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never drink around meal times

You have something in your system known as Agni (or digestive fire). Now, imagine you re trying to cook something on a fire (the cooking process in the body is represented by the breaking down and processing of food), and you kept sprinkling cold water on the fire at the same time. The fire would become damp and it would find great difficulty in breaking down the logs or material it is trying to burn. Likewise, as you eat a meal, you should not be putting water in your body at the same time.

However the rule in Ayurveda goes that simple warm water, sipped, during a meal is actually beneficial. This is because it helps keep the fire up, and just allows the food to move along the system smoother. But you are not drinking this because you are necessarily thirst, just as a digestive aid. The other thing that is recommended is something called “Lassi”or “Chhas”. This is a drink made from homemade yogurt whisked with water (with salt and cumin powder added to taste). This also helps digestion as it is full of enzymes – but again, only sipped, not gulped down during the meal.

When you taste food in your mouth slowly, the body’s intelligence produces the appropriate acids and enzymes in the stomach to match the food it recognizes that you about to swallow. So if you are constantly drinking during the meal, these special acids etc are simply washed away, and not allowed to work on breaking down the food.

Drinking before a meal is also a useless habit. Think about the fire. Just before putting the logs on the fire to burn, you pour some cold water….makes no sense. The body’s appetite (hunger fire) is put out by the water, so when food arrives, the body fire is out. Drinking after a meal (cold drinks) is also not recommended. You can drink some warm teas at best, but certainly nothing cold or icy…unless you wish to compromise your digestion.