Sample from the Spring 2009 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine..
An Interview with Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, MD
Gabriel Cousens is considered a physician of the soul. His book, Conscious Eating, has been referred to as the “bible of vegetarians.” His background as a holistic physician, medical researcher, live-food nutritionist, ecological leader, spiritual teacher and yogi, enables him to share a unique holistic approach to nourishing the hungry soul. In this interview he discusses the metaphysics of a sattvic diet, how veganism reduces our carbon footprint and his astonishing cure for diabetes.
Integral Yoga Magazine (IYM): What did the ancient rishis and sages know about Yoga and diet?
Gabriel Cousens (GC): They knew that live food has the most prana and that’s the key. Prana expands consciousness. Live food turns us into superconductors for the divine. My two gurus, Swami Muktananda and Swami Prakashananda, used to say that dairy, eggs, meat, poultry and seafood clog the nadis. As a psychiatrist and yogi, I used to see thousands of people who were working with kundalini shakti. In 1975 I received shaktipat from Muktanandaji. I had all kinds of visions and every chakra lit up. Coming out of the nothing, I saw all the petals of the sahasrara chakra. I “saw” a whole book of Yoga. As I felt the energy hit the bindu, a voice rang out saying, “You should learn to eat and live in a way that supports the kundalini.” So, as a holistic physician, that’s where my research went. I began working with people who had kundalini imbalance and I saw that meat acted as a kind of sludge for the kundalini.
IYM: Why don’t you recommend dairy products?
GC: We know that only ingesting plant source protein is significant for minimizing disease. The rate of cancer increases as much as four times in non-vegetarians. For women who drink milk, the rate of ovarian cancer is three times higher. The rate of lung cancer in men and women is twice as high in a milk drinker. The main protein in milk stimulates cancer production, when you drink even one to three glasses a day. It also increases insulin resistance as much as consuming a quarter-pound cheeseburger or a quarter-pound of sugar.
IYM: Why did ancient yogis and sages like Swami Sivananda recommend drinking milk as part of a sattvic diet?
GC: What was good then, unfortunately isn’t good now due to planetary pollution. Milk was sattvic in those days. Milk was usually from a cow that was lovingly cared for, even worshipped. When Chernobyl happened, there was a 900 percent increase in perinatal mortality in Boston. Radioactive iodines landed on the grass, cows ate the grass, mothers drank the milk, and babies died from radiation poison. In meat, toxins are 15 times higher as compared to vegetables. Dairy is 5.5 times higher. So, these environmental changes have occurred since the times of the rishis.
In the time of the rishis, having a little dairy was ideal for balancing and building ojas. Ojas is the primordial, enduring and sustaining meditative and spiritual energy. Within the nadis, we have tejas, ojas and prana. Prana, is the wind that blows the fire (kundalini); tejas is the electrical energy (abundant in live food with its enzymes and biophotons); ojas aligns the nadis so the fire doesn’t burn the nadis. That’s why too much pranayama can cause imbalance. People have to build a certain amount of ojas or they can get imbalances [see Dr. Cousen’s book, Spiritual Nutrition]. Rishis did okay because they had just a little dairy and didn’t eat much as compared with the amounts we consume today. We have lots of vegan ways to build to ojas (coconut milk, ground flax, blue-green algae and anything high in omega 3). Soaked nuts and seeds, when ground and blended, will build ojas. We can take the yogic principle of a building ojas by eating sattvic food—which no longer includes dairy, now tamasic due to poisons in the environment—and utilize ojas-promoting vegan food like goji berries.
IYM: How else is our Yoga practice affected by what we eat?…
Read the rest of this article in the Spring 2009 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine.