Category Archives: Eating for tranquility

Eating for Pitta

When I feel anxious I usually turn to my kitchen. I know my food cravings are largely emotional, so I’ve decided to look to Ayurvedic medicine–an Indian practice of treating the mind and body–for my calming solution.

Several years ago, I visited one of the most well-known Ayurveda centers in the world: The Ayurveda Institute. I was referred to a highly recommended Ayurvedic doctor, who explained there are three essential constitutions–I think of it as types of energy but I know it’s more than that–a person can have (a combination of these is also possible): Vata aka air, Kapha aka water and Pitta aka fire. You must know your constitution to understand what your body has in excess. After this, the imbalance can be treated.

For example, I am Pitta (fire) therefore I need to work on cultivating Kapha (water). I went to The Ayurvedic Institute to treat an acidic stomach. The herbs and dietary recommendations I was prescribed helped me. Since I am a fire-y person I was told to wear blue, say relaxing mantras and eat foods that lacked the usual spice I crave. The idea that what we crave to eat is bad for us was a new idea for me; when I crave a food sometimes I wonder if it’s because of a nutritional imbalance whereas in this tradition the craved food is the result of excess.

So this week I am consulting a book I bought at the institute, Ayurveda and the Mind, to cultivate balance. I will let you know my results.

You can learn what your constitution is by going here.

Eating for Power

As a stay-at-home mom I don’t always feel like I have power outside my household. Frankly, I don’t even feel like I have power to take a shower when I want or sit down and relax. The problem is sometimes I don’t like feeling powerless, even when the lack of power is my doing–me saying I want to put my kids first–and I turn to food.

I am powerless, half of the time, to culinary temptation.

I can’t always DO what I want or get my family to behave accordingly to plan so I eat. At least I can choose what food goes in my mouth.

Of course, this power is the kind that ultimately makes me feel like a failure. I look at myself and feel like a sub-par wife/mom/friend/daughter because I’m overweight so when I go out in the world I feel even more powerless.

But I am not a victim: I’m guilty too.

Guilty of not treating my kids and husband with the respect they deserve all the time. I feel powerless so I make them feel powerless too by not listening fully. Certainly, not doing justice to the ideals of attachment parenting. Sometimes I feel like I’m 85% great at fully supporting my children’s needs but that other 15% potential gets wasted. I’m too in my head and not present enough to always parent fully.

Do other moms feel this way too? Because for me the problem isn’t just about eating too much food–that’s more of a symptom–and if I can somehow work out this issue with my weight I truly think I’ll improve as a mom.

Power, it’s what we have as consumers of food and also what we have as parents. I love the idea of attachment parenting because it has to do with not making kids feel powerless. I don’t want my daughters to feel any more powerless then the world already does. As a person so entirely grateful for the gift that is my children not making them feel powerless seems like the least I should do.

Eating for tranquility

My goal this week is to focus on appreciating my food (i.e. reducing my intake) by eating slowly. Between nursing, cleaning and feeding my family, I find myself consuming food while multitasking so this week I am going to aim to COUNT EACH BITE OF FOOD. Maybe I will visit an organic food, perhaps seeing the labor that goes into what I often eat will make me appreciate it. Here’s to conscious chewing, and living. . .