Timing is everything. This statement is even more valid when it comes to food and digestion.
Many people simply eat with time instead of eating when feeling hungry. Hunger is a negative and unpleasant feeling which is likely to be avoided.
But did you know that your hunger initially emerges in your brain? So the brain makes us act even though my body is not ready to process food yet. The result is, that the food does not get properly digested. Make sure to simply just eat when you are hungry.
Sequence is important
Sequence is basically in which order to eat your food so that your body can optimally process the food.
When I was a kid my mum used to say 'Im Magen kommt alles zusammen' which practically means everything you eat will come together in your stomach. Fortunately, today I know better. Indeed foods are digested in sequence.
Reseachers and Nutritionist have proved that the food is layered in our stomach. It is then digested in exactly in the same order we eat it starting from the bottom to the top. Take watermelon or fruit salad for example. It is often eaten as a dessert or healthy snack after a meal. Nonetheless many people find themselves having the urge to burp, feeling uncomfortable or bloated afterwards. This does not necessarily mean that you can not tolerate that fruit. But why come?
Now, let me explain what happens in your stomach:
Different foods take different times to digest. Fat or protein like for instance fish needs a lot longer than greens and veggies. So, fruit is something which is easy to digest as they contain high amounts of fructose (fruit sugar) and water. However, eating fruit AFTER a meal, it has to wait until meat, vegetables and potatoes are digested first. Is waits and waits and waits in your stomach...
Stomach cramps, indigestion of tiredness after food are the result of a struggling digestive system.
According to Dr. Stanley Bass the ideal sequence of food is first eating the easy digestible or the most watery food first.
Ideal sequence, food and their time to digest:
Water - when stomach is empty is is directly absorbed
Juices - 15-20 mins
Fruits - (e.g. watermelon - 25 mins, apple 40 mins)
Vegetables - (salads 30-40 min, cooked, 45-50 mins)
Starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes, corn or squash- 60 min )
Grains (rice, oats - 90 mins)
Legumes & Beans (e.g. lentils, (chick) peas and kidney beans)
Seeds & Nuts - 2-3 hours
Dairy (e.g. milk 90 mins, cheeses 4-5 hours)
Animal proteins (e.g. fish 1-2 hours, eggs, chicken - 2 hours , red meats 4-5 hours)
Whenever you eat, keep the sequence in mind.
Hence, Ayurveda recommends to eat your fruit (best in the morning) before other food. So, rather start the meal with fruit instead of having it as a dessert. Having fruit BEFORE will also provide your body with healthy enzymes that help to break down the following food..
Then according to the sequence above, continue with salad and vegetables before you move on to the food which takes a lot longer to digest like grains, beans and animal products.
Very quickly you will see that all your bloating and cramps will be gone. And your body will be able to process all nutrient even more effectively.