It used to be a usual thing that every three weeks in the season of winter I was fighting a cold.  It seemed like I was always sick. I had an Ayurvedic cold formula that really worked well but I was tired of feeling phlegmy and under-the-weather so frequently. I was a Debbie-downer, sneezing, laying in bed, taking soup all the time and drinking ginger tea like it was going out of style.

I made a simple change to my lifestyle though for no particular reason (I’ll explain) and unexpectedly the susceptibility to winter colds stopped completely.

Here’s what I did: I stopped snacking.

Yup. That was all I did. And I’ve never had chronic winter colds like that again.

I never realized that snacking was the origin of my colds. But I ended up stopping snacking simply because I lost all desire to snack between meals (one of the many benefits of practicing hatha yoga daily). I simply know now when I don’t need to eat. And I know when I do.

My personal dinacharya or daily routine includes two good-sized meals a day. One in the late morning around 10am and another at 6pm. Occasionally I have a piece of fruit in the afternoon if I’m hungry or a cup of tea or chai (something without stimulants), but otherwise I eat just these two meals.

I used to be a grazer and this is what got me in trouble. Yet I thought, like many people, that I was justified to eat frequent meals. I ate when I wanted because of blood sugar issues and feeling ungrounded (lots of vata dosha out of balance) and small amounts of food seemed to keep me alert.

But I didn’t realize the havoc that snacking was creating on my digestive health and my immunity. Every 3 weeks I was sick! Snacking was putting out my digestive fire or strength (known in Ayurveda as agni). Without the proper fuel for digestion, my body was unable to process all the snacks I was eating resulting in indigestion and cold symptoms. Once I changed my routine and no longer snacked, my agni remained strong and I digested my meals completely.

So take it from Ayurveda and it’s wise big-sister yoga. Eliminate those snacks. You’ll be stronger for it.

Photo: Morguefile.com