Food - The Ayurveda chronicles 8

We are back home, and I think I left my Muse behind!

It’s been 10 days now, and I have been too busy to put anything in writing. There is so much to share of course, but the transition from being alone and introspective, to being with family and extroverted is a huge shift. One would not know the change unless one went through both scenarios side-by-side.

The physical journey back was absolutely miserable because it started out with a 3 hour hilly car drive early in the morning. The taxi driver must have been seriously caffeinated because he sped the car around bends at break neck speed. Aside from the risk factor, the speedy car ride made me excruciatingly sick and we had to pull over multiple times. Let me tell you that there will be no poems ever written about standing in pouring rain, in squelchy mud, trying to upchuck a Dosa. No! That is one topic that the lofty poets shall never be espousing lyrical prose about. And one of the times that I was standing in the rain, a little crawly thing went up my leg and decided to joy ride on my calf. Option was to hop around and dislodge the cretin or stay bent over in acute agony. The scenery was absolutely stunning, even I in my nauseous state was able to appreciate it. Mercifully reached Mangalore airport after a very long 3 hours, where the taxi driver had to help me up till the entrance to the airport. Thankfully the flights were uneventful and in time, and I reached home 6 hours later where my mom and daughter were waiting to receive me at the airport. Amar joined us 6 days later after he finished with his continued treatments.

Now the results: Amar has shed 18 lbs. in 25 days. He is feeling well and looking bright. Of course the goal is to lose another 30 lbs., which the doctor said would happen over a period of 3 months. More than the weight however, it is the toxicity in the body that has been removed. This allows for better metabolism and overall health. He is exercising by walking for 60-80 minutes a day. I am happy with the results. As for me, the couple of issues that were of concern to me also have been resolved. I did not lose 10 lbs. or come back looking 10 years younger as I was hoping, but at this stage it is all about feeling healthy. Overall the journey and commitment to the cause paid off.

Was it hard? That is the question that I have been asked most since I got back. The definition of ‘hard’ is very subjective, and I am sure what was ‘hard’ for me perhaps would not be hard for the next person. That being said, if I break down the time into bits and pieces, then I can actually isolate the parts that were hard for me. And it may very well be that my personal paranoia was surfacing to make me feel that way. I always knew that I had issues because I cannot touch objects or surfaces without wanting to scrub my hands, or be in grimy environments, or be in a bathroom that is not pristine, I cannot be barefoot, I wash my feet every time I come back home; thereby I am admitting to being a little bit obsessive compulsive. Hence, for me, the aestheticcs factor played a role, the constant rain which would not let clothes dry and created awful mildew on anything leather freaked me out, and the repetitive food was extremely hard towards the last few days. For Amar, it was primarily the sporadic Wi-Fi and food.

The other thing I have been asked is the address for this place. I am more than happy to share it with anyone interested. However, I have to warn you that this place is not a spa experience, and this message is especially for the Indians from India. It is too rustic, basic and lacks the amenities and frills that are taken for granted by Punjabis. You have to wash your own clothes manually; wash your own utensils, no TV, eat vegetarian south Indian food for all meals, and live in complete social isolation. The treatments require you to be very comfortable with your body, you have to simply love oil, and sometimes the process gets pretty intense. Would I do it again? Yes, I would! Now that I know what to expect, I would be better equipped with the supplies that I need there. After the first five days of feeling irritable, for me it turned out to be a Sadhana, and truly a life changing experience.

Coming back and being with mom/dad for a few days was the perfect transition into real life. Interestingly there were no major cravings for food. Of course I enjoyed all my staple favorites, but I did not really have any attachment to the food. And that made me realize a very important thing about how we eat – we don’t control the food we eat, the food controls us. We become what we eat. Every single morsel we ingest goes into our body creates our physical and emotional state. And both my son and I experienced the change in our bodies as we survived on a completely sugar free, meat free, alcohol free, and dairy free diet. It changes how you feel in your body and mind.

However, in our real lives, it is all about the mental connection we have with satisfying our cravings; once we are able to disassociate ourselves with the identification we make with our food, our entire being shifts on to a completely different platform. Unfortunately though, the life we lead is socially set up around eating and drinking, and it is near to impossible to lead a Sattvic existence unless you lock yourself up in an ashram year around. And since we have to live in a world where time is measured from meal to meal, how do we change our relationship with our palate?

My humble advice to anyone reading this would be to suggest that perhaps perform a self-analysis of your regular diet. Make a chart of your food and drink intake over a week. After 7 days, highlight the foods that qualify as ‘comfort food’, or foods that were eaten under the banner of boredom, and foods high in sugar/white carbs. Out of that list, for 40 days, eliminate one item that you know is not doing you good. Don’t think about it; just ease it out of your meals. If there is no “I am dieting” label attached to the deed, then it is surprisingly easy for your mind to let go. Forty days later ease out another item, but this time, introduce a new healthy item into your food repertoire. And so on so forth. Within a year you can be eating a completely modified diet without feeling the emotional pinch that comes with a short yo-yo designer diet. The change is permanent and your body will show you the results.

This journey with food continues for us all; sometimes we stay on the path and sometimes we take massive detours. Hopefully though, the built in compass that we are blessed with can bring us back on the road successfully each time we veer off. You know where to reach me if you need some nudging to get back on track.

Best of Luck.

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