Back in 2007 I had my first experience of life without stimulants, but it wasn’t until 2008 that I really got it. We are so desensitised from the over stimulation from our diets, and are so in that rapid fire zone, we have no idea that we’re in it!
I spent more than one month at the beginning of 2008 doing my yoga teacher training and apart from a weak cup of chai twice a day, I went saatvic, removing all stimulants in my diet & lifestyle.
No smoking, no drinking, no drugs. No coffee, no meat, no eggs, no chilli, no vinegar, no strong spices in general, no soft drinks, very little sugar, no onion & no garlic.
I felt amazing.
My mind had been running at full speed. Racing around, jumping up and down to conclusions, to potential and impossible outcomes. Causing me no end of turmoil and frustration.
Suddenly I was aware of its racing. It wasn’t all at once calm by any means. But it was a beginning. An awareness, and with yoga came an understanding of the mind’s tendency to race and wander and pursue and create. With it came the tools to start to become conscious of the wily situations it creates and to begin to bring it under my control, rather than be at its beck and call.
I remember the first time I left the ashram, after 1 month within the same grounds. How bright and colourful the outside world was. How strong the smells. The tastes.
And then I had a cup of coffee, a paratha and a spicy Indian curry. I felt the rush going down my arms, I started talking ten to the dozen and I couldn’t hold a thought in the face of my chilli, onion and garlic, caffeinated high!
It was incredible!
I tried continuing life in London some time after, living this saatvic diet. It was tough, I concented on the garlic and onions and slowly crept back up to a slightly stimulated world.
At some point the occasional coffee became more regular and with it came anxiety. Whilst I continue to consent on the garlic and onion, without which at times, I would probably be slumped at my desk dozing; the closest I can get to caffeine is my daily dose of antioxidants in the form of mildly caffeinated green tea and the occasional treat of a chai. (If only it were supped under the cherry tree with my dear friend Gayatri).
Green tea has been said to have many benefits, from fighting bad breath, to reducing cholesterol, burning fat and fighting cancer cells. Don’t just take my word for it, take the daily mails… Better still, listen to your own body, see if you can feel the difference from when you drink caffeine versus green tea. See what happens if you’re feeling under the weather and you drink green tea and lots of water instead of taking lemsip and drinking cups of tea to make you feel better. See if you can feel the goodness working from within.
A really tired day and I’ll double dose on green tea, but i’ll take the barista’s raised eyebrow… you can keep your caffeine and do me a decaf soya latte please sir. One with a heart shape patterned in the middle preferably. With a slice of vegan cake. Nice.