I have often asked myself “what is food”? “How much and how little is really necessary?” “Do I live to eat or do I eat to live?” So many questions, so little answers.
Food is big business these days. You can’t walk down a block without passing at least three restaurants and two corner markets. Even health-food stores and home delivery services are getting in on the action. Each establishment/service promises something bigger, tastier, and more convenient. Living in the great city of New York, it is very likely that almost every meal is being consumed or prepared outside the home as the cabinets and ovens become a dumping ground for extra clothing and unhung artwork. Not to say there isn’t something fabulous about a night out with friends and family while enjoying a meal at your favorite spot, or occasionally heating up that Amy’s Organic whole wheat cheeseless vegetable pizza. But there is something to be said about the disconnect created by not being involved with the preparation of one’s own food. Cooking is an energetic exchange. You can taste the difference in a meal prepared by yourself or a loved one as opposed to a meal prepared by a stranger or bought in your supermarket of choice. Yes, those meals are tasty, but there is a lightness experienced after consumption of home-cooked food, as well as a feeling of increased sustainable energy, and easier digestion.
At least, this has been my experience. As a former take out/eat out junkie, (85% of my meals were prepared outside of my home or of the frozen variety), I know a thing or two about this topic. I would consume a steady diet of “make your own salad”, ready prepared organic meals and sushi (avocado rolls and peanut avocado rolls are my favorite). I was eating “light” by anyone’s standards but I would without fail, always end my meal feeling heavy and weighted down.
It wasn’t until we began cooking for eachother at the studio that I began to notice the difference in my body and mood. There is a power that comes with knowing exactly what you put in your body, as nourishment is an important part of the yoga practice.
We learn the importance of proper nourishment through the Yama (Precepts of social discipline), Brahmacarya (restraint or the absence of excess), and the Niyama (principles of individual discipline) Sauca, defined as cleanliness. We are nourished by what we eat and the environment we surround ourselves with. If we choose to consume fresh simple foods prepared with love and humility, not only will we experience greater ease in asana practice, but our internal and external environment will begin to feel less polluted as well.
My Favorite Dish at Sangha for Summer:
Steamed Brown or White Rice with a steamed green (Broccoli, Kale, Chard)
Grate Beets, Carrots to taste
Red Onions to taste
1/4 sliced avocado
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste