Eat: Week One
"Yogis eat for energy, not flavor."
"Energy = Power"
"Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food."
Clinically and literally, the way we (Americans) are eating is making us fatter, sicker and dumber. I am not one to get on the soap box, but this is go time, the 11th hour as it were, something needs to change. Americans are the fattest citizens of the world and we use up more of the world's resources than the rest of the world COMBINED. "They", groups that are blindly driven by greed, are growing our food in completely irresponsible and nonsustainable ways and adding potently harmful additives to our food. The cancer rate 30 years ago was 1 in 16, now it is 1 in 2. Because of growth hormones added to our food, young girls now are reaching puberty at an alarmingly early age. We would need several more planets like Earth to perpetually sustain the voracious American diet and I don't see any extra planets around.....
What we have been "fed" about food is shakey at best and criminal and malicious at worst. Many of the sources we have looked to for food, diet and health guidance are guided primarily by profit.
Yogis begin to think outside of the box and for themselves. Here are some resources:
http://www.nymedicalnutrition.com/ for a list of "frankenfoods", foods to be avoided, and a new look at the economics of the traditional food pyramid.
http://www.gerson.org/ for great documentaries about food growing and the power of foods to heal, even for cancer treatment. In this country, doctors are prohibited, by law, to offer any other treatment for cancer other than surgery, chemo and radiation. In other countries, however, many other more holistic courses of treatment are offered with similar or better success rates and minimal side effects. (Netflix has many of the Gerson films)
http://www.rajpatel.com/ is the website of an activist is this area
The documentaries Food, Inc. and The 11th Hour are both very informative as well.
Very easy guidelines for, in my opinion, the healthiest and most Earth friendly diet:
- Eat less. We need so much less food than we think and than we have been taught and told. Monks traditionally eat only what can fit into the palms of both hands. Many people (myself included) eat only 1 or 2 meals per day and find that they have even more energy and stamina with less food. There is a great deal of research in this area to be found under RC diet (reduced calorie) and RC diet plus a long fasting duration http://www.fast-5.com/
- Buy and Eat Local and Organic.
- Make eating fresh fruits and vegetables a daily event.
- Practice Yoga regularly to build up the internal fire which will help to flush out old and new toxins. With a strong fire, we can throw in some green wood from time to time.
Food for Yogis means energy and nourishment. Eating includes all the ways in which we nourish ourselves. The Yogic scriptures tell us that Yogis who know breath as food, know the purest food available. Uplifting music and chanting the divine sounds is food for Yogis. Time spent in nature and time spent with friends and family may also be nourishment. Sleep and rest feed the living matrix. The numerology for the studio address is a 4 and 4 symbolizes stability and rest. I love the idea of Yogis finding rest, stability and rejuvenation with each practice. The artist in me is extremely nourished by creative endeavor. The mystic in me is nourished by meditation and ritual. The point is, find out what feeds you and eat regularly.
In the human body, food is turned into energy by metabolic fire. Yogis build their fire with each practice and digestive fire matures into the fire of transformation. From the ashes of this fire, the Phoenix emerges, the new creation that is now possible.
"Each one of us, regardless of our situation, is looking for the same treasure in the ashes. We are in search of our most authentic, vital, generous, and wise self. What stands between that self and us is what burns in the fire. Our illusions, our rigidity, our fear, our blame, our lack of faith, and our sense of separation: All of these- in varying strengths and combinations- are what must die in order for a more true self to arise. If we want to turn a painful event into a Phoenix Process, we must name what needs to burn in the fire."
PS: A word about intoxicants-In Yoga, we are attempting to cultivate self-sufficiency. We are much stronger and have more clarity of vision when we choose not to ingest intoxicants. Intoxicants create tamasic energy- the energy of dullness and stuckness. It is very hard to manifest creative urges in that energy of stuckness. Some masters endorse the use of hallucinogenic drugs used ritually to let us know what is possible, but drugs are a crutch to creating that expansive state of mind and the goal is to learn how to get there without the drug. If you use an intoxicant every day, you are an addict. Freedom does not equal running away or checking out and getting to the doorway is one thing- walking through it is entirely another.