List of foods
Cereals general quality is heavy and nutritious. The more fiber a cereal has, it is more difficult to digest. So for starters, it is best to begin with polished cereals and as digestion improves, maybe add more of the whole grains if a cleansing, diuretic and drying effect is needed. Bread is less appropriate for this condition since it is considered stickier and heavier and causes blockages.
The most suitable grain is basmati rice, preferably old basmati rice. (unless there is pronounced constipation). Other delicate grains such as rolled oats, rolled spelt, thin bulgur and semolina are relatively easy to digest and appropriate.
Second priority: buckwheat, quinoa, basmati brown rice, rye crackers and buckwheat rice cakes.
Third priority: millet, barley (grits), brown rice, red rice, black rice.
Forth priority: Indian bread (chapatti), or spelt bread made into toast.
Fifth priority: spelt grains, fryki (smoked green wheat), dried corn and rye grains.
Best avoid wheat bread and pastries made from wheat flour, or pasta from either durum flour or whole wheat flour.
Are relatively difficult to digest, and therefore their preparation is critical and they must be cooked well. The easiest to digest and most suitable are red lentils and green mung beans. If you are not accustomed to eating legumes, you should probably avoid them until your digestion first improves. Once stronger, prepare your legumes well, into a dhal style dish, and eat only a small portion per meal. Gradually as you feel more comfortable with digesting legumes, you can increase quantity and diversity.
Second priority: all other types of beans and chickpeas.
Most vegetables, steamed or baked, are good for balancing this condition because of their light and dry quality. It is better to eat well spiced vegetables to counteract their cooling quality. For starters eat less fibrous vegetables and as digestion improves add more bulky vegetables if needed.
First priority: carrot, onion, pumpkin, squash, potato, zucchini, sweet potato
Second priority: stalks of celery, broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, green peas, beets, asparagus,fennel bulb
Third priority: celery root, parsley root, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, radish, turnips, artichoke, chard
Less appropriate are tomato, eggplant, okra,red pepper
Most appropriate are bitter and pungent green leaves. Rocket, garden cress, water cress, mustard leaves, arugula, baby leaves, endive, coriander, parsley, dill, green onion, chives.
Second priority: Arabic lettuce, onions, carrots, kohlrabi, radish. Only when digestion is strong, a small amount of tomato and cucumber are appropriate.
The most suitable are the Nuri seaweed (lightly roast over a flame and crumble over the food on the plate) and Higiki added to cooking.
Animal food: (quality is very significant)
This condition does not require large quantities of animal protein unless tissue depletion is present. On the other hand, a vegan diet for many years may be harmful to some extent, since it contributes to a buildup of excess cold quality in the body. For most, the recommendation is to eat small amounts of turkey or chicken (preferably low fat, breast) and eggs, not very often, either once or twice a week in average, or less often. Fish may be consumed infrequently, and usually it is better to avoid beef, pork and lamb.
In some cases, when the diagnosis of excess cold is pronounced, when digestion is very familiar with processing animal protein and when the consumption of grains distinctly creates heaviness, a temporary diet based upon animal protein and vegetables may be the most appropriate*.
Milk and dairy products: (quality is very significant)
Dairy products can easily disturb this condition since they are by most heavy, wet and cold. Likely choices are small portions of boiled goat milk or goat yogurt or semi-solid Ricotta cheese. Best avoid cow or buffalo milk, white cheese, yellow cheese, labaneh, sour cream and ice cream.
Fruits should be consumed moderately since they are mostly sweet, cooling and moistening. On the other hand, fruits may increase the sense of lightness in the body when eaten separately from other foods. Sour fruits such as lemon and grapefruit can encourage fat burning. Other good fruits are baked apples or pears or dried fruits (blueberries, apples, pineapples, and apricots).
Small fruit which are relatively dry and light are plums, apricots, cherry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, and loquat.
Other options are grape, papaya.
Better avoid persimmon, guava, quince, pomegranate, orange, tangerine, pineapple, melon, watermelon, fig, mango, banana and dates.
Nuts and seeds:
Most nuts and seeds are not recommended for this condition,since they are heavy and sticky. Any type should be consumed in small quantities only. Most appropriate are lightly roasted sunflower seed, pumpkin seeds and freshly grinded flax seed. Less appropriate are sesame seeds, grinded chia seed and coconut flakes. Best avoid almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, acorns and Brazil nuts.
Oils should be consumed in very small doses. Use cold pressed organic oils only.The most suitable are sunflower oil, corn oil, mustard oil. To a lesser extent sesame oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, safflower oil. Least appropriate areghee, tahini, coconut, avocado and butter.
In this category there is no great variety to say the least. It is best to eat a little of this group. The selected sweetener is bee’s honey that has not been warmed, with a solid texture, preferably at least a year old.
Spices are an essential addition to this digestive condition, and can also allow and improve the digestion of less appropriate food items with minimal damage. Almost all the spices are good, especially the sharp ones, which heat and dry, increase the metabolic rate and prevent the accumulation of water in the tissues. At the top of the list are dry chili, black pepper, mustard, horseradish, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cloves, and cardamom. Also very good are hing, fenugreek, cinnamon, cilantro seeds, cumin, ajuwan, caraway, celery seeds, basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, tarragon, hyssop. Also mint, nutmeg and fennel have a positive effect. Salt should be minimized.
This condition needs less water, and should avoid cold drinks and ice drinks. Drinking black tea or herbal tea is recommended, especially ginger tea, cinnamon, sage, moss and so on. A little honey can be added to the tea, but it is better to avoid sugar and milk. Black coffee with cardamom is appropriate in low doses. Cereal milk such as spelt milk or quinoa milk or brown rice milk is best used occasionally or moderately. Suitable Alcoholic beverage is dry red wine, and on special occasions a short drink of liquor is acceptable.
Optional daily menu for this condition:
Drink options following awakening:hot water or herbal tea or chicory coffee or chai without milk or with a touch of cereal milk.
Oat meal porridge
Basmati rice with vegetable soup
spelt bread Toast / chapatti with olive oil and hyssop / homemade pesto / orange lentil spread / vegetable spread / honey
Fluffy Buckwheat with stir-fried / oven baked vegetables and green salad
12:00 in between snack:
A baked apple or 2-3 pieces of dried fruit
Suitable cooked grain (basmati rice/thin bulgur etc), 30% of the meal
Baked Vegetable, 50% of the meal
Legumes (if digestion allows), 20% of the meal
Non vegetarian meal:
Buckwheat / quinoa , 30% of the meal
Baked Vegetable or green salad, 50% of the meal
Chicken/Turkey breast 20% of the meal
A cup of green tea
17:00 in between meals
A few items of dried fruits and a handful of lightly roasted pumpkin seeds
A fresh fruit
Oat meal pancake
Oat meal porridge
Green Vegetable omelet and basmati rice/spelttoast/cracker with homemade pesto and green salad
One of the recommended cereals and oven-baked vegetables
Buckwheat noodles and stir-fried vegetables
Homemade chickpea crepe, one of the recommended spreads, cooked vegetables
Vegetable millet pie / millet-mung patties and green salad
22:00 before bedtime: