At the end of summer I signed up for a semester of Yoga and Ayurveda studies in San Jose’s brand new Meru Institute. It’s been rewarding to meditate and learn about ancient Yoga philosophies and the history of Yoga in America. I’ve enjoyed lectures on the basics of Ayurveda and Sanskrit. But last night I got homework that made me turn right back into a teen rebel.
The homework is simple enough. Eat very simply for three to five days. The menu is basic and wholesome: Fruit (in abundance) for breakfast; salad or steamed veggies and brown rice for lunch; steamed veggies or vegetable soup and brown rice for dinner. Green or herbal teas. That’s it.
I broke the news to my husband last night. “No meat, bread, dairy, sugar, no coffee,” I moaned emphatically. “Not even nuts, beans, or seeds. I’m going to have headaches and probably break out. This ruins our anniversary dinner!” Said dinner is four days out. I half-expected him to roll his eyes and agree that I shouldn’t do it.
Instead, he was quiet. And within a few minutes I realized it was just homework, I could do three days instead of five, and that’s only nine meals. Instead of having to adhere to a complex, specific diet, I was given carte blanche as long as I followed the simple guidelines. No one was telling me to count calories—just eat until I was full. Where exactly was the suffering? I sighed. “OK, I get it. You’ll support me in doing my homework,” I said. He nodded.
Now, the homework was assigned with two goals in mind. First, it’s a quick and gentle re-setting of our systems, a method of finding out what we are heavily dependent on and perhaps lightening that dependency. The second, as is with all spiritual “fasts,” is to remember that we are more than just our body, and more than our clamoring mind. Every grumble, every headache, is a chance to remember.
I’m already two meals in. So far, I’m not suffering. This morning it was a bowl of chopped apples, which is all I had, but I went to the market and am already dreaming about tomorrow morning’s baked pears and banana. Lunch was brown rice and steamed carrots, broccoli, cabbage, string beans, and zucchini half-moons. I added chopped avocado and olive oil (allowed) to the last of the rice. It was delicious and filling. Tonight I’m baking a butternut squash, an onion, and an apple, and blending everything into soup.
I can’t remember when I was so excited about vegetables.
What would you make for your nine meals?