Food as Meditation: 3 Stages to Rethink How You Eat
Jerry Seinfeld once said, ‘Thank god for relationships. Without them, all we would ever talk about is food. These days, wherever we look, we find a new blog, book or ideology proclaiming the health benefits of a new superfood, supplement or diet, guaranteed to give you, among other things, effortless weight loss, boundless energy, mental clarity and eternal youth. So, of course, you give it a try, and, voila, it works….. well, for a few weeks, anyway. Then, unable to sustain this radical new way of eating, you’re back to your old habits until…. the next fad diet promising, well, you know the same results as the last one.
We have bought into a reductionist, cookie-cutter mentality, believing that we can all eat the same thing and get the same results. Ayurveda, the planet’s first nature-based medical system teaches that, although some things are right for some people sometimes, nothing, no foods, fads or diets are always right for everyone. This observation is based on the premise that, each and every one of us, is completely different and totally unique.
With respect to food, the only universal truth is that we all need to eat. Period. Beyond that, we each have various likes, dislikes, preferences, aversions and what we regard as the perfect meal. Every day, however, we are faced with the same problem…having to choose. This dilemma brings us to the topic of this blog…. Food As Meditation
First, let me explain a few concepts. Meditation is a tool for clarifying our values and creating a calm and focused mind. It is a simple, yet profound practice which, eventually, transforms our perception and, ultimately, changes our behavior.
Classically, meditation is a three stage process requiring the abilities to: 1.Choose 2. Focus and 3. Sustain.
Choose– this is the most difficult step in meditation, as in order to choose to eat certain foods, I must forgo a whole bunch of other food choices. Choice comes from the inside. It implies taking in information from the outside, filtering it through your individual experience and applying the parts that are appropriate to you depending on your goals. This considered choice implies reflection and commitment which leads to the second aspect of
Focus. When I choose freely and willingly the foods that work for me then I am more likely to stay with these choices for a long time because it feels good and it’s the right thing for me. With this as my foundation I am more likely to stay the course and
Sustain my eating plan. Why? Because I am the one choosing based on what feels right for my body. This is the ultimate meditation. Someone who takes their cues and changes their behavior based on what feels truly right for them!
This is part one of a 3-part Ayurveda series. Be sure to check back next month for more great information from Eleni and check out her intro workshop 6.25.15.
Eleni Tsikrikas is an Ayurvedic practitioner based in Silverlake. She coaches and empowers students to make amazing food and lifestyle choices. She teaches Ayurveda Skills For Living courses and regular workshops at One down Dog Yoga.