June 8, 2010

5 Ways to Enlighten Your Diet – by Elise Collins

Elise Marie Collins is a yoga teacher and author of An A-Z Guide to Healing Foods, A Shoppers Companion.

Her reference book will give you the scoop on unusual healing foods like teff, boraga oil, sorghum, rambutton, and yacon syrup as well as better known health foods such as asparagus, apples and artichokes.

Her book includes a section on what to eat for what ails you and an online shopping and resource guide. Elise recommends increasing your knowledge of healing foods so that you make the best possible food choices for yourself, your friends and your family.

Here’s some tips from Elise!

“Just like my yoga practice, eating for me is a spiritual practice. I love to explore food for it’s potential to uplift the soul. But all practices need constant injections of inspiration.”

Here are some tips that I use to make the process of gathering, growing, preparing, tasting and savoring food more enjoyable, healthful and enlightening.

1. Go to farmers markets.
If you live in a city, find your local farmer’s markets. Big cities often have micro markets during the week, sometimes at odd times or in unusual places. One small market I frequent takes place in front of a hospital on Wednesday at noon.

Go and find out what’s grown locally and in season. Chat it up w/shoppers who seem experienced. Cull recipes and preparation tips. “Wow look at all that Asparagus, do you mind telling me what you are making with it?” If someone grows peaches or Kale, chances are they have become resourceful in utilizing what they grow abundantly and consequently will have lots of recipes and ideas for how to eat and prepare that produce.

www.localharvest.org is a great website for finding locally grown organic food and farmer’s markets

2. Have potlucks w/ friends.
Practice yoga, craft, play music, or get your kids together for a playdate and then SHARE a meal. You will inevitably try something new and delicious and you can ask for recipes.

3. Plant Food.
I plant what I can in our small garden and delight in watching what thrives or withers in the San Francisco fog.  Just as getting in touch with your body is key in yoga, getting in touch with your food- where it comes from and how it affects you are important for your food practice.

Planting seeds and watching them sprout is a great analogy for any spiritual practice. Don’t fret if you have NO space, here are several great books on growing food in containers and in small spaces. Read Grow Great Grub: Organic Food for Small Spaces by Gayla Trail.

4. Live by the rule that food is one of the most important investments of your life.
Many of us spend way too little on what we eat in terms of both time and money. When eating is sacred and we acknowledge food as a spiritual practice, we reap great rewards.

What can you do to “slow down” your food time so that you have more minutes to prepare, savor and digest? What can you cut from your budget so that you can buy some of the more expensive food items you usually deny yourself?

Food is a foundation of health and we should invest in it as such just as we would invest in the foundation of a house.

5. Become a student of food.
Check out cook books from your local library. Go to cooking classes or demos. Linger in the aisles of your local health food store. Buy or swap books on Ayurveda, Macrobiotics or Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Explore a way of eating that tastes great and fits your lifestyle and beliefs.


Elise Collins is the author of An A-Z Guide to Healing Foods, A Shoppers Companion and Chakra Tonic, Essential Elixirs for Mind, Body and Spirit.  She has been a yoga teacher for over 10 years and has studied many forms of healing. Her mission is to help people open to their own inner light as the foundation of spiritual and physical health.

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