Friday, March 14, 2014


Many years ago, after being "sick" to my stomach for almost a month, I decided to give up gluten. At first, it was very challenging. I remember seeing a burrito someone had dropped on the sidewalk and wanting to pick it up and eat it; I wanted that dirty flour tortilla in my mouth. About 2 weeks in, feeling good about myself, I decided I deserved a treat. I bought myself a nice big bottle of organic beer, forgetting that one of the main ingredients of beer is in fact, gluten. The next day, I felt so so so sick. After just two weeks, gluten (or a least that much of it) had become poison to me.

Since then, it has not been difficult at all to avoid foods containing gluten. Sometimes, I'm not even tempted by gluten-free foods. One year for Christmas, my dear roommate baked me a beautiful batch of gluten-free brownies and they sat in the fridge for almost a week untouched. I realized I was scared to eat them, afraid I would feel sick to my stomach again. When did I turn into such a weirdo? These were gluten-free brownies. What happened to the old me? The one who, without thinking, drank a big old bottle of beer? I told my teacher Jen about the brownies, just sitting there, going stale in the fridge.

Jen told me to treat the brownies as though they were prasad and to eat them pronto. For those of you that don't know, prasad is an offering: food offered by worshippers to whatever it is they are worshiping. Lots of times in yoga studios, there will be cookies, tea or chocolates. It's nice to have a snack to help ground you after a big practice, but also, it's believed that the good energy generated by the practice or ritual blesses the food, which makes the food more nourishing. With love and gratitude, I ate the brownies; they were absolutely delicious and even weeks later, perfect and moist.

Last night I went to a sound bath with my cherished friend Virginia. After the sound bath was over, the moderators encouraged us to eat prasad to help us ground before going back out in the world an operating machinery (read: driving our cars). I glanced at the prasad on my way out and saw that is was milk chocolate, so I skipped it. As I was putting my shoes on, a gentleman came up to me, and reminded me to eat some prasad. As I was considering the potential meaning in being offered prasad a second time, someone else came up to me and encouraged me to have some before I left. Third time. A charm. Graciously, I ate one piece of the milk chocolate and headed back out into the night.

As I walked to my car, the taste of chocolate in my mouth, I thought of my little bio on the home page of It says, "Ashleigh is vegan except for African Fair Trade Baskets, darn those things." And I realized, for the first time, how really, that's quite important for me. As a recovering perfectionist, it's good for me to not be 100% at anything, but rather to just, steady on, do my best. Eat the prasad and relax a little.

1 comment:

Liz Fox said...

What a beautiful piece of prasad you wrote here! I did not need to be encouraged three times to read it. Have a great weekend, buddy girl.

Post a Comment