Friday, January 13, 2012

golden congee

we talk a lot about food an eating in vaidyagrama. to kick it off, a visiting swami says, with a sunshine grin on his round moon face, in his impeccable indian accent, this is a five star ashram and the food is colorless, odorless and tasteless. he bursts into a hearty laughter. it’s contagious.

all kidding aside, as dr harikrishnan says calmly and clearly, they work hard to make neutral food here, they purposely don’t cook for the tongue. so when you eat you are truly only eating for the stomach. but let me be clear. the menus are thoughtfully designed. they are carbo-centered because protein makes your liver work a lot more than carbs and during treatments they want your liver to work as little as possible. ingredients are fresh and naturally grown. cooking is simple. no chilies, garlic, fermented or fried food. salt is used sparingly and only rock salt. no refined sugar. our herbal drinks are sweetened with jaggery, pure solidified cane juice.

a lot of the indian food i’ve been eating are out the window. how about mango lassi? no. why? yoghurt is fermented. milk and fruit are absolutely a no-no combo in ayurveda. together in your stomach they produce toxins. such toxins, according to ayurveda, are the root of all diseases. by the way toxins are also produced when your digestion is not strong and food is not metabolized properly.

on a side note ayurveda don’t treat food allergies individually. they believe if the person has strong digestive fire and good eating habits there’s no such thing as something you can’t eat in moderate amounts judiciously. that’s what dr harikrishnan says when i tell him i am wheat sensitive. that was a month ago. two nights ago supper was chapatis and beet chutney. i didn’t feel like sending them back. hwubby says, when don’t you try it. so i do. sure i am paying more attention about chewing well. but the fact remains i don’t get headache and feel heavy after chapatis.

having said that i have to say my top fave staple food is congee. so i’ve been trying to convince dr harikrishnan to let me have congee as the grain during the rest of my stay. he thinks deeply and turns to unni, the assistant doctor, put a little ghee in her congee for breakfast and lunch, not supper. then he says to me, you need to gain some strength, you can gain a little weight and you don’t want to. really. he is so perceptive.

anyhow, there you have it. my breakfast. golden congee of red rice with a little ghee. whole mung. papadam. i can tell my stomach loves it. i feel wonderful. none of those heavy and dull feeling i always have after food.

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