Calvin loves to cook. When we were kids he was the cook at the taco shop and I was the night and weekend hostess. One night was when he was wooing me into his protective layer of everything that makes Calvin, Calvin, I said to him - I don't cook. I will chop up a mean salad and bake fantastic brownies (from a boxed mixture) but, I don’t know how to cook.The only knife I knew or understood was a steak knife. I used it to cut everything, from onions to tomatoes to apples. I was scared of a chef's knife with its gigantic, shiny blade just itching to slice my little fingers.
To learn anything, you have to give yourself at least 90 days of straight trial and error. Not 90 days of 1 day on and 7-12 days off. Everyday you have to do something to help you achieve your goal. I never thought of becoming a person who cooked, I was just as happy eating out. But, Calvin grew up cooking. The best memories he has of his dad are the memories of cooking with him. So, the summer of going into my senior year in high school, we started my cooking lessons.
He started me easy. Prep cook. Every good chef has an awesome prep cook. As a prep cook, I never had to go near a pan full of hot oil or go near a pot of boiling water. I did the only task I knew, chop. The first night of our summer cooking classes, he put a large, sharp chef’s knife in my hand. I quivered. I could see the blood oozing from a cut on my finger before I even began slicing.
He let me try using a steak knife to mince. There was a little smile on his lips as I began to realize that mincing is difficult to do with a steak knife. It’s uneven and feels awkward in the hand. I could feel that awkwardness when I tried it. It felt off. So, reluctantly I took the chef’s knife Calvin handed me and starting mincing. I squealed with delight as I finished the 6 garlic cloves. I think I was more delighted that I hadn’t sliced off my fingers than I was at being a master of mincing garlic my first class.
So, every night after hours of high school and work, I would drive from Clermont to Orlando. Calvin would play my most favorite Beatles album, the White Album. I would, dance, chop and sing. It was the best feeling after a long day of studies & working at my part-time job.
After my first 90 days I knew the meaning of mince, dice, and julienne. I knew how to slice for pad thai and how to chop for salsa and I learned yes, there is a different chopping technique for every dish. I even made exceptional pots of Jasmine rice. My excitement for cooking grew after each success. I was lucky though, my teacher ate everything, even if I messed up and he ate it with enthusiasm!
This pattern of cooking everyday, never left me. I truly enjoy cooking and even cleaning the dirty dishes afterwards. Being in a kitchen, no matter how small and ill-equipped, making food from scratch and sharing it, is a gift I greatly enjoy giving. I love watching others enjoy it and knowing all the good energy that was put into making every bite. I use ingredients that are clean and fresh for my body, so my body can experience joy and peace when I dine. It is the most rewarding experience. Nothing goes to waste. We compost scraps and we find delicious and unique ways to use leftovers.
Even when mad, the loud bang of knife to chopping board would soften as I would get tired of hearing its angry rush. It would chill me out, almost as instantly as breathing and moving mindfully.
So, for me, cooking has become therapy. It is a welcomed addition to my daily yoga practice.
In yoga, the word Samadhi means witnessing the moment one merges with God or to have the experience of blissful meditation. For me, food is a part of God’s gift and every time I eat I experience a small form of Samadhi. It may not be filled with colors of the chakras and stories of wow and amazement. But, the joy cooking and eating brings my soul is rich and powerful and it has the same qualities on my heart and mind as when I am in yoga practice.
People look at Calvin and I, our shapes, our body weight and our demeanor and they say “your so lucky”. I look them dead in the eyes, and as I point to myself and Calvin, “this is not a whimsical act of luck. This, (pointing again) comes with daily dedication and devotion.” Every single day Calvin and I make every meal from scratch, from organic ingredients and nothing comes from a box or is pre-made. We don’t eat out and we practice yoga postures/meditation daily. What you are thinking is luck, is instead, a product of dedicated practice.
We happily light the path for others, for yoga practice and for learning how to cook. I never realized how many people who “cook”, are afraid of blending, juicing and chopping vegetables. Over the course of the holiday season Calvin and I visit our students and their families and help them learn first-hand how to make healthy holiday dishes. We teach cream replacements and gluten-free alternatives, too. See, we aren’t just vegan. We also don’t consume refined salt or sugars. There is no wheat in our diet either. So, we help people understand that eating for health and energy is more than eating salads. There is a whole other way to create dinners, snacks and desserts. And, for us, it’s easy. It has to be. If you cook 3-4 meals a day but work 9-10 hours a day, the meals have to be easy.
And, that is where our luck is. We are lucky enough to have learned easy ways of prepping, cooking and creating so that every day we are eating #fast food!
Be better than lucky, set a plan for 90 days to make a little changes. You can even ask us help you create the path to feeling better, lighter and way more energized! And, when you feel more energized, you naturally lose weight and tone up without even trying.
Luv you, Luv Lokah