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A Lesson on Food and Philosophy

February 16, 2018

It would be remiss for me to not say that it takes a while to adjust to eating Indian food. I mean, I eat it almost everyday at home. However, eating out is different or so I am reminded.

 

The house in which I am staying has an amazing chef, and everything is made it ordered. The food has been incredible – coconut curries, vegetarian and gluten free. We get dosas (rice and lentil flour crepes) on demand! The staff are eager to please.

 

Unfortunately, I am not use to eating that food. You see, I am from the North, where the food less hot, and much less coconut-ty. For many, heavy, spicy, coconut curries is synonymous with their idea of Indian food, as is butter chicken. But this is not the food I grew up on or cook in my home. India is a subcontinent, and the food in every region is different. The food from Himachal Pradesh, where I am from, is full of spices, but we do not make it hot, not like in the South. The food I cook at home, tends to be more satvic in Nature.

 

In Indian philosophy there is an important concept called the Gunas. This concept explains the qualities that are present in all things and in nature. It notes that we are constantly oscillating between states of Rajas (a hyper-aroused state, which may be marked by passion, heat, or hyperactive energy), Tamas (a hypo-aroused state marked by heaviness, dullness, and even depression) and the centred state of Satva (marked by clarity, equilibrium, flow, and contentment). The process of Yoga helps bring us to the state of Satva, where we experience life more clearly and with equanimity. When we are not in this centred state, our experience is clouded or disturbed.

 

The food I have been eating for dinner is both rajasic and tamasic, hot and heavy, and my belly is surely disturbed. Last night my belly had enough. It said No, and rebelled. Despite waves of attempts, my supper did not manage to make it from the stomach into my digestive track, and there is only one other way to go. So, I was up in the night praying to the porcelain god. Luckily, it’s felt more relieving then anything and I did not suffer too much. There are no pictures, but you do not need to see it. I know you have all been there! 

 

So today, it is back to the basics BRAT diet– bananas, rice, apples, but I’ll hold off the

toast. (The British did not teach the Indians how to make good Western style bread, not that we needed it). It will be a day of kitchari (a rice and Moong dahl dish eaten when ones ill) for gut rest, and thank goodness Papayas and guavas are in season. 

 

(Dang - even my kitchari came with hot coconut tomato curry!)

 

I have recovered!

Here I am eating my organic vegan lunch! Yum! The food at my course has been amazing!

 

 

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