Ayurveda says that food is prana (energy), and that all beings are in a constant search for more. Your own prana is created by the life you take from food. Plants, animals, and minerals make a sacrifice for you, and hopefully you are using them to become more self-aware and more loving. In this way, step one of Ayurvedic nutrition is to clean the lens of perception from one of mindlessly consuming, to one of deep gratitude for the sacrifice.
We become more powerful when we eat loving, home-cooked, fresh food. Somehow, in the context of modern culture, it has become a luxury for us to cook for ourselves and loved ones. Our great grandparents took it as a given that making meals was a part of life. With the advent of pre-prepared and processed foods, as well as the explosion of fast food, sometimes cooking for ourselves takes a backseat to our busy lives. I believe that much of the modern health malaise in our society parallels this lost relationship. But there is nothing that shows your commitment to health more—and there is nothing sexier than a woman, or a man, who knows how to cook.
This doesn’t mean that we have to quit our job and spend hours in the kitchen. I really believe that you can change your health (and your destiny), by spending as little as 30-45 minutes in the kitchen on the daily. Cooking for yourself will dramatically alter the way you feel in your body and mind, as well as create a healthier body for tapping into your soul. Creating beautiful, whole-food meals will give you increased energy, better mood, healthy weight levels, more radiant skin with reduced wrinkles and inflammation, as well as a clearer mind.
This practice isn’t just about cooking for ourselves. It’s also about learning to be self- aware. This means stopping your life, putting your hand on your heart, breathing deeply, and asking your body, “Body, what do you really need?” Self-awareness is the most crucial element of good health—and this is the cornerstone of Ayurvedic wisdom. By bringing loving self- awareness to the choices we make around food, we are better able to hear our body’s response to what we put into it—as well as reduce our susceptibility to pathogens and disease. Every morsel of food or drink that we take in has the capacity to be a healing nectar or a toxic bomb. Usually, if we practice self-awareness, our own wise-body will help us discern nectar from toxins.
In my experience, when I am eating a whole-food, nourishing diet on a daily basis, I make better decisions in regards to how I spend my time. If I eat fried, processed and sugar-laden foods, made by non-loving, non-breathing food-processing machines, I feel a lack of love in my belly. This lack of love reduces my ability to be my most authentic self in the world. Simply stated, we are what and how we eat. If we eat in a hurry, our body feels rushed and anxious. If we eat crap, we feel like crap. If we eat brightly colored organic veggies, we feel brightly colored, full of energy, and organic to our true nature. From the basis of self-awareness and a recognition that food is one of the key ways we build our energy, we can now deepen into the energetic and elemental qualities of food.
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