Published 10:38 AM EST Dec 5, 2018
Before you know it the holiday season will be here, complete with all the attendant food binges.
It’s an absolute green light for people to eat, drink and — seemingly — be happy. But in doing so, party-goers veer outside the lines of healthy living, indulging to the point where they won’t attempt to regain inner balance until 2019 at the earliest.
But Milford’s Meena Puri has the recipe for long-lasting health and happiness. She touts the deep connection between what one consumes and their overall well-being, and has written a new book about it. “Healing Your Relationship with Food — The Ayurveda Answer” will be published on Thursday.
“People are stressed,” said the 53-year-old Puri, an ayurvedic practitioner and founder of The Yoga School of Milford Ayurvedic Healing Center. “So this time of the year, they’re thinking ‘Okay, I’m stressed, and I this is how I can relieve my stress.’
“So the holiday eating and shopping may provide them a temporary solution. But it’s the wrong problem they are solving. ... going deeper and deeper is where the solutions are. That’s where I come in.”
Puri will sign copies of the book 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6 at The Milford Proving Ground Coffees and Ice Cream Shop, located at 369 N Main St. She also will do a Facebook Live segment later that evening. As of Dec. 6 it will be available at Amazon.com and through her website, ayurvedichealingcenter.com. Go to the Author’s Page for the ordering link.
More: Oakland County reports offer a snapshot of food safety standards at local restaurants
More: Community ushers in holidays with Milford Christmas parade
Not only does Puri make the case for Ayurveda living (the ancient Indian “science of life”) through food, she helps clients such as White Lake Township’s Cindy Hemingway through yoga and heart-based meditation.
“It’s not right and wrong things as much as what you need for your constitution,” said Hemingway, an employee at Huron Valley Hospital who used to eat fast food on the go but now sneaks quickie meditation sessions wherever she can get them. “Sure, I will go eat chocolate once in a while, I will go have a glass of wine once in a while. But I don’t crave anything more because I don’t need anything more. I feel good and I feel healthy and that’s mentally, emotionally and physically.
“... Food is not just a physical thing. Exercise and yoga is not just a physical thing, it’s all interconnected. When you eat the right thing, you’re mentally clearer. You don’t need to go to drugs or alcohol or anything else to get there because you’re maybe avoiding those pitfalls.”
Worth the change
Hemingway, 53, recalled being so busy and on the go that she didn’t always take the time to eat properly, and truly connect with the nutrients.
“I can tell you everybody is afraid of the time commitment, and I was myself,” Hemingway continued. “All of us are super busy. When I started this I had two kids who were involved in everything. I worked full time, my husband worked full time. So I was just as busy as anybody else, and it was hard at first.
“It was hard to make those adjustments on changing the way that I ate. Because I would eat a protein bar on my way to work in the morning. I would eat leftovers all the time, or whatever they had at the cafeteria for lunch. We didn’t have time to make dinner all the time because we were going both ways.
“It was a big adjustment, but it was worth it. Like Meena was saying, you have to realize this is for yourself, this is about self love. You have to make those adjustments. And once you do, it’s easy. It’s like everything else, it just becomes habit.”
Puri said a key reason why so many people go off the rails when it comes to healthy eating is they don’t understand the ayurveda concept.
Grabbing a hamburger or a donut might solve a quick food fix. Gobbling a meal while watching television fits into one’s crazy schedule.
But how does all that actually contribute to feeling good?
“When we think about food, we look at the physical food,” Puri explained. “What we don’t understand is the nourishment and the satisfaction and the psychological satisfaction that we get from it.
“That’s one of the reasons if we eat on the go, eat on the run, eat in front of a TV being really distracted, we tend to eat more because, although we have consumed all the calories, the psychological satisfaction has not yet come because we have not paid attention to it.
“So that’s why taking time to eat, really connecting with the food, ... the environment matters. And can you calm down and actually just enjoy the food instead of thinking (of it) as a side thing that you just dump into your body and run.”
Her new book includes a number of recipes and tips for people to literally sink their teeth into. And a tasty byproduct of all that, she insisted, is better mental and physical health.
“We don’t need exotic meals in order to cook for ourselves,” Puri said. “We can steam vegetables, put salt and pepper on it, get little spices to improve the digestion. We can add grains to it, we can have soups, we can have sandwiches.
“I teach at the high schools, and I tell my kids ... ‘When you get out to college, do not buy processed food.’ You can always have a piece of toast with butter. You can grab some apples, nuts and a cup of tea, because nothing processed in it.”
Puri added that some might think they don’t have the time or money to change eating habits.
“You don’t need lot of money to get healthy,” she emphasized. “It’s actually the other way, because when people are eating processed food, they’re getting sicker. Then they’re going to the doctor to get pills for anxiety, or lack of sleep or constipation. Or not having any energy. And that’s costing money.
“... So it actually can save you money. It can save you more than money, it will save your health in the long run.”
If you have a compelling story to tell, contact Tim Smith at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TimSmith_Sports.