Eating as if it Mattered

by Susan A.Smith

We have forgotten how to eat. Now we read books to learn how to count calories and fat or carbohydrate grams. We weight portions, wonder whether yams are acid or alkaline, then check the glycemic index to see if we dare eat a peach. With a zillion books out there promoting correct menus, only a Carmel Frappacino can calm our nerves.

Mark Twain reportedly said to be careful about reading health books, because we may die of a misprint.

Our relationship to food reflects our way of being in the world. We are harried and distracted. We eat to satisfy cravings instead of appetite, for energy instead of building and repairing our bodies. Preparing meals is another job to squeeze into the day, so we take supplements to fill in the blanks. Much like sawing table legs until they are even and the table has become a footstool, we take pharmaceuticals to fix one body part, then another to compensate for side effects, then another, and so on.

During the Great Depression, scientist Weston A Price, DDS (Nutrition & Physical Degeneration) studied isolated, non-industrialized peoples from all over the world: Africa, Australia, Polynesia, Peru, Alaska, Switzerland, New Zealand, Outer Hebrides, India, Northern Canada, Northwestern USA. These diverse peoples, eating traditional foods had none of the degenerative illness we experience today. Though their diets varied, each was far more nutrient dense than ours. Their foods were high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, with up to tenfold the fat soluble activators allowing for mineral absorption. Where members of these groups began to border so-called civilization and incorporate modern food into their diets, their health declined within a single generation.

Sally Fallon (Nourishing Traditions) summarizes common characteristics of the diets of these traditional peoples:

- No refined, processed, denatured foods
- Rich in animal proteins and fats
- Full of the natural enzymes found in raw dairy, meat, fish, honey, unpasteurized beers/wines, lacto-fermented vegetables and fruit
- Seeds, grains and nuts were soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened before consumption to neutralize anti-nutrients
- Only 4% of calories were derived from polyunsaturated oils which naturally occurred in legumes, nuts, fish, animals and vegetables
- Salt was not processed and stripped of minerals
- Included raw animal products such as milk and cultured milk foods

This is our modern plague: coronary heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, Alzheimer disease, obesity, thyroid dysfunction, depression, infertility -- degenerative conditions paralleling the degeneration of our food supply.

Wendell Berry spells out the principles driving our food industry: Food is only important as an article of international trade. It does not matter what happens to farmers. It does not matter what happens to the land. Agriculture has nothing to do with the environment. There will always be plenty of food because if farmers do not grow it, scientists will invent it. There is no connection between food and health. People are fed by the Industry. Our food is hydrogenated, pasteurized, irradiated, genetically engineered, with a nearly infinite shelf life.

I believe real food is our best medicine and that it is supposed to taste good. I ate Wonder Bread as a kid, was a vegetarian for a dozen years, put tofu at the center of my diet during menopause, and manipulated my blood sugar with coffee and sugar to survive a divorce and raise teenagers. I exhausted my adrenals and my thyroid reflects the damage caused by the goitregens in soy. As I rest, I am learning to find, make and eat real food. It is good medicine.

It is a shame that we eat anonymous food grown, processed, and transported by strangers, but we can change. Patronize your local farmers market, get a source of certified raw milk and other dairy products, eat animals grazed on green pastures and free-range chickens and their organic eggs. Eat healthy fats: unfiltered, organic olive oil, certified organic raw butter, and organic coconut oil. Use unrefined Celtic sea salt. Soak oatmeal overnight. Make bone broths and your own salad dressings. Make your own pickles and ketchup. Use natural sweeteners such as raw honey, maple sugar, date sugar, stevia.

Read the books listed under Diet & Nutrition in this catalog. Call me if you would like to talk about increasing energy and overall health. We can chat.

 


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