From Meal Botcher To Ayurvedic Chef
I used to burn everything I touched in the kitchen. My vata/pitta and pitta dosha was far from balanced, and I rarely could keep my attention on what I was cooking long enough for it to be somewhat edible. After serveral disasters I started to doubt that I had inherited my grandmother’s finesse in the kitchen. Food and cooking has always been a huge passion of mine, so I kept experimenting, hoping one day things would change.
Finally, I made a conscious decision: I really wanted to get comfortable in the kitchen. I stoped eating out as much as I had before and started buying groceries and looking up different recipes that inspired me. I still botched my meals for a good while, but with baby steps I started walking in the right direction. I gradually felt more and more comfortable, and after a few months I had a handful of meals up my sleeve I could cook really well.
Learning to cook through Ayurveda
When I then got in touch with Ayurveda, things fell into place even more. I started making small changes toward a more conscious mindset in the kitchen, and I was able to actually focus my attention on what I was cooking. I stopped watching TV-shows in the kitchen, kept the space sattvic and started to take care of myself and my body. It was remarkable how the right nutrition and simple practices, such as abhyanga, shifted my attention into the now.
I bought Myra Lewin's books, Freedom in Your Relationship with Food and Simple Ayurvedic Recipes. Finally, cooking was fun and I felt great with my new routines. When Hale Pule launched their Ayurvedic chef training on Hawaii, I was one of the first to sign up.
Ayurvedic chef training to tie it together
The Ayurvedic chef training helped me tie together everything I had learned on my own from books and videos. The discussions on the use of herbs, spices, different qualities of foods and the ayurvedic principles helped me shape the framework from which I cook today.
The kitchen at Hale Pule is a sacred place, so when Myra Lewin offered me the chance to stay after the training and cook for the house for a month, I was honored to have the chance to practice my new cooking skills in such a sattvic environment.
During my month as a Hale Pule cook, I learned how to keep the kitchen organized, how to plan meals for large groups and how to make best use of my time. But one other very important aspect of cooking that I had not paid too much attention to before was my posture and how I manage my personal energy. I learned to carry my body in a way that is healthy and supportive to me and the people who would eat the food I prepared. It is very hard to cook a loving meal when you are not feeling your best, so I found it important to be in a constant state of letting go. I learned tools to to manage my energy at Hale Pule that help me get my junk out of the way so that I can cook with excellence.
Stepping out of my comfort zone with Ayurvedic cooking
One day when I was making dosas, I was finally able to step out of my comfort zone and have creative energy flow freely through me. My old way of cooking was to force things to work out with my strong self-will. But this time the dosas would not let me do things the old way. They burned and fell apart into crunchy little pieces. This time I tried something new, instead of thinking my way to a solution, I trusted my intuition to guide me and surrendered. The result was astonishing and so rewarding! Everything went smoothly and I prepared the meal with ease in much less time than I usually needed. It was the most delicious and beautiful dosas I ever tasted. It was clear that this new way of cooking worked better than my old solutions.
My cooking has changed radically the past few years. I know now how to nourish clients, friends, my family and myself. I cook not only to pleasure my senses, but to enjoy the whole process and share love through my hands.
I have learned that it is possible to enjoy my food six times: When I plan it, prepare it, cook it, eat it, digest it and eliminate it. I believe reconnecting with our higher selves through food, is one of the most loving things we can do as a self-care practice. I'm thankful that I took the chance to learn how.
This post was originally shared at the Hale Pule blog, click here to find it.