Food is medicine. We are what we eat. Initially in Yoga, we are constantly observing our body and the effect different positions (asanas) are having on us. Deepening into practice this observation starts to extend to nutrition as well. Indigenous cultures around the world have traditionally existed on this intuition within the body to consume for well being and healing.
What is it? The process of taking in food for nourishment which includes metabolism and growth as well as for healing or regenerating is Nutrition in the traditional sense of the word. When we eat or drink, we are doing so for a purpose. Nutrition then becomes a way of complementing the process. This process is the combination of acquiring, ingesting, digesting, absorbing and releasing what it is that is required by the body. So what is actually required? What should I eat then? What is right for me? If you have asked these questions before, then the process of nutrition is working well within you already. What to eat and how to acquire it are big questions in our information abundant world. However, we cannot eat information. It is good food that we need. What is right for me may not be right for you. When a healthy person gives up nutritional information, she or he is making you aware of an approach. The lesson then is not in the actual food they are consuming, but the methodology they are choosing. And there are as many methods of eating ‘right’ as there are individuals on this planet at any given time.
What is the ‘best’ food for me right now? We must bring the awareness to the current state. What is it that my body requires right now? What is it that my body is going through right now? These questions will help you get started with what to choose for a meal. These questions take into account the time of day as well as the seasons. The body and its needs change over time. What was best yesterday may not be optimal today. So the best way to eat becomes an activity based on awareness. This awareness leads to a higher taste. A taste that feeds intuition, and in time this intuition feeds the body. The practice of Hatha Yoga compliments this nutritional intuition or higher taste.
After acquiring ingredients, before ingesting, food usually goes through a preparation phase. This is probably the most underemphasised stage of nutrition in our current way of living. Handling our food during preparation not only gives us invaluable insight into the food, it also provides us with the opportunity to complement nutrition before it hits our bodies. Smell, sight, sound and feel are senses that start up the digestive process well before a morsel of food is experienced by the taste buds. This awareness of the nature of ingredients compliments the food and its ability to nourish the body. Preparing your own food is probably the most optimal way to eat for nutrition since making adjustments to your diet becomes an ongoing convenient process. Communal eating however says we must prepare for many and more than often this is the case for most meal preparers today. Then awareness must be extended to include everyone who is going to benefit from the meal. A mother intuitively knows how to keep her children alive. When she uses this intuition and prepares a meal in awareness, the result is usually one of the best sources of nutrition.