The month I spent on Yoga teacher training was (mostly) supported on vegetarian diet, and getting off that diet felt like the Kurukshetra War in my intestines.
Mostly vegetarian. I can't tell you just how much exactly because I think that my teachers read my blog and they might have slipped a microchip in our digestive tract to monitor and report to the yoga fairies whether or not we behave yogic enough. I think.
I hated vegetarian diet from the beginning. I did not work all the way up the food chain just to end up eating vegetables. I have always been a proud carnivore; and if the custom of a certain area celebrated by serving roasted blue whale, or sautéed panda medallions, then I'm all for it. The bloodier the better this yogini shall banquet, see?
And I hated vegetarianism more because I had to fake it for a whole month in return for validation. I have been practicing yoga for a LONG time. What cow has the mind to object and tell me that I am not good enough to practice or teach Yoga because I like having her cousins for dinner, medium rare, with mashed potatoes on the side?
Of course, once I was formally off the leash, I indulged: For three days straight, everything with a formerly beating heart was swallowed, consensually or with regrets.
On the fourth day, glory!, right after a highly caffeinated breakfast with Oreo cookies, my stomach said its Hail Marys and took me aside for undivided attention in the privacy of the furthest bathroom in the house.
Me: "I don't understand! I thought you had the guts to digest skewered crocodiles and baboons."
Stomach: (Incoherent grumbling and bubbling and bursting.)
Me: (Flushing defeat.)
Still confused at my stomach's rejection, I had to take the car for a tune up, because the car isn’t yogic enough to care about environmental disasters like we do.
It was lunchtime, and there was a mall near nearby. The mall, of course, had always been like my second home. I have grown up and napped and ate and took my writing degree (MBA: Mistress of Blogging Arbitrarily) at the mall. Leaving the car at the mechanic, I decided to hit the mall's foodcourt.
But my stomach gave a warning rumble at the sight of every food item on the menu. In every restaurant. In the entire mall.
I'm sorry for sounding so hyperbolic. I have never been aware how every minute we spend at the a mall with our mouths open is not dissimilar to mass culinary suicide. Anything you eat or drink at a mall is either overly-sweet, overly-caffeinated, or just plain insulting to the evolutionary dignity of having taste buds. The longer I stayed there was the bigger chances I had to die from food poisoning than my a-pack-a-day smoking, and not because a woman can't smoke at the mall.
It was nearly impossible not to see a variety a cow or duck or chicken or all of it meshed together on mall food. My choices for lunch, without alarming the vegetarian demon in my belly, was left plain rice and salt. Which none of these restaurants served without the additional complimentary dirty look plastered on the waiters' faces.
I practically broke speed limits at plain rice consumption.
Lunch aside, I was left with another hour and fifty-five minutes to waste until I could take the car back.
Back in the days, a whole week at the mall wouldn't have been too much to bear. There's just so much to eat and drink and buy while eating and drinking and buying some more.
This isn't about vegetarianism, Sattvic dieting or being tastefully stingy. The microchip they installed in my digestive tract was too patent that the alarm went off everywhere I tried to sit. I was turning into an involuntary healthy-eating hippie because wanting to deepen my Yoga practice has indirectly lead me there.
To sit at a mall meant to do justice to that precious space that your bottom needs to rest upon, and without getting the complimentary vicious looks from your chairowner's herd of underpaid peons, you need to order something more solid than water.
But what is there to consume in a mall without risking napalm explosions in whatever is left of my guts?
To think of all the breakfasts, lunches and dinners that I spent fighting and/or silently cursing my diet Nazi gurus over this kind of
garbage shiny-packaged faux-food?
By one miracle or another (and an expensive stroll into the bookstore and underwear departments), time and shopping-possessions were passed and I got the car home, humming happier than my diet shocked belly did all day.
And there, with his subtle teasing and smiling reproach, my master and adopted-father brought forth three kinds of bananas and counting, to keep me afloat until my stomach chose to regrow its guts and digest the dead.