What Are You Hungry For?
contains. Instead, you vividly experience your five senses and the feelings that eating evokes. You hear soup bubbling on the stove and experience comfort. You feel the creamy texture of a spoonful of custard and have a moment of delight. In Ayurveda, harmony is all-embracing. It includes the vibrancy of colorful foods and the pleasure of a well-set table. Every sensation carries its own message; every message is received by your cells.
    In keeping with this Ayurvedic understanding, we pay more attention at the Chopra Center to the personal experience of eating than to measuring each specific quantity of nutrition. Science has done itswork in breaking down the healthful ingredients in food. But knowledge has to be turned into experience and then into applied wisdom. The nutritional label on a bag of potato chips supplies knowledge. Choosing not to buy the potato chips gives you the chance to experience something better. Applied wisdom runs deeper. Consider the following Bible verse:
    Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than feasting in a house of strife.
(Proverbs 17:1)
    One finds applied wisdom there. I think more of the same can be found in Ayurveda, for anyone who is open to its brand of wisdom.
    One piece of applied wisdom is “First, do no harm,” the same instruction given to physicians in the Hippocratic oath. The food you take in shouldn’t interfere with the body’s natural state of well-being. Second, eat food that comes as close as possible to being harvested that day. Your palate can immediately tell the difference, and according to Ayurveda, so can the rest of your body, because taste is the principal way that we instinctively shape our diet.
    At the Chopra Center we recommend that you eliminate or minimize the use of
foods, an acronym for food that is:
    F rozen
    L eftover
    U nnatural
    N uked (microwaved)
    C anned
    In Ayurveda, the fresher the food, the more life force, or
is available. This principle applies to all categories of food, including not only fruits and vegetables but also meat (including fish), eggs, dairy, and grain. While we encourage you to move toward a plant-based diet, we believe that high-quality (and organic where possible)meat (including chicken and fish) and dairy, in moderation, can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.
    More Tips for Maximum Freshness
    Choose fruits and vegetables that are locally grown, freshly harvested, and prepared as soon as possible after picking. They are more flavorful and delectable, and they send your body the message that it’s receiving the highest-quality nutrients. Foods that are stored and shipped great distances are more likely to be affected by oxidation. As soon as a piece of fruit or a vegetable is picked, the process of decomposition begins. A banana turns brown after sitting for an hour because free radical molecules deplete it of its natural antioxidants.
    Eat in Season
    It’s best to eat fruits and vegetables that are in season where you live because they will have the best flavor and nutritional value. If you live in an area where produce isn’t available year-round, look for fruits and vegetables that radiate the most life force. If they look and smell fresh, they are most likely to taste good and contain optimal levels of energy and information.
    Visit Your Local Farmers Market
    Farmers markets not only offer fresh, organic foods that are in season, they are also interesting places to visit, whether on your own or with friends and family. You can learn a lot about food and its benefits by talking with the farmers who grow it—and you’ll also be supporting your local economy.
    Grow Your Own
    Growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs can be fun and satisfying. Even if you live in a small apartment, you can try a containergarden on a windowsill or balcony. There are many excellent books on organic gardening—choose one that suits your area and climate.
    What Does “Natural” Mean?

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