Last weeks article on constipating snacks stirred up some emotions and got quite a bit of attention. If you missed it, you can read it here. It’s great to see that so many of you are interested in improving digestion and regularity.
One of the main questions that a lot of you asked after the ‘Healthy’ Snacks That Cause Bloating and Constipation article was about belly-friendly snacks. ‘What should eat instead?‘ Below are a few ideas for easy-to-digest snacks and some theory about snacking in general.
In traditional ayurveda there is no concept of snacks. Ayurveda advises to have 3 balanced meals a day to allow for efficient digestion and absorption. The modern concept of grazing or eating 5 small meals a day would be rejected in ayurveda due to its potential negative effects on digestion. One of the main reasons that ayurveda doesn’t recommend snacking is the time that it takes for each meal to digest. Depending on the ingredients and their combination food can take anywhere between 3-12 hours to digest. (Image of how long food takes to digest). If you eat something before prior meal is digested, you are prolonging the required digestion time and asking for bloating due to purification, and fermentation.
During one of the Ayurveda workshops, Dr Lad gave an interesting comparison to offer a better understanding of the concept. He said that eating before the prior meal is fully digested is like adding dry beans to a pot of cooking chilli. Many of us, misled by the promise of speeding up the metabolism by constant snacking end up with a half digested/half undigested putrefying soup in the stomach.
There are no scientific studies that show that our metabolism actually speeds up when we eat every 2 hours. Unless you are a weightlifting professional or can make sure that you eat small enough portions of food that can be fully digested in 2-3 hours, it would be best to stick to larger meals and fewer snacks.
If you have blood sugar issues and during the transition time to fewer snacks, you can experiment with these belly-friendly snacks. All of them are easy-to-digest, won’t cause bloating, and take a short amount of time to be digested.
10 Belly-Friendly Snacks For Sensitive and Bloated Tummies
- Sprouted soaked and peeled almonds (10-15). Chew slowly until liquid! Ayurveda recommends soaked and peeled almonds a day to build ojas (energy and immune system).
- Warm apple sauce with cinnamon, ghee, and ginger. Make your own or buy a ‘no sugar added’ one at the store.
- Stewed berries with a bit of coconut oil and cardamom. Put a bowl of berries with coconut oil and cardamom in the oven for 10 min or microwave for 1min (microwave should not be used for daily cooking, just when you are in a rush)
- Blueberries. Many of us have an elevated amount of yeast in the body due to stress and poor diet. Sugars even when they come from fruit can create bloating in people with high yeast. Blueberries because of their low sugar levels compared to other fruit are less likely to upset stomach even in someone recoveringg from yeast or candida.
- Avocado with pepper, lime, and good quality salt. Soft, nourishing, and rich, this fruit is surprisingly rich in protein and fiber. While quite heavy in texture, it is gentle on your stomach. According to ayurveda, avocado helps to build ojas. If avocado is too difficult to digest, add lime, pinch of salt, and cilantro. These ingredients will encourage the liver to release bile. Yummy!
- Date and coconut rolls with herbal ginger tea. You can buy them in most health stores. Make sure there is no sugar added.
- Pumpkin pie pudding. Pumpkin Pie Pudding: 1 cup of cooked pumpkin, 1 cup almond milk (add more if you want a smoothie instead of pudding), 1 banana, 2 packets of stevia or 1.5 Tbsp honey or maple syrup (to taste), 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice blend (or 1.5 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp ginger). Blend together.
- Roasted butternut squash with cinnamon and a few raisins. Bake and keep in the fridge for a quick snack.
- Banana smoothie with lime and cardamom. Bananas are smooth and mucilaginous for the mucus lining of the stomach. They are useful in acid reflux. Bananas (unless overripe) also pacify pitta. Lime and cardamom help to digest banana without provoking pitta dosha. Get the recipe here
- Boiled or baked beets with a piece of raw goat milk cheese and black pepper. You can substitute beets of baked squash or pumpkin.
What are your favorite healthy snacks?
If you are interested in improving your digestion and regularity, I would be happy to guide you in your journey. You can learn more about how I can help you here.