Diksha McCord

My Journey to Vegetarian Cooking

By Nayaswami Diksha

I grew up in Israel in a loving Conservative Jewish family. While my father worked, my mother stayed home to raise her five children and cook for the family.

Diksha McCord

My parents, my older sister
and myself as a baby

We ate a very healthy Mediterranean diet. During the week we ate mostly grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, lots of vegetables, and fruits &ndash simple and mildly flavored.

On the weekends, we would eat fish or chicken, and a tasty homemade dessert. We rarely ate out. I don’t remember eating frozen or canned food until I was 20 years old and left home.

Since childhood I’ve been extremely sensitive and a picky eater. I couldn’t eat spicy foods or anything made with vinegar

Somehow I’ve always understood that food was meant to nurture and heal, never to be eaten simply for taste and entertainment. When offered chocolate, I would have a tiny piece. When we had ice cream at home, it was always served in a small bowl.

Diksha McCord

Myself as a child

In 1976, after I graduated from high school, I met a young woman who had lived with her family in India for some years. She introduced me to Hatha yoga, meditation, and a vegetarian diet. I was so inspired by everything she shared that I decided to become completely vegetarian immediately.

I eliminated all meat, fowl, and fish from my diet, and ate more bread, cheese, and salads. After a short time, however, I started to feel weak and realized that my diet was not nourishing me properly. Gradually I have learned how to eat a balanced vegetarian diet, without any animal flesh foods.

Over the last 35 years, I have experimented with many different approaches to food, including a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, macrobiotics, veganism, raw foods, and Ayurveda. Drawing on my experience of the effect of these various diets on my health and well-being, I’ve developed my own style of vegetarian cooking, which emphasizes the consciousness-lifting qualities of natural foods, with attention to nutrition, good taste, and appearance.

Diksha McCord

The Expanding Light Kitchen
with Grazi and Sadhana Devi

When I moved to Ananda Village in 1993, I was given the opportunity to serve as one of the cooks at The Expanding Light kitchen Retreat. For the next seven years, I tried to cook meals that are light and nutritious to keep the guests energetic so that they can practice yoga and meditation.

I don’t consider myself a chef or a cook. I am a human being who uses food as a divine source of healing and nourishment. For example, I drink nettle tea to prevent pollen allergies. I will drink green tea in the early morning to take away a headache. I eat root vegetables with brown rice if I want to feel more grounded.

The more you eat what is right for you, the more attuned you will become to your body’s signals of what it needs. When you are out of balance, you will crave foods that are not good for you.

My goals in creating this on-line cooking show:

Ananda is a worldwide movement to help you realize the joy of your own higher Self. It is based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda and was founded by his direct disciple Swami Kriyananda in 1968.
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