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I was recently invited to Jordan to speak about yogic wisdom on eating right and how eating according to traditional Indian food wisdom led to a lean body and a meditative mind. Eating what is local, fresh and seasonal, eating slowly and learning to stop before the stomach is stuffed is an integral aspect of leading a yogic lifestyle.
It’s also based on the common sense that only the person who digests the food should decide how much to eat, not some dietitian. Learning to eat till one feels light and energetic and not dull and torpid needs practice. Appetite is a moving entity and we are all differently hungry and that’s exactly why diets which reduce humans to a set of numbers—height, weight, calories—invariably backfire.
Arab culture has a beautiful system in place, one that is in tune with the yogic philosophy of eating light and right. You are only allowed either 1, 3, 5, 7—basically odd number of cups—for Arabian coffee with dates, both local to the region. This has an inbuilt system to respect the fact that the human stomach has different needs everyday and ensures that you don’t land up over-eating/drinking. On a day you feel like two cups of coffee, you stop at one, on a day you are feeling like four you stop at three, at all times leaving part of the stomach empty. It allows for easy movement of food within the stomach and leaves you feeling light in the body and meditative in the mind.
(Rujuta’s new book is Don’t Lose Out, Workout)