The other day I came across this really great article from the Wanderlust Blog, about finding your truth with food using Satya, a yogic yama (or moral precept) that roughly translates to “non-falsehood” (but more on that later). At first when I read the title of the article, I thought, “What could this be all about? Finding truth with food?” Luckily, I decided to keep an open mind and went on to read the article. Originally, based on the title of the article, I thought the post would be about finding spiritual revelation or higher understanding through food. Which could be a bit of a stretch. But instead, the article focused on finding YOUR truth ABOUT food – finding what works for you and what doesn’t.
In a world of infinite diets – vegan, vegetarian, paleo, whole 30, keto, gluten-free, etc – it can be really hard to make sense of what’s really right for you. I don’t need to belabor this point; I’m sure all of us at some point have had questions about our diets before. And just to be clear, I’m not talking about people who are on a specific diet because of intolerances or medial reasons (i.e. Lactose Intolerance, Celiac Disease, etc.). I’m talking about those of us who are struggling to navigate the endless barrage of information about nutrition that we’re bombarded with every day. And that’s where Satya comes in.
Satya is one of the five yogic yamas, which are ethical guidelines within Hinduism. There are many ways to define them, but in my Yoga Teacher Training, we learned them to be: Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (non-falsehood), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (non-excess), and Aparigraha (non-coveting). I prefer the definitions with the prefix “non” in front of them, because it encompasses a broader definition than just, say, “truthfulness” or “self-control”. For example, let’s look at Satya. If it meant just being truthful, that would be very easy to understand. You can tell someone a truthful story easily, right? But the definition of “non-falsehood” implies the absence of any falsehood itself. You can tell this story truthfully, but are you leaving out someone else’s perspective that could change the story’s meaning? It’s a very fine distinction, but something can be true yet still false at the same time. It usually happens when we leave out bits of truth that can change the overall picture entirely. And that’s why Satya means “non-falsehood”, instead of just truth. I really like this definition of it – “In Yoga, Satya is one of five yamas, the virtuous restraint from falsehood and distortion of reality in one’s expressions and actions.”
So how does this translate to food? Speaking from my own experience, I know I sometimes lie to myself or distort reality when it comes to my food choices. “Oh, if I eat this, I won’t get a stomach ache.”, or “I’ll feel fine if I have these potato chips.” It’s so easy to let short-term cravings overrule my long-term health.
In the Wanderlust article, the author writes: “Much like you know when you’re going too far in a backbend, you probably know when you’re choosing a food that isn’t a match for your body. You can develop these skills with practice. After eating, notice if you feel more or less energized. Ideally a food gives you energy. If it’s not a fit for your needs, it drains energy.” THIS is Satya. It means finding the foods that work for YOU, and not anybody else. It means being honest with yourself if a certain food isn’t working for your body, or is draining you of energy. And the most important takeaway of this whole article is the concept of individual truth. What works for my body may not work for yours, and vice versa. In fact, Laura of The First Mess recently wrote about this too – “…It seems like everyone disagrees over what food/behaviour is truly “healthy.” I tend to favour nourishment as a guiding light these days because it implies a certain individuality. It’s a concept that goes deeper than physical wellness. Nourishment is about feeding your life beyond the fuel that gets you to the next thing. Spaces, people, time, and practices all have nourishing qualities that are necessary in order to thrive.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
If you take anything away from this post, it’s that finding YOUR truth when it comes to food is all that matters. Do what’s right for you, regardless of what other people think or say. :)
- 1 lb Package Kelp Noodles
- 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
- ¼ Cup Tamari or Soy Sauce
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Tsp Fresh Ginger, grated
- Juice from 1 Lime
- ¼ Tsp Sriracha
- ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
- 1 Tbs Toasted Sesame Oil
- 2 Tbs Water
- 2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- ½ Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
- ¼ Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
- Start by making the sauce. Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
- Take Kelp noodles out of package and rinse quickly. Dry them off with paper towels, then use your knife to cut them into smaller pieces.
- Chop basil and cilantro.
- Toss Kelp noodles with sauce, basil, and cilantro. Add in red pepper flakes if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
Song of the Day:
Sun Light – MC Yogi