PCOS & your Digestive Fire

5 elements that make the universe and human life constitute the meaning and reason behind everything, according to the ancient Indian science of Ayurveda, these five elements combine and play their parts that get the human body functioning beautifully.

One of these five elements is ‘Agni’! It is connoted as the source of life and also denotes the Hindu God of fire. According to the Vedas and Ayurvedic culture, ‘Agni’ is the origin of light and warmth, and is also the base for cooking food; the fuel of the engine of human life.

One of the most commonly prevailing phenomena in women and young girls today is the occurrence and symptoms of PCOS. While many theories, levels of symptoms may exist to explain it, an Ayurvedic approach to decoding PCOD states that it is a Kapha disorder. The Kapha is a heavily coolant dosha present in our bodies, which is responsible for the female reproductive system’s smooth functioning and that needs to be balanced with a strong and balance ‘Agni-the digestive fibre’

Ayurveda studies explain that when our Agni /fire in the body is not balanced or not strong, it leads to an excess of Kapha that tends to imbalance our body’s Vata and Pitta. Also, the coolant factors of the  Kapha tend to overshadow the digestive fire(Agni), leading to indigestion; formation of toxins(Ama) in the female body and other related factors like excessive body and ovarian heat; affecting the gut(second brain affecting our mood) , cysts on the ovaries and hormonal coordination.

If you are looking for ways to align your body and hormones after a pcos diagnosis or its symptoms, or even looking for ways to remain healthy with a healthy and glowing balanced body (bodily functions, mind and gut), let’s explore some simple and easy-to-do and understand Ayurvedic ways to explore, be friends with and strengthen our Agni-Digestive Fibre in our body.

We must have heard many times that ‘you are what you eat’, however, in the mystical world of Ayurveda, you are not what you eat but you are what you digest. 

Thus, even at times, you may have heard that a particular food stuff or beverage did not get digested properly which may have led to an erratic mood, or physical and mental ill-health.

In the infinite realm of knowledge of the Ayurveda, we learn that ‘Agni’ is also popular and revered as the digestive fire residing calmly in the human body’s belly. This digestive fibre called Agni or Jatharagni is the epicenter of one’s efficient health; be it physical or emotional and thus should be treated with wisdom and care. This element or digestive fibre of Agni can consume and break down experiences of one’s life, and thus it directly impacts your emotions, moods, digestion and physical and mental reactions to any external or internal stimuli.

Agni is essential and imperative for the processes of absorption, digestion, assimilation and transformation of food into energy.

It is responsible for much more than deconstructing food particles. Agni is the super-transformative power force in the body— that plays the role of a driving force in digesting food, thought-formations and emotions. 

Agni fibre is hot and sharp! The Agni element is crystal clear, shimmering and bright and light!

When the Agni is strong, the body is able to heal itself, the mind stays steady, and the energy in the body stays balanced. The strength of your Agni is Your Strength!

If you’ve wondered that, why our diet and hunger seems to go for a toss at times, without any conspicuous reason or why sometimes our mood fluctuates on the minutest stances, let me reveal the secret behind this subconscious shift in our being:

  • Digestion, absorption and elimination are all normal and healthy
  • Your aura attracts and skin glows
  • You digest food easily
  • Regular weight
  • Clear, sharp, alert senses
  • tongue is pink, soft, smooth and moist with little to no white coating in the morning
  • Good  and vibrant energy, bright and happier mood

Would you like to know which other functions of your body are directly influenced by the majestic dosha/digestive fibre of Agni?

You would be pleasantly surprised to discover that:

Immunity, strength, mental clarity, complexion and metabolism are all directly impacted and controlled by Agni.Even the birthplace of many many diseases and infections can be traced back to a slow Agni.

When your fire element in your body is slow, you may feel:

  •  Lethargic
  • Heavy body and heavy mind
  • No appetite
  • Wrong cravings and incomplete digestion

So, what do we do on Daily Basis that SLOWS down Your Digestive Fire?

  1. Eating in a rush : 

Well, we’re dwelling in a competitive world and even faster 

Paced lifestyle. In such a case, eating at a hush-hush speed becomes our regular habit and that is something we must certainly refrain from.

We ought to be aware of the intervals we are eating at and require a peaceful and calm atmosphere to eat to truly consume the nutrients in our food stuff. Apart from what you eat, it is also highly about how you eat it.

  • Eating When Stressed:

When you’re tense or emotionally triggered, your nervous system is in fight-or-flight mode, not rest-and-digest mode. So it will be harder for your body to digest food properly. Only eat when in a happy and relaxed mood.

  • Consuming Cold drinks

Agni is hot and according to Ayurvedic Principle, “Like increases Like, Opposites Balance”. Having  cold drinks reduces the strength of your  Agni, hence reducing the ability to digest, absorb and assimilate food.

Instead of ice water, reach out for normal or sip hot water throughout the day. You will notice less bloating and sluggishness after your meals, a healthy complexion, and provide more energy.

  • Overeating:

Our body is a storehouse and a workshop constantly in vigorous activity. Overconsumption of any kind can only imbalance and disrupt the structure of Agni and other doshas. Yes, at times, we may feel as if our stomach is full but the mind may desire more; and it is then, that we must avoid overeating, so as to not overburden our Agni and lead to its exhaustion/too much pressure.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR AGNI STRONG?

1)Eating your meals timely:

Eat a nourishing breakfast in the morning; your biggest meal of the day at high noon (12pm-2pm), when the sun (and your digestive fire) is the strongest; and a lighter dinner before sunset, before Agni fades. Don’t eat your meals and snacks too close together—this can overwhelm your Agni and lead to gas, bloating and other forms of indigestion. 

Here’s what I eat in the morning to awaken my digestive system and it also cleanses my Gut preparing me for the day.

Eat this on an empty stomach, and if still hungry, have breakfast after 30 minutes of having this.

  • Stewed  apples with Spices:

Recipe:

Get and mix:

  • A dollop of ghee or coconut oil in a small pot
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • Pinch of Cinnamon

Then lightly simmer some oil takes on the flavor of these spices

In the mix, 

  • add two small apples (cubed )
  • add 1 tbsp water

Cover, stir occasionally until reaches desired consistency (soft, but not mushy)

Bless and enjoy!

2)Having herbal waters and teas, really forms an important part of the diet:

Having warm water or boiling the water reduces its heaviness making it easier for the body to digest.

Ayurveda teas are the traditional method of delivering the medicinal effects herbs and spices to your body’s tissues.

One particular herbal drink that can really help in improving the digestion:

CCF TEA (CUMIN-CORIANDER-FENNEL)

Recipe:

  • ½ Tsp Fennel
  • ½ Tsp Whole Coriander Seeds
  • ½ Tsp Cumin
  • Lime(Optional)
  • Honey(Optional)

Boil the cup of water for 10 minutes. Steep it for a few minutes. Bless and Enjoy!

 >> By supporting healthy digestion and elimination of toxins, CCF Tea is actually involved in the nourishment and maintained well-being of all the bodily systems—from clarity of mind and absorption of food nutrients, to healthy urination and weight management.

3)If you want to improve or stimulate your hunger and improve digestion:

Chew a little piece of ginger with a bit of lemon and rock salt.

4)Doing Pranayama:

Pranayama -practices like Kripalbharti and Bhastrika can really help in improving your digestion.

5)Light Walking/Exercise:

Walking for at least 15 to 20 minutes after a meal helps food move through the stomach faster. 

6)Magic Mantra- A Good adequate sleep:

Sleep has a lot to do with good digestion. The rest-and-digest function of the central nervous system peaks when we are sleeping. Poor sleep, on the other hand, leads to all sorts of issues that create digestive problems.

7) Having a set routine/ Dinacharya: Having a set routine helps to transform mind, body and consciousness into higher levels of functioning. It brings awareness and clarity.

8) Having Seasonal Foods:

From an Ayurvedic point of view, fresh foods that have been ripened by the sun contain more prana (life force). Seasonal foods are not only good in flavours but they are richer in antioxidants.

9) Practice mindful Eating:

If you’re dealing with digestive unrest, look at how you manage stress. Slow down, in both your life and your eating patterns. Practice mindful eating in a calm, quiet environment. Give yourself a warm oil massage. Do some gentle yoga and slow, deep breathing!

                                        
Here was my understanding of the magical and mystical power house called Agni. Did you resonate with it? Hope this helps you be fit and healthy in the smallest way, and I’d be happier ☺

 This article has been contributed by Shreya Agarwal who is Food Innovator and is passionate about health and well being  from a holistic perspective. After pursuing her MBA in Business from Madrid , she faced a lot of health issues. She overhauled her lifestyle  by switching to plant based foods .
With a fascination for natural foods, Shreya pursued masters in Food production from LCB. She also took  courses In meditation and yoga to understand the overall philosophy of health . A food loving , travel loving vegan inspired chef, who lives her lifestyle in accordance with yogic and spiritual beliefs and  currently studying Ayurveda to make life happier and healthier.