Ayurveda encourages eating practices that maintain good digestive power. Indigestion is the result of eating too much heavy food that cannot be assimilated properly. Sometimes overeating is simply a habit of anticipating that we might have to miss a meal and so we overfill the stomach to avoid hunger later. Overeating causes discomfort, heartburn, gas, and weakens agni. Ayurveda says that whenever the agni is weak the food is left undigested or uncooked by the digestive fires. It is not converted into its constituent nutrients. The product of improper digestion is a sticky substance called ama (AH-muh). Ayurveda has described it as a sticky substance that becomes deposited in the body, blocking the channels and causing disease. It is the source of many disorders.
Other causes of improper digestion are eating when angry or otherwise upset, eating heavy sour dairy foods late in the evening when agni is weaker, that is, too close to bedtime, thus slowing the digestive process before its conclusion, and frequent snacking or eating when the stomach is still digesting the previous meal. Waiting three to six hours between meals with no snacking, except perhaps to drink a glass of water, juice, tea, or milk in between, is considered ideal because the digestive fire has time to be rekindled.
Wisdom is knowing the difference between the habitual demands made by the mind and the simple demands of the body.
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