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Oh wow! They really feed you like you're ROYALTY over there at Kripalu! It all looks so beautifully done and thoughtful, as long as it stayed vegan, I'd probably let my dietary noose go loose just a bit? Enjoy life! I'm sure you already are! I really wish I could afford a stay like that -- I'm sure they always need dishwashers and waitstaff...


But if you insist on editing up their meal choices, for me I think you've focused on the same bolded ingredients I'd possibly nix, too:


I don't like "coconut milk" because of saturated fat concerns. But at Kripalu and while practicing yoga, meditating, hiking, meeting cool new people, I'd probably relax and eat it and enjoy anyway.


I don't like sunflower oil because of omega six concerns, plus I just don't trust commodity oils very much anymore, thanks to the opposite of ignorance is bliss.


With kombo I don't eat it in my everyday diet because it has too much iodine. Again, though, on a sweet yoga vacation? I'd eat it with peace and gratitude, and enjoy every moment.


Basmati rice? Too high GL for me. Unless I'd follow consumption with some kick ass sweaty cardio vinyasa flow! Arsnic? Aww gaw it's so easy to collapse into perfectionism even in paradise.


Ghee I'd leave alone (not vegan; saturated fat...). Coconut sugar I'd also leave out. Sesame oil, toasted sesame oil -- forgive me if I'm wrong but isn't sesame oil sometimes used to give atherosclerotic plaques to mice? Or have I missed something. I wouldn't eat it. There are AGEs concerns with "toasted" (eg, heated) oils?Just me, though. I'd probably leave out the peanuts and peanut butter, too. Why? There's so much other great menu items why stuff myself with peanut butter haha... I always think about Colin Campbell and aflatoxins amongst rich Chinese kids when thinking about peanut butter: totally spoiled my love of peanut butter :-(


I have no problem with some types of "kelp" but again there's crazy iodine in some of it.


If I was over there sitting beside you in the dining hall, smiling, happy, I'd probably be chowing down on mostly their backyard local raw salad fruits and veggies. Legumes, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, more and more yes please god I feel like such a pig! And I'm sure their veggies and fruits are probably organic and awesome, fresh, healthy, grown in love and happiness, highest standards, they probably offer garden tours and volunteer weeding opportunities. I'm sure they don't kill hungry rabbits and squirrels and deer! I'd eat their local produce like a fool! And thank everyone I saw -- glazed cultish smiling I can't stop -- thank all involved in getting these treasures to table, down my gullet, into my system, and expressed in my smiling happy yoga.


My advice = enjoy, Enjoy, ENJOY!!! And why are you even on the Internet on your computer posting on some silly online forum?! Go get yourself into some backbends and inversions and go hike some mountain trails!

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Thanks for sharing all that goodness, BTW! And I'm sure you've no doubt heard that phrase "thanks for sharing!" Like a million times?! Now I commandeth thee to GO BLISS OUT on some Krishna Das and Kirtan!!!!! Aww fuck I'd die of happiness I think

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Wow Mechanism that menu is incredible.


In general, I agree with Sthira on most of his points. I'd definitely avoid the ghee for ethical reasons. Other than that, I'd be (perhaps too) tempted to try just about all the other dishes you listed, including those with seaweed and various oils. They just sound too good to pass up, at least in small quantities to experience them. I'd try to pile it on at the huge salad bar, but I'd be seriously worried about overdoing it on the cooked dishes and not being able to engage in the yoga sessions!


Paradoxically, such an extensive vegan menu might make the Kripalu Center less attractive a venue for the next CR Conference from my perspective. Too tempting and too distracting. I know it's sad, but I'm not accustomed to having so many delicious options, already cooked for me and basically "free" (once I've paid to be there).


I wonder if others would have similar reservations, and might rather not be tempted.



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^^^ not me, man, I'd be swinging free from the dietary vines like a high on life orangutan, and I'd paw every bit of it raw and fresh and ripe. Can you say DECADENT?!


So as usual you're probably right about the cooked stuff -- I'd probably have swollen limbs from dumped sodium which is usually the problem with vegan prepared dishes for the pampered -- too salty for us living pure dirty feet types.


How long are you there? What program did you sign up to take? I'd never want to leave, I think, and would have to be escorted out to the highway again for more drifting away. Man you're lucky!

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You know, not to drone on and on like an idiot, but I've been listening to a lot of podcasts on healthy eating and nutrition and whatnot. And I'll repeat that sentiment I'm sure we all share -- ain't it a goddamed fucking pity that our tax dollars go to subsidize poison rather than the healthy food you're now enjoying?


Just imagine if all people in Canada and the US (and all people globally) could eat the meals you're eating daily rather than the junk we're sold? What if government subsidized not meat dairy fructose junk but collards and raspberries for the masses. Imagine ghetto kids growing up on spinach and pistachios rather than fucking McDonalds? Think there'd be less crime? Less obesity? Fewer rapes and gang violence and random school shootings and idiot psychopath politicians like this Trump fucker? Think people would be kinder toward one another and ecosystems and plants and all the cool animals here on planet earth if the focus of their stupid profit shifted from poison to plants?


Sorry to rant, I know I sound manic, but when are we gonna change? I'm not saying capitalism is wrong -- but why can't we shift the profit motives from junk food to healthy food? Wouldn't that make this society an easier functioning society?


Don't lose your idealism. And dont gate yourself away in suburban isolation and forget your good but struggling brothers and sisters, man...

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I too am enjoying this thread. Thanks for starting it! I hope other join in. Regarding:


So Dean, you wouldn't veto any of the enters above with so many other great choices? If so (everyone), which one and why? 


Obviously I couldn't eat everything you listed, although I might try... I'd have to pick and chose, and from a simple list of ingredient I can't say how the chips would fall - I'd have to see and smell them to see what strikes my fancy. I can say I wouldn't veto any of the entrees you listed out of hand, simply as a result of the semi-objectionable ingredients they contained (except for those containing ghee, for ethical reasons). If I'm only there for a couple days, the oils (and salt) aren't going to kill me. 


As I said, my concern wouldn't be avoiding objectionable items or ingredients, but eating too much of all the hyper-palatable fare. I'm not worried about yoga per se - I've done it and enjoy it. Instead I'm worried about doing yoga when bloated from eating too much!



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And I think you're right for not doing yoga while bloated even with the purported healthiest of foods. Yogis are advised to practice on an empty stomach. There are good reasons for empty stomach practice (which I don't always do, sometimes I eat before yoga, sadly...). Particularly in deep twists, and even mild twists, I can actually feel and even see blobby food matter in my pipes. Sometimes after I've eaten, taken a yoga class that involves twisting (and nearly all poses involve twisting, ringing of the abdomen) the first thing that happens is I need to take a big bowel movement. And this doesn't always feel natural -- as if the yoga twists are pushing the digesting food too quickly out of my body.


Maybe that's not true, maybe that's more yoga woo, but there is a reason yogis advise to eat after practice rather than before.




Love your posts. Thank you for sharing...


...Keep posting Sthira, I love your energy!

Thank you for the encouragement, Mechanism, and I offer you the same. I'm sure Dean and Tom and others who post beautifully researched, time-chomping posts here often feel ignored, crickets, as Tom wrote elsewhere, and wonder wtf post if no one cares and no one reads.


I care, I read, even if I don't always express gratitude. I'll try to say thank you more often, like perhaps you learned in the seminar, but then again, one post after another saying wow thanks, gee thanks, oh thanks so much can get pretty tedious, too, haha... So moderation even in expressing gratitude...


Nothing in life is easy, is it, even being polite isn't easy!


Please know I appreciate everyone's post here -- group hug haha...

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I just wanted to express my thanks to you too. You provide these forums with much needed whimsy and perspective. We often take ourselves and our ideas far too seriously, and you help me (and I bet others too) to recognize that's not always the best approach to life. And thanks to you too Mechanism!


Things seem to have really picked up around here lately, it seems since shortly after the conference, right after I bemoaned the impending demise of our merry little band. It seems I was wrong, and I'm really happy about that. Everyone has stepped it up a notch, which I for one really appreciate. It's a lot more fun around here when there are lots of people sharing. Thanks everyone!


But as you said, it gets awkward and tedious posting (and reading) content-less "thank yous!" So I'm not going to get all gushy about it or anything.


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Awesome! We can build an online community of longevity enthusiasts even if calorie restriction in humans turns out to be a dud. All of us are interested in arresting aging and so let's follow whatever leads arise. Many heads are better than one, and everyone has unique talent and skill. I like the honesty and sincerity here.


And I love what I got in my email today from Josh Mittledorf: "I believe that all we have to do to make ourselves younger is to turn on the genes that were expressed when we were young, and turn off the genes that are expressed when we are old. This will require both knowledge and technique..."

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I was at Kripalu at the same time as Mechanism -- we had an ~ 1.5 day overlap, were together at several meals, went on two 90 minute hikes together, and both attended two evening presentations.  I greatly enjoyed his company.


I agree with most of Sthira has said.


I want to clarify some points:  Kripalu has morning yoga classes at 6:30AM -- which one goes to BEFORE breakfast (those who go to breakfast skip morning yoga).  And the evening yoga classes (which I also always go to) start at 4:15 -- BEFORE dinner (and very much after lunch).  So you're never doing yoga on a full stomach -- and you're ready to eat, right after yoga.


My wife originally introduced me to Kripalu -- initially, I simply enjoyed the food there, ignoring the yoga.


This changed -- Kripalu is the outfit that led me into yoga.




  --  Saul

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  • 4 weeks later...


Rather than just extend the yoga retreat lovefest, I thought I would actually give an opinion on your questions ...


(1) Punjabi red lentil dahl: Red lentils, tomatoes, onions, tumeric, paprika, brown mustard seed, asafoetido, garlic, ginger, coriander, garam masala, coconut milk, cilantro, cayenne pepper, sunflower oil, black pepper, sea salt
I don't have a big problem with the coconut oil as my lipids are low so no big deal with a bit of SFA, but sunflower oil? would you veto due to the higher omega 6 to omega 3 ratio, or not care since it seems to be pretty low down the ingredient list?

In this case, I would say that the coconut milk (not, NB, coconut oil) is so far down the list, after a long list of spices, that the amount really must be tiny or it'd be inedible. the sunflower oil even more so.

Also, you don't mention the sea salt: sea salt is of course no healthier than regular table salt (less so, since it's not iodized beyond what's naturally in the stuff), and it only takes a very small amount to add up. I doubt I would pass on a single meal on this basisbut I wouldn't make regular use of it, and if I were going to be at a reatreat for a week it would reinforce my habit of packing my own food ...

I would also say that there is reason to think that SaFA may be bad for you for reasons other than your lipid profile, and they should be monitored to keep your intake <10% of energy no matter what your lipid profile looks like.

Kitchari: Yellow moong dahl beans, basmati, coconut oil, cumin, asafetida, tumeric, brown mustard seed, cilantro, black pepper, sea salt

High GI of basmati, saturated fat from coconut oil

I'd have to agree in this case: this meal is out for just those reasons. I'd also say this dish is just likely to be way too carb-dense, period, even if they replaced the coconut oil with high-phenolic EVOO and had magic low-GI rice.

(4) Kale with mustard seeds: Kale, brown mustard seed, safflower oil
Why did they use safflower oil? Same high omega 6:3 ratio issues as sunflower oil

Yeah, almost guaranteed to be way too much to ignore.

(5) Punjabi cauliflower & peas: Cauliflower, peas, ghee, ginger, tumeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, cilantro sea salt
Why the ghee - clarified butter is better than the conventional one (less lactose & casein, possible prebiotic value), but it is still a butter (SFAs, elevates IGF-1, etc)

I can't imagine it raises IGF-1 — that's from protein and (via insulin, and to a much lesser extent) carbs, not fat — but it is processed saturated fat, and clearly there's going to be a lot of it here. Pass.

(6) Black beans & carrots: Black beans, black eyed peas, carrots, kombu, sea salt
Potential high iodine in the kombu... same issue with "adzuki beans with ginger": adzuki beans, kombu,carrots, sea salt

Kombu scares the shit out of me. Realistically, one meal is not likely to destroy one's thyroid, but I'm hypersensitive about this myself. Pass!

(7) Grilled vegetables: Zucchini & yellow squas, eggplant, red bell peppers, olive oil, garlic, fresh oregano, dry oregeno, black pepper, sea salt

OK this one is probably a winner, but does anyone here avoid grilling vegetables which as a food preparation technique produces AGE's albeit at much lower metals than animal products?

Similar global problem as with all the dishes you specifically ask about: I wouldn't worry about one meal of it, but when there's something wrong with almost everything you're putting in your mouth for a week ...!


(8) African sweet potato peanut stew: Onions, green peppers, garlic, sweet potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, chili flakes, cumin, cinnamon, curry powder, peanut butter, lime juice, peanuts, cilantro, black pepper, sea salt.

Peanut aflatoxin, omega 6:3 ratio ... but what about all the other great ingredients here?

I don't think you have to worry about aflatoxin if the peanuts were grown in the US: we screen them rather well. The omegas aren't good, and you're are evidently unaware of their possible EFA-independent effect on atherosclerosis, possibly mediated by lectins and/or triglyceriede structure.(1-3) But they're down past "chili flakes, cumin, cinnamon, curry powder," and so not likely present in terribly large amounts.


(9) Korean bbq tempeh: tempeh, coconut sugar, what free tamari, brown rice vinegar, lan chi paste, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, cornstarch

Why the sesame oil?  Not crazy about the added sugar or cornstarch, but the sesame oil is easily oxidized and again omega 6:3 ratio.  Would you care why/why not?

Coconut sugar as second ingredient: out!


(10) Cucumber salad: cucumbers, toasted sesame oil, clover honey, kelp, what free tamari, cayenne pepper, scallions, ginger, garlic, black sesame seeds.

Same kelp and sesame oil issues as above, but this sesame oil is "toasted" if you were OK with the sesame oil above, would toasted cross the line with increased oxidation and free radical formation?

Ack. Horrendous, evil stuff: out, out, out!


         Enormous salad bar


I wouldn't eat all that pressboard (tho' I can tolerate a small amount in a smoothie).

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(1) Punjabi red lentil dahl: Red lentils, tomatoes, onions, tumeric, paprika, brown mustard seed, asafoetido, garlic, ginger, coriander, garam masala, coconut milk, cilantro, cayenne pepper, sunflower oil, black pepper, sea salt


MR, I'm surprised you don't object to black pepper... all that piperine!

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Those food options sound delicious!


Regarding basmati rice, I've had good experience with this one in particular (organic california-grown germinated brown rice):



I usually rinse it a few times, then cook it al dente pasta style with fenugreek seed, cumin seed, coriander seed, turmeric root, ground black pepper, salt, with a bit of onion, garlic, and parsley.  Then, I refrigerate it.  Then, consume it with a meal (often tossed with a bit of 300-400 polyphenol EVOO.)  Consumed this way, I don't see any major effect on my post-prandial glucose numbers -- much less of an effect than I might get eating a big serving of cauliflower with asparagus and onions.  I can practically file this food under vegetables.


With safflower oil, I'm not against it so long as I see the key phrase "High-Oleic" next to it (some of those reach upwards of 85%+ MUFA, much more than your average EVOO.)  Coconut / dairy / sesame oil / peanuts / soy, I do avoid for now.  Coconut sugar doesn't bug me, but I might prefer to see "High antioxidant buckwheat honey", nutrient-rich molasses, organic dates, etc.  I tend view coconut sugar as basically sugar, while honey / molasses / dates seem a bit more food-like to me.


I don't avoid grilled vegetables at most restaurants, but I don't consume them at home.  If I have the option to have these steamed / boiled, I'll almost always request that, unless I'm feeling dangerous.


Kombu / kelp doesn't bug me.  I don't go out of my way to eat these foods, but I don't avoid them.  When I'm not eating much seafood / seaweed (heavy metal avoidance, dioxins, etc.) I often supplement iodine.


Roasted root vegetables, I usually avoid.  These tend to push my blood sugar up higher than anything else I can eat.  I prefer these steamed / boiled, or lightly pressure cooked and cooled.


Regarding the legumes, I've had good experience with this one:



These contain more fiber than they contain net carbohydrates -- that's a better ratio than you would get eating most other foods / vegetables (more fiber : net carbs than eating lettuce, asparagus, arugula, broccoli, etc.)  They're hulled, so you're skipping many of the anti-nutrients in the outer layer.  I soak overnight with warm water to remove some of the anti-nutrients in the bean.  Then, I pressure cook them to further destroy lectins / anti-nutrients and increase their polyphenol density with herbs + spices.  Mendosa has a good write up on these beans, where the GI might be as low as 5 or 11.

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Nope, didn't mean safrole, meant piperine. I am largely avoiding black pepper because of it. As to the reason, you yourself mentioned it here:


I did not incorporate it into my diet until I read about it's effect on increasing curcumin absorption in my daily two tablespoons.


And that is the exact reason why I avoid it: piperine sharply increases absorption - BUT of not only curcumin, but all sorts of molecules, which is why it is so frequently used by supplement makers to increase absorption. Consuming piperine means I am sharply increasing the absorption of bioactive substances from whatever random food the pepper happened to be paired with - there is no control here to limit it just to X (curcumin or otherwise). That's like taking a very potent drug with completely random effects (dependent on whatever else happens to be metabolized at the moment the piperine hits). When consuming F&V, we are relying on natural interactions between the various nutrients - throwing a firebomb like piperine into the mix completely upsets the apple cart of those interactions. Studies show that consuming f.ex. apples or any other F or V (or functional food) gives us health benefits. Note, that those studies depend on dietary amounts of various beneficial substances in the apple or any other food. Now you throw in a chemical that dramatically changes the amount of substances absorbed from that food, and now the studies no longer apply - because you are dealing with supra-doses of the nutrients. The dose makes the poison. In certain amounts those nutrients are beneficial - as studies show, in amounts naturally found in those foods. The studies DO NOT necessarily show that the same nutrients are still beneficial at wildly different doses - frequently it is the opposite. Piperine is such a powerful agent, that it alters the metabolism of bioactive substances in food. We have not studied what happens when that occurs. Why would I do such a thing? I'd much rather consume foods based on studies that featured natural amounts of nutrients in natural interaction, without highly distorting agents like piperine. It might be good, it might be bad - but the point is I don't know. With the studies, I at least know what I'm eating for the F&V etc., so I stick to that. 

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"Leaky gut", yes, a concern, but the remedy here is to get tons of fiber and not use too many breaching agents (like ibuprofen). The F&V we consume do have a lot of phytotoxins, but again, it's all about dosage. In small doses - i.e. the kind we are liable to consume naturally in our diet, they can act as hormetic agents, but I would not want to supercharge them with piperine, because at that point all bets are off wrt. dosage. Again, for me, the principle is always "first do no harm" - and we just don't know enough about potential issues with piperine; for that matter, we have not been consuming black pepper for that long (for Northern European upper classes, a few centuries, and more broadly in Europe just a few generations). Too much of a gamble for me, until there's more info and more research. YMMV.

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