Ayurveda Day 6: Food

There are many subjects I could have talked about today. The first two weeks of my course are now over and I get a new instructor next week. Dr. Halpern has been a great guide and has really helped us to incorporate self care into our daily lives. I have learned so much philosophically to help with my personal growth. I have learned much about the history of Ayurveda, and therefore part of the history of India, which I am grateful for. I am even more grateful that I still have two more years of learning and this was only a tickle of what is to come.

Amongst the myriad of those topics that I could write about to summarize my past two weeks, I thought I would write about something we all relate to: food.

Before I even took this course, I knew about the Ayurvedic way of eating. Luckily, a lot of Ayurvedic practices are just regular practices in India, and my parents have knowingly or unknowingly incorporated them into our lives growing up as children. But I am not going to talk about the kinds of foods my mom would make when we were sick, or what teas to drink to strengthen our immune system, or anything else like that (although valuable). Rather than talking about what to eat, we are going to talk about how to eat.

How to eat is in many ways more important than what you eat. This may surprise you. There are certain Ayurvedic guidelines that teach us how to eat in order to reduce or eliminate problems in digestion. Having done these practices, I can honestly say they work amazingly insofar as how disciplined you are in following them.

Before I talk about these guidelines, I need to preface:

You are what you eat. Quite literally in fact.
When you consume food, it becomes you. That food becomes the cells and tissues in your body. You absorb the nutrients, and those serve to make you who you are, in a very real and tangible sense.
Food also connects us to all of existence. Every piece of food we eat was made in a recycled process. From the moment of the creation of the universe to when all matter spread throughout the universe, our solar system was made. Our sun was forged and our planet welded by gravity. All the matter on our planet has made up everything – from the mountains to the trees to the animals and plants we eat. Whether or not you believe the food we consume has a consciousness, it is an incredibly grounding thought to realize that consuming food connects us with all of existence. If we are what we eat, then to quote Carl Sagan, we are starstuff. We are consuming starstuff! By consuming it, we are becoming it again and again! That is a revelation worth paying some more attention to, and a poetic enough perspective to inspire a new discipline of eating.
Unfortunately, we rarely if ever acknowledge what we put into our bodies as anything more than a necessary inconvenience or a guilty desire ridden pleasure. If we become more mindful of how we eat and why we eat, it will in return improve our health. From an Ayurvedic perspective, there are Ten Healthy Eating Guidelines that will optimize your digestion. If you are ready to step into a larger world, click the link. The consumption of food will no longer seem a chore and will become something of it’s own meditation, a path towards one’s inner truth. Let’s turn eating food into a cosmic journey.

With gratitude,

S

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