Digestion is enormously important to our sense of wellbeing. It is not simply a way of processing food and liquid. The manner of that processing has a direct bearing on our vitality, which also affects the clarity of our mind. Our emotional strength and balance, too, depend to a great extent on our digestive power.
Digestion and fire
The power of the digestion is sometimes said to rely on “digestive fire”, a prosaic but very apt description of the ability of the body to metabolise food. If our food is fully digested, we could almost say that we have a “clean burn fire”; but if there is only partial digestion, residues are left behind and these residues form toxins that stay in the body.
Too much fuel and confused messages
The analogy of a fire is a very good one. If there is a strong fire, more fuel can be added and it will burn easily, so producing heat. That means greater energy and vitality. But if we put on a lot of fuel when the fire is low, it will just smoulder. Instead of heat, it will produce a deal of smoke, soot and tar, probably leaving unburnt fuel, too. Similarly, in eating the wrong food – or at the wrong times – when the digestion is at a low ebb, we choke up our system. Why would we do that? Habit is one possible cause, eating for comfort is another. For whatever reason, confused messages reach the brain giving false sensations of hunger or appetite. We can help change this by acknowledging the natural cycles that govern digestion.
Rhythm or blues?
The normal daily cycle of the body largely reflects the diurnal rhythm of our environment. Our digestive fire is naturally strongest around midday when the sun is at its highest. Midnight feasts are not a good idea, then. Heavy breakfasts and big evening meals can also play havoc. On the other hand, by following more natural rhythms, our digestion will grow stronger and we will produce less of the toxins that can result from poor digestion. The result is better health.
This is an excerpt from Tips for Daily Living from my first book, The Great Little Book of Happiness
Mind, Health & Vitality: Promoting Vibrant Health Through the Power of Meditation and Qigong is a workshop in Staffordshire on Monday 11th June 2018. More details and how to book.