Fall is upon us and a perfect time to talk about food. As the world’s population continues to grow, so do concerns of crop yields, food scarcity, food manipulation and security.
I’m not going to preach about becoming a devout vegetarian. I’m not one. Yet, it is a well-known fact that a dominant plant-based diet is more pacifying and less inflammatory in the human body than one that misuses animal proteins.
An ancient treatise on the cause and cure of disease called the Charaa Samta, spoke to the …”proper measure of food”… to one’s digestive fire (agni). Here foods were essentially classified as heavy or light. Light foods were those with air/heat properties, and heavy food types are those with properties of earth/moon. A diet that consists predominantly of light items (i.e. fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fresh milk) enhances one’s digestive fire. Heavy foods (i.e. meat-fish & poultry, eggs, wine) should be consumed sparingly because they can become harmful when over consumed. We would probably agree that the right foods in our bodies could promote better health, strength and vitality. But, who really cares whether all the amino acids, vitamins, and proteins are in meals if it tastes NASTY, takes too long to cook or costs a lot? Here in the west we want fast and convenient, salty or sweet, supersized, right?
Balance within the body cannot be fully appreciated without consideration of diet variety, imagination and tastes/flavour that many cultures painstakingly harvest and prepare. While many populations use large quantities of whole grains, bean varieties, herbs, nuts/seeds in raw and cooked variations, an attractive/colorful plate gets digestive juices going. This provides enjoyment and good digestion too.
The way we consume nourishment has, at best, become rather complicated. Mostly, the will of mega-food corporations armed with scientists, researchers, marketers that have manipulated the way we grow, harvest, consume and our relation with foods; we’ve been hypnotized into believing that crops grown in nutrient depleted soils loaded with insecticide infused fertilizers for higher yields is a win-win for humankind. Or let’s just forget soil and grow plants hydroponically for their yummy flavor and super sizes! Think about those 13-inch cucumbers, hmm?
Have you tasted a real banana? smelled a fresh peach? spit watermelon seeds off your porch lately? There are so many texts about food manipulation, farming, preservation and food entertainment. The bottom line is your nutrition should be nice and K I S (Keep it Simple). All is not lost. You can choose to not give way to hype and recreate your love of food, better nutrition, and balance.
For a few weeks, just try to make simple meals–not too many ingredients, unless you have the time. Prepare them attractively. Set a nice place to dine… no cell phones and not in front of the “tele!” Listen to some calm and interesting music. Allow enough time for eating, we really aren’t too busy to chew or enjoy. Consider eating foods grown locally and that seasonal. Entreat friends to join in monthly potlucks. Discover your family’s “highs & lows” of the day. You might even enjoy the company or laugh out loud.
Attention, moderation and gratitude with meals can and will transform your senses, inevitably, your well-being!
P.S. Some reads: Make Friends With Your Land (L. Wickenden), Clean(A. Junger, MD)