I was born a little plump with red cheeks and my round cheeks stayed well into my late teens. We often sat in the kitchen and ate hot food while my mother cooked for our family. I loved eating and any celebration always included food like suji halwa, gulab jamuns, jalebi, besan ladoos, puri, chana, samosa, ice cream sundaes…. my love for food was such that at one time I even contemplated opening a restaurant. I am a typical Punjabi, for whom food is an integral part of life.
When I was about 17 years old, a classmate remarked about my visible (slightly J) paunch. That comment was like the death sentence for a teenager. It jolted me out of my stupor and my inner awareness got awakened. I became observant of my eating habits and that of my family. My parents were always slim. My father enjoyed his food but he lived with an awareness of his consumption. If he ate extra anytime, he adjusted for that in his next meal. I started exercising regularly and eating with awareness and the path of moderation became my guide and a way of life.
To create awareness of habits in my children, when they were little, we derived a plan where they were allowed pizza or burger only on Friday evening. It proved to be such a win-win plan. Our sons stopped demanding junk food on other days of the week and we had the added advantage whereby Fridays became a day of bonding between the brothers on their choice of movie and food. Little by little, these lessons became a way of teaching how to live with awareness and make choices consciously.
My relationship with food has been rather unique. Food acquainted me to my inner awareness. That inner voice or Krishna Consciousness is a part of all of us and we can awaken it, listen to it and live mindfully. Awareness of my eating habits demonstrated the power of our mind and our ability to conquer and discipline our thoughts. I like to taste and celebrate the various creations of life, however, in moderation and with awareness.
At ISKCON Food Relief Foundation mid day meal project, Annamrita, the meals are cooked with Consciousness to nurture the mind and soul of the children and improve their health. As a family, we have been supporting the cause of Annamrita for over a decade as Annamrita supports healthy and wholesome meals and promotes through its Mid Day Meal project the concept of a healthy mind in a healthy body.
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