From meal botcher to Ayurvedic chef: My journey in the kitchen

by Guest contributor Lisa Åkesson Stryker

I used to burn everything I touched in the kitchen. My vata/pitta constitution was far from balanced, and I rarely could keep my attention on what I was cooking long enough for it to be somewhat edible. After many disasters I started to doubt that I had inherited my grandmother’s finesse in the kitchen. Food and cooking has always been a huge passion of mine, so I kept experimenting, hoping one day things would change.

Finally, I made a conscious decision: I really wanted to get comfortable in the kitchen. I decided to stop eating out and started buying groceries and looking up different recipes that inspired me. I still botched my meals for a good while, but with baby steps I started walking in the right direction. I gradually felt more and more comfortable, and after a few months I knew a handful of meals I could cook really well.

​Learning to cook through Ayurveda

When I then got in touch with Ayurveda, things fell into place even more. I started making small changes toward a more conscious mindset in the kitchen, and I was able to actually focus my attention on what I was cooking. It was remarkable how the right nutrition and simple practices, such as abhyanga, shifted my attention into the now.

I bought Myra Lewin's books, Freedom in Your Relationship with Food and Simple Ayurvedic Recipes. Finally, cooking was fun and I felt great with my new routines. When Hale Pule launched their Ayurvedic chef training, I was one of the first to sign up.

​Ayurvedic chef training to tie it together

The Ayurvedic chef training helped me tie together everything I had learned on my own from books and videos. The discussions on the use of herbs, spices and different qualities of foods helped me shape the framework from which I cook today.

The kitchen at Hale Pule is a sacred place, so when Myra offered me the chance to stay after the training and cook for the house for a month, I was honored to have the chance to practice my new cooking skills in such a sattvic environment.

During my month as a Hale Pule cook, I learned how to keep the kitchen organized, how to plan meals for large groups and how to make best use of my time. But one other very important aspect of cooking that I had not paid too much attention to before was my posture and how I manage my energy. I learned to carry my body in a way that is healthy and supportive to me and the people who would eat the food I prepared. It is very hard to cook a loving meal when you are not feeling your best, so I found it important to be in a constant state of letting go. The Intuitive Energy Practice tools help me get my junk out of the way so that I can cook with excellence.

​Stepping out of my comfort zone with Ayurvedic cooking

One day when I was making dosas, I was finally able to step out of my comfort zone and have creative energy flow freely through me. My old way of cooking was to force things to work out with my strong self-will. But the dosas would not let me do things the old way. They burned and fell apart into crunchy little pieces. But instead of thinking my way to a solution, I trusted my intuition to guide me and surrendered. The result was astonishing and so rewarding! Everything went smoothly and I prepared the meal with ease in much less time than I usually need. It was the most delicious and beautiful dosas I ever tasted. It was clear that this new way of cooking worked better than my old solutions.

My cooking has changed radically the past few years. I know now how to nourish clients, friends, my family and myself. I cook not only to pleasure my senses, but to enjoy the whole process and share love.

I have learned that it is possible to enjoy my food six times: When I plan it, prepare it, cook it, serve it, eat it, and digest it. This is what Hale Pule practices, and I learned to enjoy every aspect. I believe reconnecting with our higher selves through food is one of the most loving things we can do. I'm thankful that I took the chance to learn how.

Lisa Åkesson Stryker grew up in Sweden and started a career as a fashion model in her late teens. In 2015 she completed her 200-hour raja yoga training at Hale Pule and her Ayurvedic Health Consultant training in Sweden. In the summer of 2016 she became certified as an Ayurvedic chef with Hale Pule, and immediately completed a residency thereafter. Since then she’s been teaching Yoga and Ayurveda in the USA, Europe, and Africa. She’s currently based in Hamburg, Germany where she regularly offers cooking classes, Yoga classes, workshops, Ayurvedic treatments and consultations.  You can follow and contact Lisa at @areyouvedic on Instagram or through her homepage


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