Taj Mahal Lorna Thompson

 

Lorna Thompson

India is a vast sub-continent, and very spiritual, home to the wisdom of yoga and Ayurvedic lifestyles that live in harmony with the seasons (rising early and going to bed early), eating natural food and know that we are spiritual beings, something all Indians reflect on). Unlike here where cows are often factory-farmed, they are considered sacred animals in India. People never eat them (though sadly some don’t look very happy on the streets) but this is more due to poverty, than indifference.

India also has one of the lowest rates of Internet use in the world, with most people not bothering to use it, preferring instead to liaise in person or commune with God in temples. India is the original home of simple living, and we can learn a lot from them!

Yoga began as a way to bring inner peace without ego. So do try this wonderful form of exercise to calm down, but you don’t need recycled plastic sparkly clothing (which just deposits microplastics in machines) nor PVC yoga mats. Most people in India simply practice in loose clothes on a blanket!

Ayurveda is the world’s oldest medicine. Of course some ancient practices do not conform to modern medicine, but we can learn a lot about how to live an ‘Ayurvedic day’ in line with the seasons. Eat Feel Fresh is a lovely book by a practitioner who has updated ‘lots of milk and ghee’ to bring a plant-based take including chakra smoothies!

Obviously you’ve heard that it’s good not to eat salads etc in India, as you could get a ‘Delhi belly!’ Health experts say never to drink tap water (nor raw fruits and vegetables) nor too much spicy food (nor meat from street vendors which as a vegan you would not be eating anyway). But most good Indian food is naturally vegan, made with vegetables, legumes, grains etc.

Although we may have visions of all cows being sacred and everyone being vegetarian, it’s not always the truth. Food in India is heavily influenced by religion, so many people do indeed eat meat (and make leather). And often due to poverty and over-population, the country has huge issues with starving animals, both cows and dogs. In some areas, street dogs have literally turned blue, from drinking heavily-polluted water from run-off of blue dye, used to make blue jeans for western consumers.

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