I spent a great deal of time cooking for my herbal medicine class this week and last night I just wanted to go out to dinner, but options are REALLY limited when not eating cheese or wheat. We also live out in the country where we are limited by our restaurant choices as well. This is fine because I generally prefer to eat my own food. Every once in a while it is pleasant to eat somewhere else, but I am reminded that it not the case when cleansing. During a cleanse it is encouraged to prepare your own food.
In Ayurveda we are encouraged to form a deep connection with our food. The Taittiriya Upanishad says: "The essence of all things here is the Earth. The essence of the Earth is Water. The essence of Water is Plants. The essence of Plants is a Person." We are deeply interconnected to our environment and the foods we eat. What we put into our bodies is reflected in how we look and feel. We truly are what we eat. Ayurveda takes it a step further and says that we should use our hands and avoid even the instruments of preparation of food. All of the elements are coursing through our fingers and we infuse our food with this energy when we use our own hands to prepare it.
I am very particular about the quality of my food and where it comes from and I can taste a difference in the energy of the food when I eat at a restaurant versus when a friend has prepared a meal for me. Notice this week when you prepare food for yourself, when you eat at a friends and when you eat at a restaurant. How do you feel after all of these meals? Do you feel satiated? Do you feel balanced?