The sanskrit word sadhana means ‘conscious spiritual practice’. Sad, the root word, means truth, so practice every day to find what out what you’re made of.
There are many ways to practice truth. For some it is chanting a sacred mantra 108 times a day or more. For others, it’s waking up just that little bit earlier than everyone else EVERY DAY to make their kids a healthy and delicious lunch. For others still, it’s ‘giving up’ your social life for a while to practice practice practice your piano so that others receive the gift of your music.
Because sadhana is based on devotion, it is the ULTIMATE detox. With sustained practice at whatever it is to which you are devoted, you find out what you’re made of and, perhaps even more importantly, what you don’t need.
Ethical vegetarianism is a practice. It might not be easy at first. But with just a little determination, and with support from your sangha (your ‘people’), you will shed unnecessary doubts about your ability to sustain what will eventually become a joyful, easy and downright delectable practice.
There is a cafe called ‘Sadhana Kitchen’ in the same building that I teach yoga every Sunday. (I know, my karma, right?) The owners, Maz and Sam, as well as Mandy, their trusty young waitrine are nothing short of posterbois for the ‘ethically delicious’ movement.
I first met Maz, whose vision this was, a few years back in Penrith at Lila Yoga. She was a student of my class and I was struck by the lightness of her practice, and also how friendly she was. I was ecstatic when I heard she was opening up a cafe in the Jivamukti Yoga Sydney building, though I tried my best to act cool…
The first thing I ever sampled at Sadhana kitchen were the pancakes: dehydrated (yet not dry) pancakes with slices of banana… I tried so hard to practice equanimity of mind, but honestly, it was like Prince just walked into the room, sang ‘Kiss’, transformed himself into raw pancakes and laid himself down on a plate to tempt me beyond all self control.
So I had to keep practicing. Next course: Tacos made with walnut mince, tomatoes, guacamole, cashew sour kream on a crisp lettuce cup. 3 of them just to be sure. The mix of sweet, savoury, slightly sour, tangy and crisp in the one bite put the OHHHHH in taco; just saying.
In the same day, I may or may not have also sampled – for the sake of practice – strawberry pie, chocolate cake and cheezecake. All raw and made with no refined sugars. This challenged my defiantly hedonist outlook on vegan cuisine and made me feel downright health-righteous.
Note to selves: you HAVE to try the lasagne…
My favourite savoury dish so far would have to be the quiche. Served warm right out of the dehydrator, with a sprinkling of ‘fried’ onions and with a side superfood salad (hello mustard dressing), it was just what was needed to warm the heart before the long drive home west-side.
But not without a green smoothie with a shot of ginger and a dash of cayenne pepper, as a ‘traveller’.
I love the way Maz, Sam and Mandy practice yoga. The way they selflessly, joyfully serve teachers, students and gourmands alike. They are kind, knowledgable and inspiring. They can give you the vegan talk if you want it but the proof is in the raw pudding…
My very first raw food cafe experience was five years ago in a now defunct cafe in New York City. The food was okay, nothing inspiring, but I did notice the wait-staff were simply glowing. So I said to the waitress who served me my cool coconut chai ‘You guys really are great ads for raw food. You all look amazing!’
She looked at her colleagues; they all looked a little amused.
‘Ah thanks. But we don’t eat here a lot. None of us are even vegetarians.’
‘What??’ I reacted.
‘We’re all models; we work here part time…’
All of a sudden, her stock plummeted (I know, judgement much?). I scoffed down the rest of my chai and walked away.
Maz, Sam and Mandy are the truth. They are vegans for ethical reasons and the health is a major plus and inspiration for them. Every Sunday, between classes, when I see them giving everybody their absolute best, I can’t help but think to myself ‘There is nothing more attractive than compassion’.
DISCLAIMER – The first day, when I ate all that food, I was not alone. Sandy King may or may not have been present… with a fork and enormous eyes.