You have been so instrumental along this journey back home to myself. Your textures, colors, shapes and flavours are utterly divine and I can not imagine not having found you - touched you, smelt you and devoured you!
Food, you have brought me life, radiance, and better digestion. This topic is such an expansive and important one for me, that I don’t know where to even begin. You have been there through the most transformation in my life, you have brought me closer to friends and family, made me feel full when I felt empty. I truly can’t thank you enough for your generosity. I am eternally grateful.
My personal journey and perspective.
While growing up, food was not a central focus in our home, it was more a means in which to end the hunger. You know, fulfilling our basic human needs kind of scenario. My mom was not an incredible cook with a voracious appetite for preparing food and leaning into the sensory experience that I myself have found that food really is! It was quite often, bland and simple. Don’t get me wrong, simple dishes are fantastic, however flavor and spices are essential, in my opinion. So you see, food just was.
Beautiful, bountiful food!
It wasn’t until I moved out with a partner, and was on my own, that I started to explore food as this whole other entity onto itself. The flavours! The colors! The shapes! The variety! SUCH ABUNDANCE! My body and soul screamed for such pleasure. I started to explore spices, herbs and adding simple changes that elevated my meals boldly. My dishes are often brimming with zips of lemon, hints of pepper and warming spices like cinnamon sprinkled on yam and dill on potatoes. Shopping for, preparing and cooking meals is now one of my most cherished traditions. I consider this process a form of meditation. I am forever in awe of nature and the farmers that cultivate these incredible ingredients.
So here I was, about 25, in a new city, in a new place, heck in a new mind state. Cooking my heart out and loving every minute of it. Of course, there are some days that I don’t feel like cooking because its been a long day, but quite often this is what brings me joy so it has the opposite effect of draining my energy.
Around this time was when I experienced a huge shift in my life, a shift in which the interest for deeper connection with my food was really a symptom of a spiritual awakening happening. Quite quickly, in fact, options like meat and dairy fell right off of the menu. The choice was an ethical one, and spiritual one — suddenly I became very aware of a connection and oneness to ALL living beings on this planet. And here began a deep dive into holistic nutrition, and nourishing the body on a plant based diet. I went through a phase of being very strict with myself in the way that I would absolutely not bend in any way to eat anything outside of this “diet”. This is when I really began to study food, to cook at home and grocery shopping started to look a whole lot different. I would walk the perimeter of the store rather then sift through boxed goods on the shelf. I started to cook with spices and seasoning - experimenting with flavors.
I fell in love with food. I fell in love with that which nourished this body and began to revere its place in my world.
It wasn’t hard for me to eat this way. People were always saying “Oh, that must be so tough”, … no, no it is not. It still is not tough. Whats tougher is eating things that make me feel dense and low energy. In truth, yes it eliminates a lot of eating out because at the time not many places were accommodating dairy free options. If you wanted to eat meat free and dairy free, you basically had to order a salad. I am not a salad lover, not by a long shot.
Easing up on my rigidity + finding Ayurveda.
After a couple of years of struggling with trying to find what was “right for me” to eat. I had also been introduced to Ayurveda, which is an ancient medicine system. It is based off of the understanding that we all have a particular dosha (body type). These constitutions really help you to understand your physiology and what best serves you when it comes to choosing foods.
How does your body best digest food? Should I eat a diet that is more rich in raw foods? What about cooked foods that are easily digestible? Is spicy food ok for me? These are just a few of the questions that Ayurveda can answer for you. It is such a beautiful system that allows you to navigate an appropriate diet for each unique body. This helped me to understand my dosha which is primarily Vata. This means that I am better off consuming foods that are cooked, and easily digestible. I invite you to find out what your dosha is, which you can find out here.
I even saw a Tibetan medicine doctor during this time who I found fascinating in how he looked at people through the lens of medicine and health. He looked at my tongue, felt my pulse on my wrists and asked me questions that I hadn’t been asked before in a doctor/patient setting. This was a beautiful and eye opening experience. I told him how as a child I had struggled with asthma and was allergic to so many elements of nature (grass, pollen, dust, you name it). Somehow I knew that life did not have to be this way. He initially told me, “Vegan… too healthy!!”, as he shook his finger. This was in my early journey when I had just made the switch from everything diet to plant based, my weight fluctuated, and my body was releasing a lot of toxins. It was releasing toxins and heavy metals and god knows what else from three decades of eating whatever I wanted, not knowing any better. I wont lie, the detoxification process was not amazing, but what came after was so worth it.
I feel as though a big part of this process was not only detoxifying my body, but my emotions as well. This was not an easy time - going through a massive energy shift and upgrade. Constructs and belief systems that were built around me from infancy were all starting to crumble and it was as though I was looking at life through fresh eyes. Anger of course was one of the first emotions that I felt. I felt anger and sadness for not knowing so many things up until this point, realizing that ‘ignorance is bliss’, was a lie. I no longer wanted to be ignorant and with this comes a lot of purging. Waking up is a beautiful and tumultuous time. You feel pain for all of the oppression in the world - this is the biggest hurt of all I would say because this takes so many forms.
After a period of adjusting, my emotions and body were adjusting to this new found way of living. With this there comes a radiance that it visible to the eye. People looked at me differently and spoke to me differently. This is when I understood what an aura was and what some call our radiant body. Mine was BEAMING so clear and bright for all to see! haha. How incredible!
There is no right or wrong way.
Since this chapter of my journey began some six years ago now, it has endured a natural ebb and flow. I have come to know that we can not confine and define ourselves into a box, of eating any one certain way, especially over the course of our lives. Oh, no! Be gentle with yourself. Be forgiving and understanding. Know that its okay, if you sway from time to time on how you choose to feed yourself or show up in the world. We are not destined to be perfect and never will be. That is another belief system that needs to be smashed out of existence. EVERY BODY is different, and with that, it is inconceivable to think that any two people can eat the exact say thing each day and remain healthy and vibrant. Our bodies needs change, it craves variety. Ayurveda believes that we should eat with the seasons, meaning, ask yourself what is in season right now? Are you eating strawberries in the dead of winter? When in reality their bursting during early Summer! Our world currently offers us any food imaginable at any given time of year so its no wonder that we are confused about what eating seasonally even means. This is ok. We don’t need to know it all. I believe the most powerful way we can be of service to our body is to eat intuitively.
When you wake up in the morning, ask your body, “what do you need today? What foods will nourish you?”. I am not talking cravings like sugar and junk food, I am talking real nutrient dense foods. Does it want savery? sweet? bitter? pungent? salty? This is a knowing that you can cultivate. After some time I am in a place of complete satisfaction in knowing that I can select my food intuitively and trust that this will always been the nourishment that my body needs. I am well aware that this is a privilege and I do not take this for granted.
Thanking you for taking a trip down memory lane with me! The journey continues and I am so excited to see where we grow together.
If you have any questions or want to connect over how we can nourish our bodies holistically through food and reconnect with our roots, I would be happy to discuss this topic further. You can get in touch with me here.