The Art Of Digestion

                       Culinary Herbs & Your Brain

When you are thinking, the neurons in your brain are firing. This requires minerals, a LOT of minerals! Look around at everyone. Because they are always on their phone or computer, they never get a chance to stop thinking. Their neurons are practically begging for mineral support. Proper mineral balance is also required to be able to hold an alkaline PH which in turns allows the lymph to drain properly.

Do you want to feel your best and achieve high level thinking? If so, let's get your mineral consumption in order.

My favorite way to increase my mineral stores is to consume fresh cut culinary herbs! 

Below is a picture of my Basil and Chives out soaking up some sun.  When I am ready to eat then, I cut some off, wash them, and put them on top of my meal.   They are filled with PRANA and MINERALS.   If you are not growing any culinary herbs then think about starting.  You can buy them already potted at many grocery stores or just grow them from seed.  If you are not sure which culinary herbs to grow then please see the chart below that details the energetics of these amazing and delicious foods so you can pick the one that is right for you.

  Rasa - Taste Virya - Potency Vipak - Post Digestive Effect
Basil Sweet/Astringent/Pungent Heating Pungent
Chives Pungent Heating Pungent
Cilantro Sweet & Astringent Cooling Sweet
Dill Bitter & Astringent Heating Pungent
Fennel Sweet & Astringent Cooling Sweet
Marjoram Pungent & Astringent Heating Pungent
Mint Sweet Cooling Pungent
Neem Leaves Bitter Cooling Pungent
Oregano Astringent & Pungent Heating Pungent
Parsley Astringent & Pungent Heating Pungent
Rosemary Astringent & Sweet Heating Pungent
Savory Sour & Pungent Heating Pungent
Tarragon Sweet Cooling Sweet

The Energetics of Food

I have never seen a system of medicine that understands food better than Ayurveda!   Ayurveda’s system for understanding the energetic of food is briefly outlined below.

Rasa = Taste (knowing what cascade of chemical reactions each of the Six Tastes has on your body and blood chemistry is key to understanding the Ayurvedic nutritional system).  The Six Tastes in Ayurveda are Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Astringent, Pungent.  We want to have all Six Tastes at every meal but we are favoring Sweet, Bitter and Astringent in summer.

Virya = Potency or Power of the food (i.e. does it have a heating or cooling effect on your stomach and small intestines?).  If you are overheated, angry and broken out in a rash you might decide to choose a culinary herb with a cooling Virya like Cilantro.  If your digestion is cold and stagnant you might decide to choose a culinary herb with a heating Virya like Basil, Thyme or Oregano.

Vipak = Post Digestive Effect (the effect the food has on the colon as well as the effect it has on the body after it leaves the colon).  This one is fascinating!

If you have Vitiated Vata (i.e. depletion pattern meaning not enough of Herb Plantssomething – water, mineral, fat, grounding etc.) then you might choose a culinary herb that has a Sweet Vipak like Fennel or Tarragon.  Why?  Because foods with a Sweet taste or a Salty taste break down into a Sweet Vipak.  The Sweet Vipak has a nourishing, building (anabolic) effect on the body.   

OR you might choose the Sour Vipak, especially if you need to increase your digestive fire and metabolic umpph.   Foods with a Sour Vipak increase heat and glandular secretions (great for the dried out Vatas).   Not many culinary herbs break down into a Sour Vipak but some of the foods that break down into a Sour Vipak are tamarind and lemon.  

If you have a Kapha imbalance (i.e. accumulation pattern, meaning too much of something – water, fat, emotions, mucus etc.) then you might choose a culinary herb that has a Pungent Vipak.   Because foods with a Pungent Vipak have a drying, reducing (catabolic) effect on the body.  This is great for the boggy Kaphas!  Foods with the Astringent, Bitter or Pungent Taste break down into a Pungent Vipak.  Most culinary herbs have a Pungent Vipak, as you can see in the chart above.

Prabhav = Superpower of the food or the specific unexplained action (Prabhav is special and will gets its own blog later this summer).

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