April 13, 2011

Common Sense: Eating for Health and Happiness ~ Energy of Mind

Rohan's a lucky boy: growing up on a sustainable farm with fresh fruit off the tree... I think he's pretty healthy and happy!

Energy of Mind!

This just in from the world of intelligence called “common sense”: what we eat really, really matters for how healthy and happy we will be. We make such a mystery of eating well and we dis-empower ourselves by thinking it complicated – leaving it to “experts” with degrees in excess-information. When, really, it’s a pretty simple affair. We have gone mad, as a recent article in the Economist notes, “Consumers swing from fad to fad. In the early 1990’s they worried about saturated fat. Then it was carbohydrates. Today they clamor for firms to add fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics and whole grains to their products.”

But folks, let me please take a page out my teacher’s book who always advocates for telling people what they already know – we don’t need scientists, or even nutritionists, to tell us how to eat.

We simply need to listen to our common sense.

In the introduction to the catalog of common sense is the following advice: “Eat what is grown out of the ground without the use of chemicals– hopefully nearby – or animals that eat what grows out of the earth, or stuff that comes out of rivers, lakes and oceans.” Further still in this great book it says, “Stay away from the stuff made in laboratories” (especially seeds!) – even when the men in the smocks tell you its “better for you.” And, “Don’t worry about every new fad diet that hits the news.  Scrap it all and think about it for just a minute… and, ‘Oh yeah! – fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, meat, fish, eggs, milk, spices, herbs, sans toxic chemicals…. that does make sense!’”

My boy Rudi's first meatball! (home-cooked, of course:))

And, this last bit of advice might be tougher to swallow than our frozen foods – “We’ve got to take these wonderful ingredients and cook them!” We all love going out to eat, and sometimes we’re in a jam in need something fast, but, really, these situations must be exceptions to the rule of eating fresh, hot, home-cooked food most of the time.

If we do this, I assure you, we can bring the taste back into our lives. We won’t need to worry about fats and cholesterol, sodium levels, amino acids, free-radicals and all that jazz. Really, if we just buy fruit, veggies, meat, fish, grains, and cook them at home, preferably with other people, then the rest will work self out. I am not kidding.

We won’t need to make sure the butcher cuts our slab with absolutely no fat – actually we won’t want him too! This is also in the book of common sense: “fat is good for us!” And, we need not fret about a teaspoon of sugar in our tea – because, guess what? The sweet taste is also good for us! I guarantee that sugar is not grown in the devil’s back yard. (Though, I can’t assure you of the same for “Sweet & Low”, and the rest of the assortment of artificial sweeteners.)

For now, prepare your food with herbs and spices as you desire. After months of the habit of cooking for yourself your appetite will balance and you will no longer crave the intensity of excess salt, pepper (including chili), sugar, etc. This will happen naturally – your taste buds will evolve and you will gain greater skill in knowing what you want and need. Then, having acquired this habit, if you really want to tweak you inner-alchemy then you can learn more via in-depth systems like Tantrik Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Energy of Mind Therapy, etc.

Until your natural appetites are more refined, for now you are welcome to say no to things like skim milk. Do you know how much more healthy you would be if you could take it whole, 100% right out of the cow’s nipple? The frenzied energy we expend worrying about skim this, and non-fat that is far more detrimental than some good wholesome fat. (Eating natural fats in moderation, mind you, will reduce anxiety and fear.)

Common sense must speak out against genetically modified food. Photo: NenoA

Our bodies are literal warehouses of chemicals. Our physiology contains everything we need to be healthy and happy. But, now we have gotten to a place where we do need to obsess about our health. When we look beyond the organic bubbles of conscious hot-spots around the globe the trend is one where we want to eat like machines instead of like people. Processed, easy, packaged foods have to be filled with all sorts of crap so that they can sit on our shelves for months and create our addictions – food is BIG business!

The only reason we need scientists to make “healthy” modifications to our food is because we eat modified food! If we just keep it simple and eat REAL food, we’d have nothing to worry about.

And, finally, the most simple, common-sense, practical advice on the entire topic of healthy diet: eat when you are hungry, don’t eat when you are not hungry; drink when you are thirsty, don’t drink when you are not thirsty. These words to live by, again, are accredited to my teacher, seasoned medical practitioner and ultimate realist, Dharmanidhi Sarasvati.

I realize that there are all sorts of socio-economic arguments why living by such “common sense” would be harder for some than others. I have two things to say about that:

1. If you are online and attracted to reading this article in the forums it can be found in then you are both informed enough to know that what I am saying makes sense and you are wealthy enough to live like this.

2. If you think you are not wealthy enough to live like this, and that your finances dictate that you buy bulk, processed, frozen, fast, “food” then I will draw upon the advice of my teacher again. He reminds us that it would be more healthy and wholesome to eat a diet of rice and beans than to eat all the garbage people like to call food. A meal of rice and beans, properly spiced, with a bit of pork-belly or something like that is delicious, good for you, and cheaper than eating at McDonalds!

Really, it comes down to motivation. In my years being around counseling 99% of the client’s well-being comes down to the following: do we really want to be happy and healthy? Often we say we do, but have a litany of excuses as to why we can’t get with the program.

But, another “common sense” guarantee that comes from the real laboratory of life-experience is that 85% of the depression, anxiety, lethargy, and general angst we suffer from can be alleviated via the diet alone. Food is the very best medicine because we feed it into our system 3 times a day. Add proper exercise into the mix and 95% of our day-to-day ailments will disappear. No need for pills, shrinks, fads, or freak-outs. Common sense rules the day! Eat natural foods that come from natural places cooked with spices/herbs of your liking, preferably in a family/community setting, plus exercise 5 times a week and you will put “therapists” like me out of business!

The prospect of that might make my bank account disappear as fast as your anxiety and fatigue– but, trust me, we’ll be both be happier for your success!

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