Mindfulness Via Yoga

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Food Is Medicine

Everywhere I go somebody – generally aged 25 to 40 – is tempting me to smoke medical marijuana. (You can obtain the kind that affects the mind;  or you can choose a version designed to affect parts of the body, so they say. THAT tempts me to check this out. I always want to know  how I can get to the mind OR the body of students in any given yoga class. The mind generally lags behind.) Meanwhile, the most recent roundup of drug dealers in the Walmart parking lot in a nearby once-country town listed names of men and women in age  between 50 and age 65. No heroin there; it was all prescription drugs.

Without my ayurvedic training it was easy to see food as mind altering. And body altering, that’s for sure.

But within the science of health called Ayurveda, food as medicine is specific. it is healing, nourishing, balancing. All that happens when the effects are understood and carefully prepared. It’s important to realize who you are – at this moment. For example,  I recently made a variation of chicken broth with mushrooms . Because my fiery temperament always needs to be rescued from inflammation, I loaded this winter soup with spices, especially fresh tumeric from the Central Market. IMG_0724Because my basic bone structure is sturdy, earthy Kapha dosha and this is cold moist weather, that piece of my vkriti is in balance and the soup could bear some meat. (another blog will talk about why Ayurvedians ( if that is a word) are meat eaters and yogis are vegetarians. But save that for another day…

On a bright summer day, in Pitta season, these Punjabi beans IMG_0452were fresh and seasonal.I sauteed them in sunflower oil ad garnished, as you can see, with coriander and coconut. This way of cooking is all new to me. My past food experience would never combine these interesting four ingredients. But they are balancing, grounding to Pitta when the sun is hot and fierce and compeling to an already hot temperament person whose innate dosha is composed of fire and water. The Pitta profile.

Food,now, for me, serves many purposes: It still offers contrasting or soothing tastes for pleasure or companionship, Calming qualities when life is full of anxiety; It is a resting point within a day. But, food as medicine, taken wisely and appropriately, mindfully, moderates the fire in the belly. Or in the mind.