Did you know that food is actually the “medicine” that keeps your body healthy, your skin radiant and boosts your chances of living a long life? So the best thing you can do to improve your health is become your own doctor – and fuel your body with healthy food suited to your particular body type.
In Ayurveda the digestive process is very detailed and an Ayurvedic practitioner will know, from the by-products you have in your body, what is not working for you on a deeper level.
Determining when and where any trouble started, can greatly help treat imbalances or illnesses that develop. With this power and in-depth knowledge your food really becomes your first-line of treatment.
The whole digestive process, according to Ayurveda, takes exactly 36 days. So right now, you are what you ate exactly 36 days ago.
A closer look at what’s happening during the 36 days of digestion
During the first stage of digestion saliva mixes with food so that it can be broken down – this takes 1.5-2 hours. If you’re feeling low on energy and lethargic for more than half an hour after eating it probably means something isn’t quite right at this point in the process and food is staying there too long.
For the next 2-3 hours, the second stage, the pancreatic secretions further break down the food. Common signs of imbalances at this point are heartburn and acid reflux.
During the third stage of digestion the food you’ve eaten spends the next 1.5-2 hours making its way to your small intestines and then large intestine (colon). If you’re feeling gassy or bloated a few hours after a meal, that’s an indication that things are not quite right.
Make sure you listen to the subtle signals your body is sending you. They are much easier to correct at the first early instances of a problem.
The next part of the digestive journey, which continues on from seven or so hours after you’ve eaten through to Day 36, is called subtle digestion, and this is when each of the seven tissue layers (or dhatu) are nourished. So now we’re looking in greater detail at how the food that is digested, nourishes your body.
Dhatus, means “constructing element” in Sanskrit and these seven are responsible for the functioning of the systems and organs and entire structure of our bodies.
The dhatus are rasa (fluids) which contains nutrients from digested food and nourish all the tissues, organs and systems; rakta (blood) governs oxygenation in all tissues and vital organs and maintains life; mamsa (muscle) covers the delicate vital organs, performs the movements of the joints and maintains the physical strength of the body; meda (fat) maintains the lubrication and oiliness of all the tissues; ashti (bone) gives support to the body structure; majja (bone marrow) carries motor and sensory impulses; shukra and artav (reproductive fluids) contain the ingredients of all tissues and are responsible for reproduction. The by product of all the 7 tissues is the formation of ojas (the most refined by-product of digestion, our prime energy reserve and the seat of our immune system).
Each of the dhatus are built out of the previous one and they develop on the nourishment that comes from the digestive system. They are basically the result of the action of catalysts that convert one tissue to another.
So once food is eaten it is converted into the first dhatu, or fluids, once the formation of the fluids is complete, what is remaining is converted into blood. The leftover essence of the food makes muscles, the leftover of this makes bone marrow and then sperm/ ova.
It’s important to be aware that the second dhatu will only form once the first is of good quality and so on, if not formed properly the subsequent dhatu will have defective formation.
Understanding the seven dhatus is critical to understanding pathology and how our bodies work – next week we’re going to take a more in-depth look at how your food and digestion can best nourish each of these tissues.
If you would like some help with your diet and getting your health on track, we have the 28-day re-set program. We teach digestion and the 7 dhatus in a lot of depth in the program. It’s also run completely online through individual chats, emails, videos and group calls so you can join from anywhere in the world. Here’s the link if you want to find out more or jump in here.