Do you ever have cravings?
Is that a stupid question?
So, what are yours?
I’ll tell you mine…
Yes, Potato Chips. But not just any old chip. All Natural Kettle Chips, gently cooked in the finest oils, seasoned with the freshest, all natural ingredients, creating chips with deep, rich flavors and fresh-from-the-field character, just as their website says. The crispy, salty, dill infused, potato earth crunch of these Kettle Chips calls to me from the nearest Market in the sweetest, most promising voice, “Laura, I am here….”
Still, a major new diet study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that potato chips are The Very Worst Diet Offenders. They are demon Numero Uno behind the pound-a-year weight-creep that plagues us as we age. Which is no surprise. Just another reminder that I really have to Say No.
So when it occurs, it’s time to look into the Anatomy of the Craving: to break down the desire to its bare bones, to peel away the outer layers of quick and convenient, dig into its underlying impulse and try to discover a deeper, core truth.
“What is it?” I ask myself whenever I hear that persistent call. “What is it that you really desire? What is underneath that craving that might actually be good, perhaps even essential?”
This is a practice of listening called Vichara, from the Yoga tradition. It is a form of self-enquiry that lovingly gives attention to the desires, thoughts, emotions that we’ve grown to resist, dislike or disassociate. Instead of fighting against or guiltily succumbing, we wrap our awareness around the thought, feeling or sensation. We “listen to it” until it calms, until the inner experience is quiet enough to be able to hear what is needing to be heard.
Almost always, down under the noise, there is something wise, true, intimate and pure. Absolutely always, when followed to its completion, the practice provides deeper self-understanding, fosters self-compassion, and in time, reduces cravings.
So I listen.
Cravings are few and far between now, but when the desire does arise, it is almost always the same. I have, therefore, investigated its source many times. Usually, I interpret it as a need for Grounding/Potatoes, Hydration/Oils, and Electric Energy/Minerals and Salts. Inspired by the voice of that inner wisdom, home in my “kitchen lab,” I then enjoy inventing a recipe to satisfy the craving, and hopefully, keep me from landing in one of those diet studies as a statistic!
This summer, satisfaction has come with this delicious Potato Salad that can be made Vegan by using a Vegan Mayonnaise like Spectrum’s, or one you make yourself, and by replacing the eggs with Tofu: about half a block, drained and chopped into cubes.
Grounding, tonifying, mineral-rich, refreshing and reassuring, this salad packs substance. It can even serve as a meal unto itself. Hearty and wholesome ~ just the way cravings like to be handled.
Ayurvedically, the primary tastes of this meal are Sweet and Bitter and the Action is Cooling, so it is perfect for a Summer picnic. We had it for lunch yesterday served on a bed of Red Leaf Lettuce.
Learning to listen and love your cravings, needs, desires, and to respond with intelligence and delight is what my Ayurvedic Nutrition & Cooking Classes are all about! I invite you to join us August 7th, 11 am. More details, including the Menu for our Summer Feast, is at DeepYoga.com.