Written by: Beau DeCourcy
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates
Often times I am asked to explain what my diet entails. And almost always after I tell people, they shake their heads, and say something to the effect of: “that seems so boring.” I guess this difference of opinion lays in our contrasting connection to food. To be clear, I have a deep and enjoyable connection to the food I eat, but of least importance to me is how sweet or savory it is (although most of it is delicious) but rather how it nourishes me and allows me to think, feel and perform.
It is important that people have a deep connection with their food; as it is food that nourishes the mind and body. We should hunt it and gather it, maybe in our own neolithic way by seeking out local meats and produce, making selections based on our knowledge of what is best for us and learning about the process of the harvest. We should also spend time preparing it to further increase our involvement and understanding of the process.
Somewhere along the line, this connection became distorted. We now engineer our foods to excite every taste-bud and reward receptor of our body. Artificial taste and convenience supersedes nutrient density and this has proven to be a dangerous trade off. This disconnection with our food seems to be driven by the fact that almost none of us procure our own anymore. And fewer and fewer people are preparing their own meals. Fast, cheap, and sweet seems to be the ideal choice now given the hectic backdrop of our lives. But there are implications to our lazy attitude toward nutrition. Most of us do not even know what we are eating. The recent “pink slime” meat media scare proves this point. Meat as we know it today is no longer meat as we believe it to be. The majority of our fruits and vegetables are genetically modified to the point that they look nothing like their ancestors… kind of like us. Don’t believe me? Check out Arthurhaines.com and see for yourself.
But feedlot meat and GMO produce is the least of the problem. It’s the almost totally processed “foods” that cause the most trouble. Candy, soda, TV dinners with low calorie weight loss promises, and sugar loaded caffeinated drinks that double as coffees that are the real culprits. Rather than fruit, we eat fruit snacks, rather than tea we drink brown, sugar water. These are counterfeit foods with almost no nutrient content and a propensity to make those who consume them fat and sick.
Often I will tell people to eat the way they want to live. This requires an understanding of your own physical and mental relationship with food. You do not need to be an organic chemist to come to this understanding. Simply eat foods you can respect and that nourish you. Nutrient dense, whole foods create strong minds and bodies that give people the capacity to create a life of their choosing. Whole food nutrition allows me to fuel numerous activities that bring me great enjoyment. One of the best attributes attained from a healthy and organic connection to food is the freedom from food. The ability to skip a meal or several if necessary with no drop in physical or mental energy. The freedom from powerful cravings that dominate and distract the mind is worth dropping the fruit snacks and becoming absent from the drive-thru line.
Once again I am offering a challenge to readers: restore your connection to real food. Read the ingredients list, and if you cannot even pronounce most of what is listed, put it down and walk away. Research wild food sources and take part in hunting and gathering your own. And keep perspective of the health implications. While processed foods often are less expensive, they will take their toll another way, often through medication costs and doctors visits.
Eat clean, simple and whole and see how it makes you look and feel. I have yet to hear of anyone that has felt worse on a whole food based diet than on a processed one. My bet is that you’ll feel the freedom and lasting energy food is meant to provide. Remember that we should be connected to our food and not addicted to it.
What kind of connection do you have with food? Have you considered adding in wild foods to your diet?
As a post-script, check out Keirsten’s Kitchen. Keirsten has numerous recipes that capture the great taste of real food.