Snack if you must
Most natural healing systems stress the need to let your digestive process finish off one meal before embarking on the task of digesting the next. Ayurveda is particularly strict about that angle, and seriously recommends about four hours between meals. That’s four hours with- sorry- no snacks.
On the other hand, natural healing is about doing what works for you as an individual, and Ayurveda says that no rule in the world is correct if it does not work for you. That means, for example, that people with high vata do better when they listen to their body and adapt this program. Vata tends to cause low (and fluctuating) blood sugar and fragile digestion. To counter these tendencies, vata people should eat meals that are on the smaller side, and stick to easily digestible foods. Head over to Yoga Journal for more background on Ayurvedic dietary teachings.
So… in order for those skinny vatas to be well nourished, they simply need to eat more often. Enter snacking. If you are a sensitive, creative, insomniac high vata type, go with three smaller than typical meals at regular mealtimes, with two daytime snacks and a before-bed snack. Consider a few bites of whole grain goodies with a little, but not too much, natural sweetener. Blood sugar and digestion stay oh so even and smoooooth…
Pitta people have a hot furnace for a stomach, so they usually can eat just about as much and as often as they like. Food goes through fast. Moderate meals and snacks as comfortable are OK, as long as the blast furnace they call a tummy gets enough calories shoveled into it, and they do not get hungry.
Because I have a kapha body, with slow, steady, smooth digestion, and stable blood sugar, I do best when I eat less frequently, say twice, or even only once, per day. When I tuck into this morning’s breakfast, I’m still digesting the breakfast I ate yesterday! Except for the occasional rare mid afternoon bite, snacks are out for me.
The folks over at One Stop Ayurveda have good information on good snacks by body type
• Kapha- fruit, not sweet, such as apple, pear and pomegranate, and filling, low calorie vegetables, such as celery
• Pitta- sweet fruit, such as peaches, or cooling vegetables, such as lettuce or green beans
• Vata- Warm, moist, starchy carbohydrates (whole grain oatmeal cookies), soaked, blanched almonds or warm spiced milk
No one does well with high sugar snacks that are all empty calories. Choose whole foods for your snacks and select high fiber or protein foods that maintain steady blood sugar.