Mindful Eating Challenge Day 16: Yoga as the Anti – Hack!

Day 16 – Yoga Practice as the “Anti-Hack” 

Last summer, Rich Roll wrote a blog post railing against the idea of the “life hack” or the “hack” and it went viral.  In it, he critiques our shortcut obsessed society with a plea to invest in the journey and to devote time to learning how to be your best self — what he calls “the ant-hack.”  If you didn’t see the article, there’s now a TED-style video version.

As Rich points out, he was baffled to see that his article became noteworthy and went viral.  This reminds me of what Michael Pollan said in an interview about his often quoted aphorism: “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.”  The fact that simple messages like these get so much attention tells us a lot about our demand for instant gratification, and how difficult it is to discover and develop sustainable behaviors and practices.

In my journey to be my best self as a plant-based yogi, I dedicate a lot of time to practice, iteration, and learning process.  There are no substitutes to experience, and certainly no real “hacks” to good health or happiness.  I try to approach cooking like hiking a new trail — generally I know the direction I want to go but I allow myself to explore and play.  I remember heading out on a hike by myself and relying on my GPS rather than looking at the trail map.  At least when a recipe is a failure, you won’t need a rescue party to find your way back home. 🙂  This was a great reminder that technology can fail us but it also brings up the importance of reliable sources of information.  This holds true especially in cooking and nutrition.  When it comes to learning how to cook, science-based evidence can be just as important as experience.


Practice of the Day: Try out one of the food combining strategies and try to add superfoods like turmeric, broccoli, and garlic to one of your meals!

1)  Consuming ground pepper with turmeric boosts the effectiveness of curcumin (the anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, health-promoting chemical in turmeric) by 1000.  Crack some pepper into any smoothie or dish you make with turmeric to make it even healthier.  As proof that this is not a hack, here’s the science behind why this works:
Why Pepper Boosts Turmeric Blood Levels

2)  Adding just a pinch of ground mustard to cooked broccoli restores the enzymes that are destroyed during cooking.  Nutrition Facts has a video on the science behind this health promoting strategy too: Second Strategy to Cooking Broccoli

3) Garlic + time:  Remember to let your garlic rest for around 10-minutes after chopping before you cook it or use it in recipes.  Preparing garlic this way has been shown to preserve cancer-fighting enzymes that are destroyed if cooked too soon. Giving chopped/crushed garlic time to sit before changing its temperature (through cooking) or its pH (through the addition of acidic food like lemon juice), allows the alliinase enzymes in garlic an opportunity to work on behalf of your health.  

*Maybe taking a tiny bit more time or adding a dash of spice — rather than seeking shortcuts — is the real health hack 😉  Peace, plants.  Namaste. 


Today’s Suggested Recipes: 

15-Recipes that Feature Turmeric – Be Sure to add a pinch of pepper if recipe doesn’t call for it
Life-Changing Cheese Sauce – Make and serve over lightly steamed Broccoli
Crispy Oil-Free Garlic French Fries
Chinese Noodles in Garlic Ginger Sauce 

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