View this post on Instagram
Oh yes, right there. That’s the spot. Yes, just a touch more…there, that’s it. That’s perfect.
I leaned back into my chair, took a long, slow inhale, and moaned a sigh of satisfaction. I closed my eyes and relished the after-bliss. I nearly cried, I felt so whole.
It wasn’t only my body that felt good and happy, my brain felt nourished, too. So did my soul. I didn’t want this sensation to end.
You guessed it: I just had a foodgasm.
I didn’t think I could ever get there. When I was younger, I wasn’t even sure what they were. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out.
But now? I know all about the foodgasm, and experience it regularly.
Want to get in on this? Then it’s time to introduce the Ayurvedic concepts of ama and agni.
Ama & Agni
When I offered Ayurvedic consultations, the number one question I received was, “What should I be eating for my dosha?”
Unlike one-size-fits-all diets, an Ayurvedic eating plan is set up to support and balance the unique constitution of each person according to their dosha, or, the unique combination of elements that make up our bodies. There are three primary doshas: Vata (air + ether), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (water + earth).
Knowing our dosha is key to knowing which foods turn us on and which turn us off, digestively speaking.
But, what I often told my clients who were coming to me with myriad complaints from skin disorders to weight issues to digestive pain to anxiety, was this: It hardly matters what you eat right now.
It hardly matters if eating anything at all makes you feel lethargic and heavy or gives you digestive discomfort.
It hardly matters if the process of eating is surrounded by stress and self-judgment. Even the most organic, clean food cannot surmount this kind of toxicity.
It hardly matters if what we’re seeking is a quick solution rather than a long-term lifestyle change.
And it hardly matters if our agni (digestive fire) is so bogged down with ama (toxins), we can’t even benefit from the goodness.
Agni is responsible for proper digestion and metabolism. Proper digestion, fueled by a healthy agni, is the single most important determinant for good health, because it’s through the process of digestion and absorption that the body builds and repairs tissue.
Like a fire in the real world, if our agni burns too hot, it can eat away at our tissues—creating heartburn, indigestion, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome, and other inflammatory digestive issues. This is often the case for Pitta dosha.
If our agni isn’t burning hot enough, we will experience a sluggish digestive system, and suffer from bloating, constipation, or weight gain, all of which are also symptoms indicative of ama. This is often true for Kapha dosha.
And if our agni is variable and erratic, we may suffer from gas, variable elimination, bloating, or cramping. This is indicative of Vata dosha.
When agni is functioning efficiently for any dosha, the digestive process leaves little to no ama behind. A clean-burning digestive fire burns steadily and effectively — allowing the body time to absorb needed nutrients while sending the toxins along for elimination.
When agni is not functioning properly, ama builds up, which is then stored in our tissues, contributing directly to the disease process. This results in skin issues, weight gain/loss, congestion, difficulty thinking, low sex drive, and nervous system disorders.
Imagine a fire in real life being loaded with wet wood. What difference does it make if you toss a couple of healthy logs on that fire until and unless we remove the wet ones?
No matter your dosha, working to build a properly functioning agni while reducing ama is the first step of healing—not whether you eat kale or broccoli.
This also happens to be the best way to have regular, consistent foodgasms: a sign from our body that the food has hit our erogenous zone.
How to Reduce Ama & Increase Quality of Agni
In Ayurveda, we’re looking for a Goldilocks, “just right” kind of digestive fire. One that can burn food cleanly and completely with as little residue (ama) as possible.
Here are four simple things we can do to improve our agni and reduce our ama:
Eliminate non-pranic food
It might not matter what you eat, but it does matter what you don’t eat. Sugar, alcohol, meat, gluten, dairy, caffeine, processed, reheated, and other “dead” foods (foods with little or no lifeforce or prana) may as well be made of ama, for all the good they do us and our digestive fire. Instead, eat fresh, organic foods, and prepare them with love and appreciation. Eat living, whole foods; that’s what kindles our fire.
Satisfy All Six Tastes
One simple way to find more digestive satisfaction in our food is to eat meals that satisfy all six tastes: bitter, astringent, pungent, salty, sweet, and sour.
The reason we’re often not satisfied with our food life is that it’s too often concentrated in just a few tastes, at most. Western food particularly tends to skew sweet and salty, which leaves us feeling unsatisfied no matter how much we eat. Besides, each taste provides a different function in the body, and all are necessary for overall health—from the surface layers of our body to the deepest ones.
We can include these tastes in our diet quite simply: a squeeze of lime on our veggie tacos, a dash of cayenne in our lemon water, a few cranberries sprinkled into our oatmeal, or a bit of turmeric added to our soups and stews.
A meal that is balanced in its tastes not only gets the job done for our digestive and tissue needs, it also is deeply satisfying for our tongues and our brains. All of my foodgasms are thanks to meals that include a variety of tastes.
Drink CCF Tea
An oft-used Ayurvedic beverage to rekindle agni and cleanse ama is CCF tea, which stands for Coriander, Cumin, and Fennel tea. While you can purchase pre-made CCF tea, it’s fun foreplay to make it ourselves.
- Mix equal parts coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds. Toast in small batches until the seeds release their aroma but do not burn.
- Store the mix in a sealed container.
- When you’re ready to make tea, add four teaspoons of the tea mix to four cups of water and bring to boil.
- Turn heat to low, cover, and let simmer for up to 20 minutes or to taste.
- Strain into a thermos, and drink throughout the day.
Kitchari is a staple recipe in Ayurveda, for which recipes can be found online. Because it’s so easy to digest, eating a diet of kitchari for a meal or a few days gives our digestive systems a break, which allows agni to rekindle naturally and usher ama out of the body.
The basics of kitchari are as follows:
>> Any grain (basmati rice and quinoa are my go-tos)
>> A small cooking bean (mung beans, yellow lentils, red lentils)
>> Vegetables (carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens are my favorites)
>> Warming (but not spicy) spices such as cardamom, coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, and ginger
>> Lime, cilantro, Himalayan salt, and/or pumpkin seeds for garnish
Kitchari can be made on the stovetop, in a rice cooker, or with an Instant Pot. Once you have the ingredients, you can mix and match the grains and lentils to your heart’s desire. I’ve done week-long kitchari detoxes, in which I ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes, it’s the simplicity that gets us there.
Kitchari it’s almost guaranteed to give you a foodgasm, which to me is a great big thank you from our bodies for helping it out.
Following these few ideas is a great way to start claiming better digestion and a cleaner body, after which you will most certainly find more pleasure and excitement in your eating habits.
Everyone deserves to get to the Big O—partner optional. This is how we make it happen.