Transformation comes from the inside out. One simple step that has big consequences is being conscious of the food you eat. A simple way to invite meaning, experience and energy into your life is to adopt a spiritual sadhana (mindful discipline) of eating fresh foods from the spiritual science of Ayurveda, which is an ancient modality of holistic health and healing from India.
Why not make feeding yourself fresh foods every day at each meal, a spiritual choice?
Many of us spend more time choosing an outfit that makes us look thin or composing the perfect tweet than deciding what to put into our bodies. We look outwardly to fulfill our needs. We chase meaningful moments, but with a bite-sized fast food mentality. Yet, if we aspire to a healthy life, we need to be conscious of the food we eat.
By simply deciding to cook, you are investing in your health and taking ownership of the life you have been given. If you think you don’t have time to cook, you are probably over-investing in other areas of your life. Think of the time you spend waiting in markets, restaurants and drive-thrus. In this way, cooking a fresh meal is a time saver and time well spent. It’s providing a healthy meal for the people you love, making memories with them and getting children to be invested in the meals that they are creating. That’s what I call deliberate multitasking! It surprisingly takes only ten minutes to create a fresh meal that can revive each cell in your body and bring you a surprising amount of energy.
In my own life, time invested in preparing fresh meals was not a sacrifice, but an invitation to be more present. The opportunity to make conscious choices when we do menu planning and purchasing of necessary ingredients; the sense of ownership that comes from cooking our own meals and crafting our own health; the seduction by aromas that waft through our nose and colors that splash and sensationalize our vision; the engaging of our mind and literally all senses in the ensuing process; the extension of invitations and nourishment of the family circle; the celebration of seasons and festivities of color, texture, and aroma; the entitled requests for favorite recipes by my son, and the look of satisfaction in my husbands eyes, and the smiles of my students — perhaps these are some of the reasons why I cook for my self, my health, and the well being of all who I care about.
Ayurveda clarifies that our goal is eat foods that not only strengthen the body but also revives the mind. Start with eating fresh. Canned, frozen and other convenience foods have an artificially elongated shelf life also come under the stale category. If you want to feel good, you have to stop imbibing “industrial grade slush,” and invest in an experience. Many of us eat these foods out of habit. Choosing meals that taste good and are good for us is a simple adjustment that I promise will positively change your life.
Try this: Permanent change takes small steps. You don’t have to completely revise your menu. Commit to eliminating just one packaged food a meal (e.g. swapping a bag of chips or frozen entrée) and replacing with something fresh. Then see how you feel in a month.
© 2017 Acharya Shunya, author of Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy
Acharya Shunya is one of the extraordinary teachers of the living, embodied wisdom of Ayurveda. She transmits it through the roots of her ancient family lineage as well as throughout her book, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom (Sounds True, 2017). Shunya is the driving force behind Vedika Global, a wisdom school dedicated to awakening health and consciousness, and was recognized as one of the Top 100 teachers of Ayurveda and Yoga in America by Spirituality and Health Magazine (2015). Shunya is President of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, a the keynote speaker at national and international conferences, and teaches at California Institute of Integral Studies and at complementary medicine symposiums at Stanford, UCLA, and UCSF. For more information, please visit http://www.acharyashunya.com/ and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter