The one recurring question that folks have asked about my trip to India is all about the food...so what about the food?
It's an interesting question. The focus of my trip is the study of yoga and setting the practice that I do in context. This trip is not travel for the sake of travel but rather a time to set aside competing users of my energy and make practice the focus of my days. That said, I need to eat in a way that supports practice.
It's interesting to me to see just how well I can "read" my body and then eat according to what I need rather than just what I'm in the habit of eating. At home, I eat lots of vegetables, especially green, leafy ones, some fruit, small amounts of whole grain carbs, and small amounts of protein. This is just what works best for my body. I tend toward feeling heavy and need to each very light to feel at my best. I eat no meat, very little dairy and very rarely eat eggs at home as these things tend to make me feel as if I've swallowed lead weights. I also tend to eat 3-4 smallish meals spread out through the day at home. That just seems to work best for keeping energy up and avoiding a growling stomach, which I find very distracting and hard to ignore.
...but here? ...very different. I have a late practice time here. I actually start my practice at about 8:30 am. As much as I love the quiet of early morning practice, it's been really nice to get a full night's sleep most nights. It means that I don't usually eat anything until around 10:30 or 11 am though....and depending on how crowded the place is where I'm eating, it could be noon. So, I've transitioned to what feels best to my body here, which is one big meal (brunch) in the late morning after practice. I usually choose western type breakfast food. Spicy Indian food is just not appetizing to me for breakfast. I've also had to really up the amount of protein that I eat. I had some of my lightest ever primary series practices during the first week of my stay, but by the end of the first week, I was just feeling far too fuzzy and spacey. I switched to eating more dairy and some eggs and immediately felt better, grounded and focused.
There are a couple really nice breakfast places run by western expats that cater to the needs of westerners for things like a piece of toast, plain coffee, or tea with no sugar. Although, on a day with a led class, when I will finish my practice earlier, I can make it to the roof top breakfast at my apartment building, where I eat a mix of Indian and western food and have traditional Indian chai.
Lunch is usually much smaller, usually Indian food, mostly vegetables, with some veggie protein, some rice and chapatis. There are a couple of local Indian families who run little lunch cafes out of their homes...best. chapatis. ever! Once a week, a really lovely Taiwanese women hosts a lunch buffet at her home...amazing food!
Dinner is usually very light. Sometimes a banana smoothie at a local home-cafe. Sometimes a piece of banana bread or plain bread with homemade almond butter from the guy who runs a little shop across from the shala. I also buy his homemade granola which makes a nice snack in the afternoon if I've done a lot of walking around town and am feeling hungry.
...and of course I visit the chocolate man's little shop...wouldn't want to be without chocolate for too long! :-)