This is not a post about writing,. This is a post about how your food defines you.
Given that sustenance plays a big part in our productivity, perhaps this is a pertinent post after all – why do you think most writers are more lucid and write faster and better during early mornings, when our tummies are near-empty? And have you ever tried to write after binging on junk food or red meat? Yes, exactly.
Early this month, two of my close friends had decided to check in for a 2-week detox program at the Ayurveda Retreat Center in Coonoor, India (www.ayurveda.org). We are in mid-30s and their decision reminded us of a vital fact, something most of us do not even consider: “How we take care of our body in the next 3-5 years is going to determine our health for the next 30-50 years!”
Hard to argue with that, right? Since I had always wanted to try one of the Ayurvedic therapies, I was hooked and my husband came up with the idea that we could also take a break of 3 days and surprise our friends. However, around the same time, I had my customary food allergy to dairy. I was not lactose intolerant as a child, but suddenly became so in my teens (Why? I have a pet theory which I will reveal in the next post!).
So… in a couple of days, it was a full blown sinus infection that didn’t respond to ordinary antibiotics. Pain between the eyes, ear ache, deep coughing with special sound effects from the chest – the works. Obviously, I cannot do any writing when I get these bouts, let alone go about my daily routine. I was desperate for a cure and now it became completely essential for us to visit the Ayurveda retreat (even though my family tried to stop me from travelling this time – they were right, it was indeed awful, I was coughing the entire journey but I am glad I did it!).
As luck would have it, just around the time we had planned to visit them, our friends had decided to shift their stay to a plantation nearby, which was more scenic and less expensive than the retreat. So we were in a dilemma.
Luckily, the doctor at the Retreat Center said: “Ayurveda is not a spa break and this is not a relaxation retreat, but a real hospital, so please come back when you can spend at least a fortnight here and give us a chance to truly heal you!” So that made our decision easy.
I also had an initial consultation done and I found out that my dosha was vata, i.e., air (according to Ayurveda, you are what you eat). I have been asked to stay away from all raw, cold and dairy food which cause my lungs to produce phlegm – not so surprising, given that I always fell sick after binging on these foods. You would think that I would have made the connection long time ago… but nope, we never see what is right before our eyes, unless somebody points it out to us, sigh. (You can find your dosha type here – it includes free diet chart!).
So I took that advice and stayed in O’land plantation (where our friends had moved to), which is the best place for some R&R and they served organic fare, prepared from their farm, which made a huge difference in my recovery. You can read my review here – http://tinyurl.com/olandreviewbyrads
Here is what I have learned about food, thanks to expert consultations the past few weeks and diligent research on the Net. Almost everything we eat, from rice to bread to vegetables to greens, has been genetically modified and/or sprayed with pesticides. So, basically, we eat pesticide-laden GMO fare for years, slowly accumulating them in our bodies, giving them lots of time to alter our cells. No wonder food never satisfies us as much as it did our parents or their parents (no wonder they lived longer than we ever would). No wonder our children are born with allergies and latent defects and even 30-year olds are diabetic and pre-menopausal.
And the irony is, most of us know this, at least at a sub-conscious level, but we are so conditioned to be blind to what we eat, we do not even care anymore. Thanks to clever marketing and the general human tendency to apathy and denial, we do not even make the connection between what we eat and how we feel and live (like how I never did).
But what can you really do against a world of wrongs? After all, everyone is involved in this conspiracy… the farmers, the companies, the manufacturers, the retailers… when everything you buy is contaminated, what can you possibly do? For the answers, wait for Part 2.