Freedom in Your Relationship with Food
Myra Lewin
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Buy *Freedom in Your Relationship with Food: An Everyday Guide* by Myra Lewin online

Freedom in Your Relationship with Food: An Everyday Guide
Myra Lewin
Synergy Books
240 pages
January 2009
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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My friends and family consider me to be a picky eater, and I suppose that’s true in a sense. I’ve been convinced for a long time that the food we eat—or more accurately, the quality of the food we eat—has a profound effect on our physical and mental health.

One of the most beneficial lifestyles I’ve found is ayurveda, which is the basis for Myra Lewin’s book Freedom in Your Relationship with Food. Ayurveda, which can be translated as ‘the science of life,’ consists of principles or guidelines for creating a harmonious balance in mind, body, and spirit. “Ayurveda looks at the individual and addresses lifestyle and conscious living in unity with all of nature,” Lewin writes. In other words, this is not about counting calories to lose weight or banning butter to lower cholesterol. Ayurveda permeates all aspects of life and encourages us to eat the foods that contribute to a holistically wise lifestyle.

Beginning with a definition of food (“…anything you consume through your senses, including the mouth, nose, eyes, ears, and skin”), Lewin leads the reader through a series of suggestions and considerations about the power of illusion, the importance of personal experience in choosing an appropriate diet, and the need to examine the origins of our beliefs about health and happiness:

“This book provides simple, natural approaches to meeting your true needs in terms of food, eating, and your relationships with others and the earth.”
Ayurvedic principles deal with the individual and so can be difficult to grasp. There is no single plan or path that works for everyone, just as there is no single food that is good or bad for everyone. Yoga and ayurveda practitioner Lewin does a fine job of explaining the concept while encouraging readers to test each food and suggestions to determine whether a given item makes a significant difference for better or worse.

Ayurveda recognizes three primary constitutions or doshas – Vata, Pitta, Kapha—that can enhance health when properly balanced or stimulate disease when deranged (imbalanced). Lewin gives a quick checklist to help readers determine their primary dosha. In addition, she provides lists of specific foods and beverages useful for balancing each, along with symptoms associated with an imbalanced dosha. An excess of Vata, for instance, may present as fear and anxiety, while balanced Vata exhibits creativity. Extreme anger and jealousy suggest an excess of Pitta energy, while balanced Pitta is intelligent and capable. When Kapha is out of balance, the result is greed and physical congestion rather than the calm and loving nature of balanced Kapha.

After the explanation and guidelines, Lewin provides suggestions for specific problems. She goes on to share blessings for meals and breathing and meditation exercises. There are several simple recipes, as well, including a few for kitchadi, a staple dish in ayurveda.

The only thing missing here – and this is a flaw in every book about ayurveda that I’ve seen—is a sensible solution to the problem of finding fresh food in the winters months. Ayurvedic principles strongly discourage eating leftovers, frozen food, and anything more than a day old. Those of us in regions that experience winter would quickly starve without frozen foods and produce shipped in from warmer climates. Aside from that puzzler, though, Freedom in Your Relationship with Food is an easy-to-assimilate, no-pressure introduction to a truly life-enhancing system.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Deborah Adams, 2009

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