Ayurveda believes that if you clean up your gut, you will soon be on your way to a new you, writes REENA SINGH
When I got acquainted with Ayurveda principles some 12 years ago, I began to understand the connection between our food and our health. Then, three years ago, I saw a series of videos on depression and anxiety and their direct link with our gut health. The videos were directed by Jonathan Otto, and with that came the second shocker – that our gut was our second brain and was believed to generate up to 85 per cent of our dopamine. From this set of videos, I learnt that ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhoea that many seniors and plenty of young people too deal with inhibit dopamine production.
Seriously, that is never something my allopath doctor ever told me. And equally seriously, now that I am aware of this knowledge it is not as if I am suddenly eating any healthier, for I routinely succumb to all those mouth-watering ads of pizzas drizzled with cheese and to equally enticing pictures of samosas and pakoras. Aaah…..I can almost get their enticing whiff just by picturing them in my ever-active mind that is forever devoting ample space and energy to food – and several other tasty tidbits.
I must add here that in the past 12 years, I have gone less and less to allopath doctors and more and more to alternative health practitioners, much to the disbelief of several people I know. I also know that allopath doctors go out of their way to sermonize against Ayurvedacharyas, Homeopaths, Naturopaths, Accupuncturists, Reiki and Pranic healers, clinical hypnotherapy specialists and what not. But, as the saying goes, “trust your gut,” and I trust mine. I have met lots of such alternative health practitioners over the past decade and I have stuck with them because I found them effective.
So take your pick. Or at least keep an open mind and listen to what they have to say. Their wisdom could change your life. And your health.
What I learnt from the experts quoted in this video series was that your gut isn’t just about enzyme production and food digestion. It is also about dopamine and serotonin production. And thanks to those videos, I now know that several common physical and mental health ailments are linked to a faulty digestive system and lesser good hormone production. Sounds familiar?
Why does this happen? Ayurveda puts it down to the ama that most of us collect over the years. Ama is the Ayurveda term for the toxic waste that accumulates over the years inside our gut, and which eventually sticks to our intestinal walls, prohibiting the absorption of nutritive elements from our digested food.
This is what an Art of Living website, www.srisritattvapanchakarma.com, says about ama:
…“due to one’s lifestyle, erroneous dietary habits, poor exercise patterns, and genetic predisposition, the digestive enzymes, metabolic co-factors, hormones, and agnis which regulate the body’s internal homeostasis become disorganized. This can lead to the accumulation and spread of toxins throughout the physiology resulting in disease. This waste matter is called ama in Ayurveda. Ama is a foul-smelling, sticky, harmful substance that needs to be completely evacuated from the body. When ama accumulates in the body, it blocks the flow of energy, information, and nourishment throughout the system. Ayurveda considers this build-up of toxins the underlying cause of all disease.”
This ama affects you both on the mental and physical level and it is up to you to get rid of it by following a panchakarma routine, or by following home remedies like drinking lemon juice in hot water with salt for a week or by following a routine of having triphala churan mixed with a half tsp of cow ghee and washed down with warm water. Try it and also check out the Internet for more remedies.
The Art of Living website quoted above says that once the ama is gone, you will be rid of fatigue, obesity, aches and pains, morning lethargy, bloating, indigestion, shallow breathing and the inability to evacuate completely.
On the mental level, this wretched ama build-up can result in you slipping into an abysmal hole where stress and anxiety rule, and where cynicism, pessimism, anger and depression take hold. Watch out – you can either blame your ills on ama or get on to a cleansing routine of detoxifying your gut. Don’t let your life slip by, blaming it on the effects of age.
Reena Singh has more than 38 years’ experience in senior editorial positions in The Times of India (TOI) and Genpact. She was Deputy Editor with TOI’s spiritual newspaper, The Speaking Tree, where she spent more than nine years.