Grocery Shopping With Zammai (Bringing Mindfulness/Yoga)
Since arriving in the US it has been another journey how to do grocery shopping. I remember when Sadhguru spoke to us before graduating from Isha's Hatha School of Yoga and said if we already know how we plan to take care of our diet. Back then, I said t myself, that it will be another journey on itself heading back to the US and get back to cooking again but not just any type of cooking since my diet has completely changed. I was becoming more sensitive to what I feed my body and as my body changes with the practices, I had to learn what type of food is the most appropriate. As I get more flexible, there are types food that I will not eat in the evening because the next morning, it makes the body feel heavy. With my diet, is like learning another science in itself. When I left New York City, I cooked once a week for 7 days. I cooked large pots of lentils and meat or chicken. I separated all the food in small containers and all went to the freezer and that was it. Life was chaotic. Work, come home, eat, and work again late nights. Well, what a difference it has been now. I will never picture myself cooking every night and cooking organic vegetarian food! Well, that is something interesting. It was easy to eat in India and Nepal because over there if I lived in an Ashram, I don’t worry about cooking because they cook for you. When I lived in Nepal, I used the kitchen guesthouse and it was easy to go to the local market and just buy the same. I didn’t have to look for an organic supermarket because I bought food directly from local farmers.
But since coming to California, I had to look for places where I can buy the appropriate food. My food intake has also changed as I’m transitioning to eating one meal a day. My food intake continues to reduce and now gradually I’m eating smaller portions but my practice intensity has increased especially now that I do 108 Surya Shaktis daily. I thought I will need more food to recover but actually, my body is asking me for less food, and I feel fine with the smaller portions. I tested my portions several times and when I ate more than what my body probably wanted because I knew I was burning more energy with the 108 Surya Shaktis and to my surprise my body felt heavy. Then when I went to smaller portions, the body was light and I felt great. So, this is a part that I'm learning how to have the appropriate amounts that the body needs and still feel light when I do the practices. At times I do get more hungry and I eat larger portions. However, as I continue to reduce my food intake my body is getting bigger not in a fat, but in muscle tone.
Food is life and also energy. How you handle the food is important. Where you buy the food and the ambience is also an important factor. Most of us just want to go to a supermarket, buy the food quickly, come home, cook fast, and eat right away. I used to be this way and I totally understand. This is how most of us live and survive in today’s world. But once you begin to practice Yoga and meditation, gradually you will notice a significance change on how you treat everything that you touch and goes into your body. And in this case, food. You become sensitive to the the food you eat and how it is treat it. When I lived in Silicon Valley (Palo Alto and Sunnyvale), I was lucky to lived close to Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Sprouts Farmer's Market. In Los Angeles, I shop at the Coop Local Farmers Market. If you ask me which one I prefer, well, I will pick Sprouts. I will tell you later why. When you buy food you should be in a state of tranquility and calmness. Remember that the food that you are buying is going into your system and it will do its job to give you all the necessary nutrients that you need. So the food must be handled with care and is not just a tool. I say tool because I noticed people picking food like they have to eat but not because they enjoy eating and looking forward to having a joyful meal. Sometimes people prefer to go to a supermarket because the prices are lower and you can buy more. I get it and understand. And it is basic economics, right? You want to save and buy more. Hey, I used to do that when I lived in New York City because I only shop in the Latino Supermarkets. In the valley, I once went to a local supermarket that sold food at lower prices. It was always crowded with people and it was a small place. I noticed the food was not treated well. I saw how the workers will just throw the vegetables on the aisles containers with so much hurry. Fresh vegetables are on the floor, some people are stepping on the food, and not properly stack. The store plays music very loud and how the food was handle was very sad. Remember that food is energy and this energy remain on the food that you buy. I only shop very few times at this shop when I couldn’t go to Sprouts, Whole Food, or Trader Joes. Without a car in California and relying on buses takes some time to manage your schedule. When I was in Sunnyvale, I found Sprouts a very pleasant experience to buy food. I enjoy buying bulk food because I can touch the food and select what I need. I enjoy weighing the food and just going through the bulk sections where I can make my own Muesli! Yeap, now I make my own muesli. All of the food is properly stack and the staff are super friendly. And not to say the mellow 80s music they play. I grew up in the 80s so if I hear good soft music, then it is much more pleasant. Buy the ambience should not impact your feelings of pleasantness when you buy food. You are pleasant in any situation but if you find a supermarket where the ambience feels calm and joyful, then you stay there and get your food from there. And even here, in Hollywood, I walked 40 minutes to the close Sprouts and it is just the same experience as Sunnyvale.
So next time you go to a supermarket, get the feel for it and don’t be in a rush. Enjoy the experience buying the food that will go into your system. The food is not a tool but your friend that will feed you and give you all of the nutrients that you need. Enjoy the shopping and why not put a smile on the food. People talk to the plants and why not talk to your food when you shop.
Enjoy Mother Earth's food and have a happy meal (not McDonald's!).