Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I haven’t really described what I’ve been eating here yet, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. At the ashram I get three meals a day. Breakfast consists of black tea (called “ukadu”) with milk and either a couple bakris or some small nastaa. For lunch we have a shaak, bakris, some sort of salad (fruit or vegetable), and a variety of kichrdi. I was surprised to see that there are many different types of kichrdi. For dinner there is more bakri/shaak, along with a freshly-made vegetable soup. Both the shaaks and soups are made from vegetables that come fresh from the organic farm next to the ashram. When I first came here, I was in love with the food. The shaaks and soup are incredibly tasty, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Thinking about it now, the meals would be orgasmic for Greg, who likes few things more than soup and Indian food (imagine when they combine forces, Greg…). Because I’ve been constantly getting three big meals a day, I have barely dug into my stash of Nature Valley bars and Clifbars, because I’ve not been hungry much.

But at this point I’ve realized that there is a big difference about how and what I’m eating here that has taken a toll on me and may have contributed to my recent illness. First, two meals a day of Indian food is very heavy for me. At most, I’ve had one Gujarati meal a day in my life. Eating 6-8 bakris a day is absolutely too much. Second, I realized that my old pattern was eat when hungry; now, I eat according to a schedule, set by the kitchen staff that cooks my meals. This means I eat even when my body tells me that it doesn’t need food. When I’m at home, I usually wait for my body to tell me that it wants food before I begin hunting for it. This means that I go hungry a lot more but I eat only as needed. I like this system better, though I’m not sure which is better for your health. Nevertheless, I’m used to eating in this way and since I’ve come here I’ve been having trouble coping. Added to the problem is that I don’t have the freedom to skip a meal if I want… the kitchen staff prepares the meals especially for me and if I don’t eat it goes to waste. I feel obligated to eat because they are preparing it. Also, it seems like the mentality here is that it’s a good thing to gain weight through eating. The ladies in the kitchen (and Surajbhai) have explicitly said how they have not done a good job unless I get fat. Well, sorry to disappoint people, but I can’t sustain this diet.

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