Best Time to Eat: Ayurvedic Meal-Timing Tips

Ayurvedic theory says that regular meals keep the digestive fire stoked.
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Ayurvedic theory says that regular meals keep the digestive fire stoked.
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Last year, after some heavy heartache and several months on the "breakup diet," I found myself unable to face another

handful of trail mix and in dire need of some home cooking. I signed up for a series of conscious-cooking classes taught

by San Francisco chef and yoga instructor Jeremy Moran and certified Ayurvedic practitioner Abbie Scianamblo, and set

about rebuilding my relationship with food.

At the height of my breakup malaise, I would often forget to eat until late afternoon, when I'd begin grazing. But the

classes, founded on the Ayurvedic practice of food sadhana (a mindful approach to procuring, preparing, and eating food),

encouraged sticking to regular mealtimes. Ayurveda, literally translated as "the science of life," emphasizes the

importance of rhythm and awareness when it comes to food, to keep the agni or "digestive fire" burning.

According to Pratima Raichur, owner of Pratima Ayurvedic Spa in Manhattan, digestion is at its peak between noon and 1

p.m. As the sun begins to set, our digestive fire cools, so it's best to eat lighter meals in the evening, and not after

7 p.m. if possible. "If we don't digest properly, we don't get the nutrients we need," says Raichur, adding that eating

according to our body's rhythms keeps us feeling strong and healthy and can help us sleep better, too.

Summer, with its bounty of fresh produce, is the perfect time to make regular meals a priority rather than squeezing

them in or skipping them entirely. Combine fresh vegetables with a quick-cooking grain like quinoa for a wholesome meal

that leaves you plenty of time to savor it.