So many people understand now that the food they put into their bodies becomes an integral part of them that “you are what you eat” has become a slogan. It is experientially logical that putting something into your system makes that something become a part of you and science has also proven this to be the case in detailed (and often alarming) ways. Therefore, many people also now agree, at least in theory if not in practice, that we should only put natural and healthy foods into our systems.
However, “you are what you eat” has a much broader meaning for our health than just whether or not we should eat an apple instead of a candy bar. What is less well known and much less accepted is that all of our experiences, thoughts, feelings, reactions, the energy or condition at the places we frequent, TV shows, what we read, all of our interactions, everything we say, think, do, inhale, watch, hear, smell and taste also become a part of us and leave a trail within us.
Update I left out this video
From seven years of waiting tables, I learned firsthand that the energy and atmosphere in restaurants, particularly in the kitchen where the food is prepared, is full of stress at best and worse is often full of hostility and malevolence. (Hell’s Kitchen the TV show which pushes for hostile behavior actually is an exaggerated version of the condition of the kitchen at many restaurants.) In the restaurants where I worked, kitchen staff was forced to put out sometimes as many as 400 meals in a short period of time while working in extreme heat and with burns and cuts on their fingers. The pace and pressure were crushing. Many kitchen staff used rage and blame as a way to cope. I have since learned that the condition the cook is in when preparing food leaves an indelible stamp on the food itself because our internal states have an effect on the quality of our food. Food cooked in a loving atmosphere in which the cook is connected to their divine essence while cooking is the most desirable. Eating food prepared in such a way and in such an atmosphere and enjoyed by an eater with the same peaceful orientation is also optimal for health on all levels. It has the best effect on our systems and contributes greatly to our personal growth and development.
Given that the majority of us are fed on food that is toxic from how it is grown, what it is made of, and the attitudes and condition of those handling it, it is no wonder that we live in a hostile and deteriorating society. When most of our food is full of unnatural toxins (both material and subtle) and generated in factories and the pills we take to redress the imbalances caused by toxic food and water are chemicals themselves which cause further imbalances, then we are living with a constant and undesirable cascade of chemical reactions which are causing human beings to break down from malnutrition and toxic intake. When we turn on the TV, we view hostile people spitting venom at one another in sitcoms, or the lying, plotting and unholy alliances formed by reality TV contestants, or the sex and violence that make up the rest of the programming, or the stomach turning twists and turns of the nightly news. The internet is no better with hostile outbursts and constant conflict appearing on even the mildest, non-political message boards and open forum discussion groups. Everything else you may analyze is the same whether it be Hollywood, Madison Avenue or many workplaces. Everywhere we go, we are being saturated with toxins and toxic behaviors. This constant toxic assault is worsening the current negative condition of the modern human being.
Given the sensitive nature of the human being and all organic matter, it is time to start eating healthy in the truest and broadest sense. We have to start perhaps with our physical food, looking to buy local and organic both because such foods are in their natural state and because they are usually handled by very few people (most often only by the farmer who cares deeply about the quality of the food and about the quality of the relationship with you). We also have to look beyond just our physical food and look for healthy conditions in our environment, our thoughts, our interactions, the people we do business with, whatever we read and watch and so on.
For years it has been our focus here at home to treat our home as the ashram type environment it is meant to be, i.e. a place where the material world meets the divine world. It has been our great fortune that over the past two and half years we have been able to turn our family home into a family homestead where we are growing, making and harvesting more and more of our own food. Gathering the food graciously bestowed upon us by our two dairy cows, our twenty five laying hens, our wild blackberry bushes and now our two chestnut trees and then preparing and eating that food in a meditative state of gratitude has had a profoundly positive affect on all members of our family.
A while back I posted videos of us milking our cows and picking from our blackberry bushes. Here is a new batch of three sets of videos of us opening up a new pasture for our grass-fed cows, planting blueberry bushes, and gathering chestnuts and making them into a delicious soup.
The first set of videos is about pasture management. There is serious drought here so our cows have eaten away at our barely growing pasture and we are having trouble finding hay. We were in a difficult situation but our neighbor graciously rented us an adjoining pasture. These videos are about putting in barb wire fence and trying to get the existing electric fence to work as well as a related homeschooling video about connectivity and the circular nature of things.
The second video documents our family planting blueberries along our front fence in our quest to expand our edible landscaping and add another nutrient dense food to our diets.
The chestnuts are the latest gift for us. We purchased our old farm house without knowing that the two large trees in the back were Chinese chestnut trees. We had only a little experience eating chestnuts as my wife had occasionally made a delicious chestnut soup over the years. As we have been gathering the falling chestnuts, we have also been gathering information about them. It turns out that they have long been valued as an important resource in other countries but due to chestnut blight the American and European chestnut trees have all been almost completely wiped out here and Americans don’t really know much about them or how to eat them. Luckily the Chinese chestnut tree is blight resistant and thrives in most locations in the US. Due to containing only 1% fat, having a soft, starchy meat and providing nutrition similar to that of brown rice, chestnuts are often referred to as “the grain that grows on trees”. In addition to being used in soups, stuffing’s and side dishes, chestnuts can be dried and ground into flour for making breads and polenta type foods. This ability makes chestnuts a valuable and nutritious addition to gluten free diets. Chestnuts are sweet, beautiful and just fall from the trees which makes harvesting them pretty easy. The two videos here are about harvesting, de-shelling and making them into a soup. For links to recipes and American chestnut growers, click the Recipe button on our family web site, Pockets of the Future