ELD: Earlier, Lighter Dinner

age gracefully ayurveda digestion sleep Feb 03, 2019

Want better sleep, better digestion and easy weight loss? This is your ticket!

You may love to eat big, lavish meals with your friends and family in the later evening, at the time of day when you can finally relax. An Earlier, Lighter dinner may seem like the antithesis of living a good life. This may be absolutely true NOW, but read on and see if you feel the same way at the end of this post.

It used to be that dinner was the meal in the middle of the day, what we now call lunch. Everyone would pause, take a break, and gather for the largest meal of the day, then go back to work (usually manual labor). In the evening, there would be leftovers, or a pot of soup to have a small something to tide you over until breakfast. This evening meal was called Supper - supplemental.

With the increasing focus on productivity, lunch has been progressively marginalized in the name of "getting more done" during the workday. This causes to mid-afternoon energy slumps, which leads to unnecessary consumption of caffeine and sugar while we push on through the workday. Finally, when we get home (or go out) for dinner, we are "starving"! We eat a later, heavier meal and then go to bed.

This scenario, which many Americans are living out on a daily basis, sets us up for disaster on so many levels. Simply changing the way we do dinner can have a significant, positive influence on our health.

Let me explain. When you eat a heavy and/or late meal at the end of the day, it sets up a chain reaction that predisposes you to all sorts of health issues. Our digestive strength is most powerful in the middle of the day (lunch), so asking a lot of your digestion at the end of the day, when your bodily systems are hoping for a rest, is asking for a lot of overtime work. Going to bed with undigested food still in your stomach means that you are asking your body to multitask, digest AND rest. Your body systems are set up to clean house while you sleep. If you are digesting food, the cleaning doesn't happen. This undigested food ends up as toxic sludge in your gut (in Ayurveda, we call this Ama) and wrecks havoc with your health. The results can include disrupted sleep, weight gain, systemic inflammation, lethargy, brain fog, weakened immunity, and issues with digestion and elimination.

Alternatively, eating an earlier lighter dinner results in better sleep, weight loss, more energy, mental clarity, increased immunity, digestive health, and decrease of inflammation throughout the whole body. How is this done? It's simple! Eat a large, nourishing lunch and then have something simple for supper (this time of year I recommend vegetarian soups. In Spring and Summer, I recommend smoothies or salads). Finish eating by 6:30pm and don't eat again until breakfast. Have a cup of herbal tea later in the evening if you want something more. Go to sleep before 10pm and notice how your life changes without the need for drugs, surgery or expensive doctor's visits. Living in rhythm with the natural world is simple, inexpensive, and supportive of graceful ageing. ELD is the first habit we cover in the Vitality Circle and it is literally life-changing for many of the members. I encourage you to start trying it 2-3 nights a week and see what you experience. Let me know how it goes!!

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