Monday, June 29, 2009

My comfort foods are spaghetti and chocolate milk. They have been for years. Not necessarily together, at the same meal. Especially not together since it would be a prajnaparada, a crime against Ayurvedic wisdom, since milk (the dairy variety) does not mix well with other things. They’re comfort foods because of the carbs and the subsequent serotonin effect, because they were both comfort foods for me growing up and have those pleasant childhood associations. And, in some ways, I suspect there’s a bit of the addictive allergy that may not be the best thing for me at play in my relationships with those two foods.

People often ask me about cravings: do we crave what will bring us into balance or do our cravings throw us further out of balance. The answer: It depends. It depends because it depends on our relationship with our ability to listen to ourselves, to our state of being in balance, to the nature of our body and mind’s innate intelligence.

So, when we’re truly craving something that is good for us, that we’re calling for from the depths of our being, and when we consume it, each cell in our body sings in a joyous symphony, well then, we’re craving something good for us, that is going to bring us back into balance, or keep us in balance in the first place. We can feel it, if we’re listening and being truly honest with ourselves.

On the other hand, if we’re craving something that merely makes us more out of balance as we already are, that exacerbates the condition of too much air, or too much fire or too much heaviness of earth, well, then that’s something to question, to stop and pause. To ask ourselves if we’re craving it out of mental habit, emotional desire or some convoluted need to ease some pain. Habit is a strong force, from an Ayurvedic perspective, and one which can pull us in directions we maybe shouldn’t go.

But then if we are craving something, we can look at what it is, and perhaps, what are some alternatives that could even be balancing. I’ve substituted chocolate almond milk today; it’s not as congesting or kaphagenic. I added freshly ground black pepper, fresh ginger root and some pine nuts to the pasta to heat up the wet and damp qualities of the wheat. And it’s been at least a couple months since I indulged in pasta, so for an experiment, I can check on how I feel. Tomorrow, it will be time to eschew the pasta for greens and not get caught up in the habit.

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