My eating habits were one of the places my residency at the ashram changed my life (see my novel Yoga Bootcamp for a taste of the experience).
The lacto-vegetarian cuisine was one, leading to three extended periods “on the outside” when I continued it. Even when I haven’t, the amount of meat in my menus has remained much less than many Americans’. I rarely use bacon, for instance, and when I do, it’s likely to be as a garnish, say on a spinach salad. Hamburger is more likely to be in a meatball or meatloaf rather than in a bun.
Gravy, curiously, has become more heavenly than ever as an extension of the rue family.
And lamb, a recent addition, is simply glorious, especially grilled.
Grilling, I should add, is something I’ve come to treasure through my wife and the space we dubbed the Smoking Garden. There’s no substitute, as far as I can tell, and it makes for some great social gatherings.
What I gained through the ashram was a delight in vegetables and fruits, especially in season, as well as dried beans, nuts, and mushrooms.
The other lasting change was in my dining habits.
Our first food of the day came after morning meditation, community scripture reading, and perhaps physical exercise, and then it was light food – coffee and toast, maybe with yogurt or fruit, and that after we’d already been up three hours. The real meals were a late brunch or early lunch, around 11, and an evening meal around 4 or a little later.
I’ve continued a similar schedule, foodwise. Well, my caffeine intake is down, per doctor’s orders, but what I have is top-notch. Quality over quantity, right? When I was working the “vampire shift,” till midnight or so, the hours were adjusted accordingly, often with a melty cheese sandwich before bed or a martini. (Alcohol was strictly forbidden on the yoga diet.)
In retirement, I find myself often down to one major meal of the day, and holding steady.
What are some of your food traditions?