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My Way: Rishi Kumar


This week's My Way feature comes to us from blogger, pro-am Indian chef and student, Rishi Kumar. Together Rishi and his brother Rohit make up the dynamic Roshi's Raw Lifestyle team. Rishi lives the life of a spiritual player (practicing yoga and making raw Indian recipes) in Southern California.

My Way: Rishi Kumar

When Dhrumil asked me to write a My Way article, I was super excited. I sat down a few days later to get it started, and that's when I realized the following: after two and half years of being a raw foodist, I couldn't exactly say what "my way" was.

During my first year or so on a near 100% raw diet, I felt really great. I was as strict as I could be, and firmly believed that the closer I came to an absolute raw diet, the healthier I would become.

When I got sick for a month during the winter, I kept telling myself I was detoxing. When it happened again the next year, I started to rethink things a bit.

So I kept adjusting my diet, looking for that magic combo of fruits, vegetables, and nuts that would leave me in that perfect balance of health, but never finding it.

Now, in my third year of being involved in raw, I've learned a few things. Most importantly, everyone individual is different. That sounds like an obvious statement, but its really important to understand. Some people turn to a raw diet and never get sick. Some people live off meat and bread and never get sick. The reality is that each person is different and will react to everything differently. It's more important to try things out for yourself and see what works for you.

So for now, *my way* is just to eat things that I feel like eating. Most of the time that still means a bowl of fruit or salad, but it can also be a hot plate of Indian food--roti and dhaal (or mashed potatoes, mmmmmm). For me, the most important thing right now is not to stress it so much, and just be grateful to God for whatever I have.

But remember, my way is my way, so go find your own way! ;)

I woke up a bit late ~9ish, and after having a tall glass of fresh orange juice, I got myself out to the garden. I spent a few ours ours digging away, working on my next big project. I'm not gonna let too much out about it here, but I'll just say I'm super excited about it. Lunch was big cabbage salad with all sorts of toppings like sprouted black-eyed peas, home-made sauerkraut, and sun-brewed fresh pickles. After that it was back in the garden for another few hours. Got back inside around 4ish, and started to get ready for dinner out with my friends to celebrate my birthday. I completely underestimated how many people would show, so we had to cram 18 of us into a great vegetarian Chinese restaurant in Rowland Heights called Happy Veggie Garden. Because my bday is during the holidays, it's the one day that all of us get together for sure each year, so its become somewhat of an event. Always something I look forward to each year.

After waking up to find my hometown covered in clouds, I fell back asleep for another hour or so. I was so stressed out during my last 3 weeks of school that sleeping in till 9 or 10 feels amazing now. Rain and cold that us So Cal people aren't used to kept me out of the garden. I stayed inside and kept myself warm with lots of Ayurvedic tea. Lunch was a light vegetable soup with a tomato base and chopped carrots, celery, corn, and peppers. Next I spent a little time working on my other projects (like the new series of Pranayama videos just posted on roshis.com). After that I sat down with the "Heart of Yoga" by TKV Desikachar, to read his translation of the Yoga Sutra. Beautiful book. Dinner with the family. Finding beauty in the gloomy clouds.

I woke up early to celebrate my second decade of life. The birds sang for me as for a few minutes, but left with the coming clouds. I peeled two pumelos and made a persimmon shake for breakfast. Spent most of the day on the couch with my family. We read, talked, and just enjoyed being for the few days we can each year. Lunch was a lettuce salad topped with sauerkraut, tomatoes, sprouts, and a basil-tomato dressing. For dinner moms said she'd make anything I wanted. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Absolute best holiday food for me. Finished the night by watching a documentary called "The Take." Its about the growing cooperative movement sprouting in Argentina in response to growing government corruption. You can check it out here.

Clouds rolled away for a bit, and I found myself back in the garden. A few hours of work in the morning, and I was pooped. Felt like I definitely needed some sugar, so lunch was just a big bowl of citrus and homegrown bananas. Spent the afternoon working on filming Pranayama videos. At night, went for a Lady's Sangeet (traditional Indian pre-wedding ceremony) for my elder cousin and his fiancee. Lots of loud music and dancing (bhangra baby!), definitely my scene. Came back and collapsed into bed after having a glass of cinammon/cardmamom/fennel/clove/ghee/honey tea.

Woke up to find my legs sore from all the dancing. Still, after a nice glass of carrot/orange juice, I found myself in the backyard again. After the shovel had sufficiently torn up my hands, I came back inside for lunch. It was still really cold outside, so the family and I had a nice hot vegetable soup, similar to the one from Wednesday. At 2, we left for my cousins wedding ceremony. I packed some bananas/nuts/dates for the long night ahead. The ceremony was beautiful, and the panditji (Hindu priest) explained all the intricacies of the ceremony. The woman always chooses the man, he said, not the other way around. After the ceremony, we headed to a banquet hall for the reception. Punjabi wedding reception = Bhangra till you fall. Super duper fun.

Opened my eyes to see my clocks hands hitting 10:30. Really tired from a night of dancing. Nothing to refresh the body like 30 minutes of pranayama (before food, of course). Spent most of the day working on Roshi's, Pranayama videos, and few other projects. Lunch was home-made dhaal, palak paneer, and roti. Ooph, heavy. Took a walk around the neighborhood to let the food settle and take in the sights. Enjoying the time I have away from studies to pursue my passions.

Rishi Kumar is a blogger, student and spiritual player. He blogs at roshis.com