After years of health crises, I knew what I needed was a complete lifestyle overhaul. It was an obvious revelation but I struggled with implementation. I didn’t know where to start, so I Googled. Well, Google, as always, had a bit too much to offer. To avoid being overwhelmed, I decided to take one step at a time. Luckily for me, that first step proved to be the right step (which I realised only a few years later) and led me to places & people, who knowingly/unknowingly guided me and helped me make much needed changes to my lifestyle.
My first step was to introduce some form of exercise into my daily routine. As I can’t even stand the sight of a gym, I opted for yoga. Few days later, at 6 in the morning, a fabulous man (his initials being “AT”) appeared at my doorstep, who patiently guided me, relentlessly supported me, & helped me change my life for the better. When AT first met me, I was a ball of anger, with absolutely no patience, always up & ready to fight the world (for ridiculous reasons). My yoga sessions were a farce: I’d refuse to do asanas, I’d fight & get into arguments with AT (I wonder why he even bothered continuing with my classes), I’d make fun of poses, I’d laugh during guided meditation and make up silly stories of how I could see a cat with a halo sitting on his head. Even though I hardly did any yoga, in my mind, I was exercising regularly and that made me feel like a rockstar!
This phase lasted for at least a year and then slowly, over time, things started to improve. Unbeknownst to me, came a time when I started to look forward to my sessions and have fun with my practice. Once that happened, AT injected a bit of yoga philosophy into my sessions, asanas went from being easy to challenging, and as opposed to 3 days a week, I found myself practicing 5 or 6 days a week. About 30 months in, AT suggested that it was time for me to take my practice to the next level. I didn’t understand it then, but, a few months later, I quit my job & moved to Mysore for 10 weeks and started to practice under a man who, for the lack of a better word, I’d call a ‘legend’. This was a whole new world & a whole new journey, and for now, I’d let it be that ‘special untold story’.
Allow me to connect the dots now. All this while AT also helped me improve my food habits, he insisted on me having a routine and eating right. I did manage to get into a routine, and I did try eating right, but it was a constant struggle. I’d get bored and then I wouldn’t like what my cook made, so I’d, along with the husboo, just stuff my face outside. I had absolutely no interest in cooking and had no clue of what was in my kitchen. The cook had the entire kingdom to herself and she cooked what she pleased.
But then Mysore happened – the legend, a 4 am routine, 4 hours of daily practice, simple yet delicious food, more wonderful people, and most importantly, sparkling health! I got back to Bangalore, with renewed vigour & a plan. I decided to continue with my routine but an elbow injury (which I am still nursing / trying to avoid surgery for) interfered with my daily practice. I focused on food instead and this is where life got interesting.
Now as much as I love Google, if you don’t dig deep enough, searches for ‘healthy’ will direct you towards fad diets, calorie counting, low fat intake, no carbs, no dairy, no meat, no gluten, no nothing. Eating spinach day in and day out may seem to be the only way to stay healthy but don’t be so sure, I even read an article claiming that spinach in smoothies is not good for our digestive system. Now anything too restrictive (like keeping me off wheat or butter or milk) is not for me, so I decided to give Google a break. I read books on nutritious foods & met up with my Ayurvedic doctor, who helped me understand my dosha (more on this later), and the benefits of simple home cooked meals.
Now, I keep it simple. I am more conscious of the ingredients I have in my kitchen & what I put in my tummy. I still go stuff my face outside (atleast thrice a week,) but I seem to be doing pretty well. I consume carbs, dairy, gluten, and fat regularly & I haven’t yet visited a doctor this year (except for my elbow injury). I have learnt how to cook (if making the simplest of dishes can be called cooking) & managed to keep the husband looking forward to simple meals (once you get past all the nonsense, Google has some terrific recipes on offer).
Simple, nutritious, & fuss-free (with sinful indulgences in moderation) has been the mantra and has helped me stick to my plan for 6 months now! In my future posts, I’ll continue to share recipes (all discovered on the Internet) and bits & pieces of what I have been doing to make things work for me. I hope it’s simple enough to inspire you and help you take small steps towards better health.