Heal your relationship with food to heal your life

Yogicha blog

When we begin to take an interest in what we eat and how we eat we notice that the relationship we have to food is far from dispassionate. On the contrary, we are completely emotional eaters, all of those who live with a fridge full of things in their homes. 

Ayurveda states that disease happens when we are either undernourished or overfed. In the modern world, undernourishment in terms of eating enough is not seen so much, yet we detect issues such as nutrient deficiencies that lead to disease. Instead of risking undernourished people, we see malnourished people in the doctor’s office. When it comes to being overfed, we also see contradictory signals. We have so much information on what to eat and there are new fad diets every few years, yet we don’t obtain the healthy results because people keep getting obese and develop diabetes. So clearly, we are not eating the right things. 

Ayurveda looks at food as medicine. This means that no real food is excluded but depending on what we use it for, it can be healing or hurting. 

Like I mentioned in the previous episode, it might feel overwhelming when we look into our kitchen cabinets and there’s not much more than expired cornflakes or tinned green peas. How do we start? Where do we start?

One thing is for sure : as soon as you start changing what foods you keep in your kitchen, you are taking the steps to change your life. It really begins here because what you put into your belly will be the driving force for your body.

So if you want to start, here are 3 very simple but important rules to keep in mind : 

  • Consume whole foods that are not processed

When food that is nutritious in its original form is being processed, the aspects of it change. For the sake of optimising industrial processes and increasing the financial benefits, the food industry alters things like wheat, sugar and fats in order to have longer shelf life or to more easily add it to certain dishes. This devitalises the ingredient and removes all traces of nutriment. Then they might add on synthetic versions of nutriments (additives) without actually having enough data on long term effects on our bodies. 

  • Avoid food with pesticides

It goes without saying that pesticides that are created to kill things that are alive, will not sit well with our stomachs and bodies. We have reduced our budget for food shopping and become so accustomed to paying very little for food that it feels expensive to eat real food. Hypermarkets and industrialised food can lower the prices in a highly competitive way compared to local farmers and specialised stores. But ask yourself : how can they still make profit on such cheap food items? Only if the production price is close to nothing and that can only happen if the ingredients are pretty worthless. So learn to reprioritise where your money goes. There are some incredible people out there who create coops for local farmers and organic foods. Cooking your own food is always going to be cheaper than eating out. So reduce the number of restaurant visits in a month in order to put that money in your kitchen budget. 

  • Eat less

One thing Ayurveda taught me was that I was eating too much because I was eating too fast. We have completely lost touch with our hunger and we do not know anymore when we are actually hungry and when we have had enough. There are more than one factors in the explanation of this but let’s just start with the guilt trip around not finishing your plate. We were taught in childhood that this was not an option and so we kept that with us. Of course, for reasons of waste and so on, this is virtuous but not when fast food chains serve maxi versions of their so-called food menus. And even without going to fast food restaurants, often the portions are pretty big in order to justify the price of the meal in any place. Of course, there are the expensive places that will serve you rather small portions but it’s not for your health. Rather to make sure you keep space for that dessert. 

Having digestive issues is as common as chronic fatigue these days. And they all start with a weakened digestive system. How does your digestive system weaken? Firstly by overeating. 

You should stop before you feel completely full, at 70% of your stomach’s capacity.  The remaining 30% should be empty so that the digestive process can take place. Imagine cleaning out your wardrobe and its so fully packed with items that there is no room to make an order. You have to take all of it out and start from scratch. Well imagine your stomach like that. 

  • It’s more important how you eat than what you eat

Because the digestion of the food is essential for your body to benefit from it, how you eat is going to be more important than what you eat. It’s the same reason I don’t encourage people to take supplements when they are deficient in something. If you eat the right food and a varied diet, there is no reason to have deficiencies. So first look at what you eat there but then realise that you are not absorbing the nutrients. In that case, even the most expensive supplements will do you no good. Eating in a way that establishes your metabolism will in the long run be far more effective. Undigested food creates toxins (ama). Accumulated ama leads to blockage of the natural flow of fluids (lymph and blood) which in itself has as a job to eliminate toxins. So the cycle of increasing toxins in the body is escalated through this blockage. 

  • Conscious eating and the sacred

Preparing your food and eating it can be a sacred experience. After all, when eating you are taking in molecules from outside things and transforming them into YOU! 

  • The Ayurvedic 10 guidelines to assure proper digestion : 
    • Take food in a peaceful environment
    • Say thank you to the food
    • Eat quietly “låt maten tysta mun”
    • Chew your food well
    • Warm or room temperature for both food and drink
    • Food should be moist / little bit oily
    • Don’t drink large amount during the meal
    • Eat until you’re 70% full
    • Take time to rest after meal
    • At least 3 hours between meal

Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. I’ve always had a deep curiosity toward eastern and western approaches to understanding the mind, and the ming/body union. You’ll find me in the lovely Canggu Bali, nestled amongst coconuts, palm trees and sunshine 🥥🌴🌞