In yoga the physical body is also called the ‘food body’, we really are what we eat. Literally every drop we drink and morsel we ingest chemically transforms to become our body, and perhaps more surprisingly our mind, in a continual feedback loop. So our physical form is the product of its diet. I have found that if my body hates what I am eating, I find emotions like self-hatred arising. If it likes what I am eating, I experience more comfort in my own skin.
I love preparing healthy, nutritionally-balanced, ethically-sourced meals to spoil myself and others with and I firmly believe that food should be thy medicine.
In the kitchen
Feb 2016 and 2017 I gave service as lead cook at Burgs’ Dhamma Vihara meditation retreat in the Pyrennees.
Summer 2015 I was one of four lead cooks on Godfrey Devereux’s Windfire Yoga retreat. I cooked for around 30 people a day, using only macrobiotic grains, pulses, sea vegetables and condiments and whatever local, seasonal vegetables, fruit and herbs were available from the extensive Tuscan kitchen garden that day. The menu is designed purely to support the yoga practice and encourage a meditative mindset.
Summer 2014, 2016 & 2017, Kaliyoga, Italy. Working with the resident chef to serve supremely healthy, balanced meals to the retreat guests.
In 2013 I worked as a cook at Soul Kitchen Organic Vegetarian restaurant in Crete. This was right up my alley, no meat, no fish, ethically-sourced ingredients and free-reign to experiment with dishes of the day. I often cooked sattvic, ayurvedic, yogic dishes, with an Indian influence. And my cookies, cakes and desserts were always sugar-free!
After assisting in the kitchen on a yoga retreat in Fuertaventura in September 2012, I went on to cook in a luxury Ski chalet for five months (breakfast, afternoon tea and four-course evening meal), and while I was delighted that everyone loved the food, I personally felt the company menu was too rich and too meaty. I often made myself a breakfast salad and guests would be so envious they’d ask me to make them one instead of a fry-up, which confirmed my belief that people prefer to eat healthily if it is made easy (and tasty of course).
My food story
I’ve been vegetarian since I was 11 years old, but that didn’t automatically lead to a life of perfect health. In my mid-twenties my digestive system threw it’s rattle out of the pram: I had a major digestive shut-down, which took over six months to diagnose and about the same to fix. After many frustrating trips to the GP to be prescribed pill after pill, none of which helped, and in many cases made things worse, I went to a holistic doctor and was diagnosed with massive Candida overgrowth, which was causing a host of fungal infections, leaky gut and chronic fatigue syndromes, among other things.
I was put on a strict exclusion diet, which worked! I was so relieved to be healthy again, to have energy and enthusiasm for life and exercise and actually being able to eat, that I didn’t care how restrictive the diet was.
Ever since then I have been passionate (if a little tiresome as a self-appointed member of the food police) in sharing the power of food to improve one’s lifestyle. If I get an illness or an injury the first thing I do is change my diet. I make Super-Soup whenever I have a cold or flu, I made up a collagen-repair diet when I tore my ankle ligaments, if I notice any eczema or pimples I work out what I’ve eaten in the last 24 hours that may have caused the outbreak.
When you start to listen to your body, it tells you loud and clear when it doesn’t like your dinner.