the fruits of a month’s labour..

My experiment began on the morning of 18th April,2011..

I began my day with fruits and nothing else. The first few days were tough. I overstocked my fridge with lots of fruits and ended up polishing off nearly everything every day fearing they wont be enough and that I’ll be hungry.

I would literally be waiting for the clock to strike 12 and then – ATTACK lunch !

I somehow managed these few days..

The 5th day turned out different. I had to head to town for a meeting.. So I had my ususal fruit cocktail platter at home, and left home. As soon as I reached town I had a glass of fresh juice too.

I had assumed the meeting would last till about 12.30 after which I’d as usual attack lunch. But unexpectedly the meeting went on till 2.

What I experienced that day sums up a lot for me. I did begin to feel hungry, but it was not something that came in the way of my work, or my ability to think. I didn’t feel headachy or acidic or that I’d die if I didn’t get food that minute. I was hungry but I WASN’T CRAVING or feeling SICK with it.

I finally ate lunch that day at 3 pm, and this was neither ordered nor eaten in a rush, but rather savored.

It was beautiful to not be a prisoner to this demonic emotion of craving, that we so many times have experienced, but just dont know how to deal with, except fill up our systems with whatever is available in front of us at that time. I know everyone doesn’t behave this way when they are hungry, but I also know many like me who do.. and this one is for them..

This change obviously had something to do with the fruits I was having since past few mornings.

As I chewed over this for the next few days, I realized that perhaps my system had been craving essential nutrients all these years. The hunger sickness was perhaps my body’s way of screaming out – I need nutrition.. which it still didn’t end up getting enough of.

But now that the body was getting its required nutrition on a daily basis, and confident that it would continue, it didn’t feel the need to scream anymore. How simple, how revolutionary.. to nourish ourselves with simple natural foods, yet how complicated we make our food out to be.

Over the next few days, I experienced yet more freedom.

I realized that sometimes just a bit of watermelon or a mango was enough to satiate me for the entire morning. Of course sometimes I needed more than that, but I liked the idea of staggering my fruits, and feeling the need for it and then reaching out to it, rather than stuffing myself, for the fear of future hunger.

The point I’m trying to make is that I started listening to my body. I started eating how much I need, rather than a pre-decided fixed amount at a fixed time.

Some if these condtionings are definitely a result of my boarding school and hostel background (welhamites would vouch for it!) which I carried with me way longer than required. But this month I’ve shed it for good. And I’m feeling lighter and healthier.

‘Only when we stop craving, can we start giving.’ This is what I experienced at a deeper level.

But wait a minute – all this stuff that I’m talking about, these feelings I’m getting, and conquering, are they just my feelings, or is there anything more to it? There obviously has to be some science, some biology involved as well.

A book I picked up next, recommended to me by my dear friend Kavita Mukhi, who is also an eco nutritionist, answered many of my questions about what was really happening to me by doing something so simple as having fruits in the morning.. some basic facts in the book, gave me more experiments to do over the course of the month.. and these continue..

On to those, in the next post..

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the start of my experiments…

Most people who know me closely, would have an idea that I have been into healthy eating and fitness since forever. This is just something that is a part of me. Its not something I had to try too hard for. I have never been on any diet, as I dont believe in depriving myself, just in order to lose weight or something. I felt that if I did that, the deprivation or craving would catch up with me sooner or later and I would end up binging (dont we all know this only too well??)

But a few months back, I began to take this whole food and fitness thing a little more seriously than I have done in all these years. Rather than taking it for granted, why not take it to the next level. Around this time, I met up with a friend, who had cured a chronic bronchitis, just by eating the right food. And not only she, but her entire family had changed their food habits, over this year, including her in-laws and children. They had given up completely on processed foods like biscuits and namkeens, colas and sugary drinks. they had given up on milk and curd. They had reduced eating wheat to once a day !

They looked healthy and happy, and not deprived. This is a hearty food loving punjabi family, that I am talking about. I wondered how this foodie punjabi family could pull this off ? I was totally surprised.. I wanted to know more.

They told me they have only fruits till 12 in the morning. They urged me to do the same.

‘No way, I cant do without carbs 5 times a day.’ is what I told them.  A breakfast that does not include bread, cereal or paranthas does not work for me. I would go crazy by lunch time, get headaches, feel hungry, feel acidic.. I was big on food cravings. When I was hungry, I wanted food, else I was as good as dead, because I really couldn’t focus on anything else then.

They still urged me to try it, the hitch being – eat as much fruit as you want, till you are not feeling hungry.

Their conviction, as well as a sensed common foodie background, convinced me to give this a shot. Honestly, the thoughts circling my mind were ‘this is not going to work for me, but whats the harm in at least giving it a shot. If it doesn’t work, it doesnt. I go back to my regular breakfast in a couple of days.’

And thus, about a month ago, began my little experiment with myself. This time, the idea was also to observe what difference this food pattern makes in my life, my body, my health, and my mind..

Its been about a month, and I haven’t gone back to my regular carbie cereal/parantha breakfast I thought I’d die without. I haven’t craved it, I haven’t been headachy,  I haven’t felt acidic. I feel more energy, at the same time completely at ease and light. My skin is glowing, and my hair feels healthier.

This is a surprise even to myself. Initially I couldn’t believe that I was actually pulling this off. But little observations through the month, have helped me understand how this whole thing really works..

And there’s one thing that I’m certainly beginning to understand with my life – we are what we eat!

I would have really liked to start this blogging from the day I began it, so as to put down my daily thoughts and observations, but anyway.. better late than never. I’ll have to now cram the entire month’s observations into my next post.. just for everyone to get the sense of whats going on. And then on, perhaps a more as it happens kind of thing :):)