The Yoga Place Blog

Raising Global Consciousness

Yoga and Ayurveda, as opposed to manufactured functional foods, are the gateway to health

Health is the product of the harmonic coherence between our own individual environment/nature and the larger environmet/Nature. This is a dynamic process. It is not something that is fixed. Therefore it is not something that is amenable to mass marketing and "one size fits all" manufactured solutions based on reductionist thinking like functional foods.
Functional Foods are commonly touted as both solutions to our emerging chronic health problems and new opportunities to make profits.


The idea behind functional foods is that we can add back functions that were removed from food in the manufacturing or refining process.

The very idea of "manufacturing" stability into food is an oxymoron. The solution is to eat unprocessed foods that our digestive systems and body feedback loops evolved to cope with in our evolutionary environments.

Manufacturing breaks down the complexity that slows down the digestive process. Refined products by definition have accelerating effects on the system.

Our bodies are the end result of a long evolutionary process of living in specific environments. The feedback loops that maintain homeostasis evolved in response to these environments. They did not evolve to cope with refined foods or many of the foods that now form a staple part of our diets.

Many people today have health problems that have their roots in consuming dairy products and wheat for example. All of us exhibit an inflammatory response and a momentary "leaky gut" response to wheat. Why? Because wheat- like milk - is a relatively new food in the evolutionary time scale. It is a product of agriculture which started around 10,000 years ago. This is not long enough for our body to adapt to these foods.

In my opinion the attempt to create functional foods - that attempt to add back into the food what was removed in the manufacturing process - might sound like a good idea. However it is reflective of what is known as reductionist thinking. This is the belief that we can reduce things into parts - analyse the parts separately - and then expect that when we put the parts back together we will get the effect of the sum of their individual impacts.

Systemic thinking on the other hand recognises that things are more than the sum of their parts. Systemic thinking - like yoga - recognises that nothing actually exists by itself - everything exists in relationship to other things. Just like the behaviour of an individual changes according to the person or people they hang out with, the components of food behave differently when they are combined with other food component. Moreover, because the nature of the universe is constant change, there is no single silver bullet solution to anything.

So my suggestion is to take a look at Ayurveda which is a essentially a study of integrated complex adaptive systems in action.

If we want to be healthy we need to understand the natures of our individual body systems and adopt diets and lifestyles and relationships etc. that are conducive to our health. This is an act of self responsibility that is based on the development of internal self awareness, experimentation and the capacity to regulate the flow of energy and information in our individual body systems - with recognition that this occurs in relationship to the people and the larger environmental systems that we are embodied in. These are the basic skills that we seek to get you to develop in yoga classes.

Health is the product of the harmonic coherence between our own individual environment/nature and the larger environmet/Nature. This is a dynamic process. It is not something that is fixed. Therefore it is not something that is amenable to mass marketing and "one size fits all" manufactured solutions based on reductionist thinking like functional foods