Now, I’m not talking about food as something that nourishes the body; gives it fuel; quells the growling. I’m talking about food as comfort, food as love – food as all the things it’s not really supposed to be.
An acupuncturist once told me once that I was a “super taster,” and I think it is true. When I was growing up, I could taste flavors no one else in my family could. That didn’t mean I was picky or limited. My mom says I ate absolutely everything as a baby, except Jello. (I am very proud of that, by the way – you might say, attached. And I still think Jello is disgusting.)
I eat certain things and they transport me; to a certain time, moment, memory. To an emotional connection of safety or security (or sometimes, loss and negativity – I stay away from those recipes).
There are certain foods from childhood that I eat because I associate them with comfort; mainly crunchy-salty with ooey-gooey. Think buttered popcorn, well-salted; French fries (preferably homemade) with Heinz ketchup (they make an organic Heinz ketchup now, you know?!). And almost anything involving wheat and melted cheese (sigh!).
And, truly — I have not eaten meat in 20 years, but if my grandmother came to my house right now and made her pot roast, I’d eat, and eat, and eat.
Would it really be about the pot roast?
It was the love she poured into it, her desire for us to be nourished and feel cared for – she loved her family beyond measure, and it showed in everything she did, everything she said, and in the food she so lovingly prepared.
This brings me back to my attachments, and food. There are so many things I want to say about food; I’m a Taurean; I could write about it, think about it, meditate on it for lifetimes. Instead, today I’ll narrow my focus, and speak only to my attachment to how food is prepared.
There is this thing called prana – a Sanskrit term that translates as lifeforce or life energy. It permeates all of existence – it is in the air we breathe, the thoughts we think, the food we ingest. It animates the Universe; it is the breath of God within us. It is why we can hook a body up to a machine, but it is not alive – no prana. A lack of prana is why people can be living on this Earth, but not be truly alive. It is important, but invisible.
In our culture, no one tells us it exists.
But to us yogis, it is very, very important; we want to harness it, purify it – bring it into our being, balance it in our energy body, and lift it up, up, up – to the heaven within, as it were. When bringing prana in through food, it matters how the food is prepared, and who prepares the food – what their intention was, their vibration. As well as our attitude and emotions upon consuming the food. Feeling angry, feeling deprived? Feeling grateful, feeling cared for?
This explains why you can inhale 2,000 calories from the drive-thru, and be ravenous two hours later – no prana, baby.
I am somewhat attached to the convenience of a microwave – not so much for cooking, but for re-heating. For zapping water for tea, re-heating a plate of leftovers, melting butter to popcorn-annointing perfection; you understand. But my ayurvedic practitioner friend, David, told me in September that when you microwave the food – it zaps the prana. Cooking it from within makes it devoid of life energy.
My friend Julia has been telling me microwaves,were no good for years. But this really put it over the top for me.
So, I told my children and husband about the damage the microwave causes to our food. Even threatened to remove the offending machine (mostly so I would not be tempted to use it). But my husband gently pleaded; “But, honey, I use it a lot, especially for breakfast.”
Well, he had me there; 10 years of nagging (kindly! lovingly!) my wonderful husband to eat something (anything!) for breakfast – I’m not gonna mess with that.
Two of the children took it all in stride; but my little Pisces?
She’s not going to let me off the hook.
Last week: “Is that prana-free macaroni and cheese” she inquires of her sister. Her sister shrugs, “Uh, yeah.”
Yesterday, I pull lunch out of the microwave. “Is that a no-prana enchilada?” she asks.” “Ah, yes — but, I . . . but . . . but.” I stammer. “. . . . but . . . it’s 2:40 pm . . . and I haven’t had lunch . . . and I’m really, really hungry.”
She looks at me.
“Okay,” I say, “I’m being lazy.”
She nods, and comments, “Couldn’t you use the toaster oven?”
I stare blankly. She relents.
But the lesson is learned. I am saying one thing to her, yet doing another.
Today, I have a very bad sore throat. And I’m not saying that it is because I microwaved my enchilada.
But I am making some homemade clam-corn chowder. On the stove. With love and intention. And I promise NOT to microwave the leftovers tomorrow.