Le petit déjeuner

When I lived in the US the big breakfast was such a theme, especially on weekends. There was a restaurant in Portland people would line up outside. A friend staying with me brought home 1/2 a chicken in a  doggie bag. That's a doggie bags folks, and this guy had a pretty good appetite. If there was a way to stump your weekend morning, this was it. A gluttonous feast fit for King Henry VIII.

And it's common enough here now too. I've heard time and again the experts shout out the adage 'breakfast for a king, lunch for a prince and dinner for a pauper'. I'd like to twist that a little with a different view on how Ayurveda views the role of digestion in reference to your natural tendencies.

I'm teaching myself French and came across the term for breakfast, le petit déjeuner, which actually translates to the small lunch, and alongside the apperitif and digestiv, the French seem to have a strong connection to honouring the digestive system when they eat. 

The morning hours are the most sluggish. After sunrise, it is Kapha time and naturally more heavy, moist (slimy/mucousy), dense, strong, stable than the rest of the day. Our adrenals are the strongest at this time and generally weaken as the day unfolds. If we awaken during this time we take on the qualities mentioned and assume a natural sluggishness. This is an easy experiment - try waking up before sunrise and after. I guarantee you will have more energy before sunrise, EVEN if you haven't slept that well the night before. Guarantee.

So if you wake up feeling heavy and you put a lot of food on this kind of sluggishness, it will take HOURS for it to break down because the Kapha dosha is slow. You did not increase your body's ability to break down fat by eating like a king at this time, you actually increased it. To eat without a strong appetite, in Ayurveda, creates toxins. There must be a match between your fire and the amount and type of food your consume.

You might be a strong Pitta that needs three meals a day. These folks have a bowel movement on arising and they feel ready to break things down from their increase in energy. But if you have Kapha tendencies and perhaps have a bowel movement later in the day, it's really unwise to eat more heavy foods. You just slow yourself down and only really pick up late in the afternoon. Work will feel hard, especially if you have a regular hours kind of job, kids will suffer at school and not be able to learn in the morning.  

I'm going to suggest you stop thinking like this one formula fits all and follow your personal appetite. The sign of a healthy digestion is feeling light and without any discomfort after eating - no gas, bloating, heaviness, heartburn. If not, it is really important to get the system working right. The general medical practise out there of advising clients to avoid food without the understanding of what an appetite is for, or the necessary food habits that MUST work alongside eating, is a mismatch that will continue to produce more fads, more disatisfaction and more disconect and mistrust of the health industry as a whole.



Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.