A couple of weeks ago I asked if we’re really all that different despite the commonalities in the challenges we all face in life.
But what about our differences in our cultural practices and how we strive for optimal health? Unfortunately, living in different areas, dressing differently, speaking differently, we generally tend to stick with what we know instead of more fluidly sharing how our differences in approach to our health and way of life can actually help one another. We most often default to bucketing ppl and practices into groups instead of more regularly mixing and matching. And, this continues to happen despite the advent of faster travel and the popularity of social media, which makes communication cross-culturally much easier.
One of the most rewarding parts of recently starting this Movement has been the opportunity to talk with people from all over the world – whether via travel or internet, to find out what they believe works best for their health. A little story which shows how my own blinders are/were still on:
Traveling this week to Boone, NC, to meet Sri Sri from the Art of Living, I found myself immersed with 1,400 teachers of his practices, mostly of Indian descent, but coming in from all over the US and the world. At the main dining hall for three meals a day, we’d get our food, buffet style – vegetarian – mostly rice and veggies with a spiced sauce and some soup. The similarity of each meal was “different” for me, but I got used to it. However what I couldn’t understand, was how there was only one option for drinks: water, from all of four taps in one far end of the dining hall, for all these people to drink from! As you prob know, Indian food can get quite spicy. Nonetheless, I didn’t ask questions, ate slowly over conversation, and would pound about four cups of water after each meal (once I arrived at the drinking station).
It wasn’t until I went to get a pulse reading from an Ayurvedic doctor, that I brought up my curiosity about the drinks. According to the Indian culture, for optimal health (physical and mental), you are supposed to eat your food all at once for the best digestion and absorption of nutrients, and then only drink well after you are done – room temperature water. Now compare that to your average food court in the US, where we have soda machines every 10 feet and free refills as part of every order. We love to indulge in food and often take large sips from our straws, bottles or cups, in-between each delicious bite.
I’m not saying one extreme or the other is “right.” But I was and still kinda am blown away by how something as “standard” as how we learn to eat and drink together, growing up, can differ so much from one culture to the next.
The beauty of sharing is that we can create what’s referred to as “integrative” philosophies. We can take some from each culture or practice and mix them and find the right combo for each of us to find the best balance between enjoyment and physical/mental health. More to come as we formally roll out our TSRR Practices & Expert Practitioner Board. If you’ve been searching for answers or treatments, know that there are many out there to try, and we hope to continue to bring you options which, when combined, will work the best for you.