Maybe your hour-long commute on public transportation has become five steps from your kitchen to your home office, or maybe the quiet time you once had while your children were out at school has become a rallying of sleepy heads around devices and praying the WiFi will hold out for the next several hours. Eating a proper meal around the same time every day might have fallen to the wayside, especially if a work-from-home situation means all-day access to the pantry. All of these changes and more have not only put a strain on our sense of routine, but the particular strain on morning and breakfast can be a recipe for imbalances indigestion. Over time, this can impact our ability to focus, our mood, and the health of all our body’s systems. How and when we “break the fast,” after a night’s worth of internal detoxification during sleep, is key to regulating our digestive fire, known as agni in Ayurveda. Besides literally “cooking” our food through the fire element it comprises, agni is responsible for the transformation of all the things we take in through our senses—whether it’s the day’s calculus lesson, the instructions for a new project at work, or what we see on the news or social media. And when agni does not get fed at regular intervals—normally somewhere between three and five hours between meals, with around twelve between dinner and breakfast—it’s prone to get a little . . . finicky. Like any fire, agni needs a balance of being tended and left alone to burn, and if meals are inconsistent it’s like adding a bunch of logs to a furnace all at once, then letting it go down to a smolder, then giving it a little more; the fire won’t provide consistent energy, which in your body means your metabolism will become wonky. This might look like irregular appetite or elimination, sleepiness after eating, gas and bloating, reflux or burping, or craving of sugar or other stimulants, all of which indicate that the food you’re eating is not being properly broken down and absorbed. In Ayurveda, we often use herbal supports to help give the fire of agni a boost if it’s starting to fade, whether it’s because of irregular meal times or other stressors. Some of the best plants to support agni are probably in your kitchen cabinets right now—herbs like turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon, all of which have heating and sharp qualities that support digestion. When we consume these spices as part of our meals, they help break down the food so it doesn’t get stuck in our system, causing a build-up of undigested material called ama, which is the source of many different imbalances throughout the body, ranging from stomach upsets to skin irritations to brain fog. Turning to these herbs at breakfast can be especially helpful, as you’ll set up your agni to work well throughout the day, helping you feel energized and alert for whatever arrives on your figurative and literal plate. Your Weekly Dose Of Wellness Receive the latest savings, events, herbal education and 10% Off your first purchase. If your mornings are unpredictable, though, it can feel like an extra challenge to have to gather a bunch of ingredients to make a meal, even if they’re just spices. That’s why I love Anima Mundi’s Golden Sun Milk powder, which includes Ayurvedic powerhouses for digestion support, as well as herbs that enhance mood and libido (how’s that for a good morning?), all mixed up in one pretty jar. If you’re a fan of turmeric lattes, think of this breakfast as your favorite golden milk—in an edible form. It’s also a twist on the popular smoothie bowl, which is normally a blend of raw fruits and veggies served up cold. While smoothie bowls look gorgeous, they’re not always supportive of digestion, since the cold, heavy qualities of the raw foods, usually combined with some kind of milk or yogurt (plant or dairy), literally extinguish agni like a wet blanket; eaten in the morning, cold foods can also exacerbate congestion, sinus concerns, allergies, and create an overall bogginess in the system that results in low mental and physical energy. Sorry if I burst your smoothie bubble, but I will make it up to you with this: the warm smoothie bowl. Made of oats and stewed fruit, this blended breakfast is just as pretty as its cold cousin but designed to support digestion. Coupled with the Golden Sun Milk, which also contains cordyceps, an adaptogenic mushroom known to support muscles pre- and post-workout, and silky, nutrient-dense Coconut Cream Powder, this delicious combination of deeply nourishing whole plant foods will help you reclaim the vitality of the morning you might have lost. Plus, it comes together in just ten minutes, leaving you more time to enjoy—and digest—your meal before you start your day. Prep time: 2 minutes Cook time: 8 minutes Serves: 1 Jennifer Kurdyla is an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, yoga teacher, and writer. Plant-based since 2008, she learned to love food by experimenting with vegan and Ayurvedic cooking in her tiny New York kitchens. She is the co-author of Root & Nourish: An Herbal Cookbook for Women's Wellness (Tiller Press), and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Read more about her wellness services and educational resources at www.benourished.me and on Instagram @jenniferkurdyla.
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