What to Eat? Ask Your Body, Ask Nature

Ask your body

Don’t know what to feed yourself?  Ask your body, ask Nature

We have a huge array of food choices available to us now, both great and not great. When in doubt, ask your body what it wants. If you don’t get a clear message at first, keep asking and look around at the choices that nature provides in your area, this season.

It used to be that humans ate what they could, grown or produced locally at that time of year. Now we can get grapes from South America in the winter and apples in the summer. We eat balsamic vinegar transported from Italy and pineapple from Thailand even though we grow plenty here. We see all kinds of technologies and delivery systems that push production and availability way past what Nature provides with an eye trained on profit. It can be hard to hear what our bodies call for when external voices shout louder – but ultimately we want to tune into our internal guidance system for what our bodies need. We’re in a great position to enjoy the best of ancient natural wisdom combined with new technologies.

We can reach for a more sustainable balance by respecting and working with the natural intelligence of the personal biosphere (our fabulous bodies), the local biosphere (the land, people, and life around us) and the global biosphere (the beautiful planet that is our only home). Put simply, listen to your body, grow some food, and go big picture with your choices and purchases.

100 years ago humans were more closely tied to the growing season. Our school year traditionally started after the fall harvest with the summer requiring all hands in the fields to bring in the food. We have developed our society beyond being tied to natural growing seasons and we must scale back to maintain a sustainable balance.

The new food order has to become a big-picture synergy between modern technology and traditional horticulture – smaller-scale farming with a healthy respect for Nature. You don’t have to join a group to eat according to nature and more sustainably and this Huffington Post article gives you 5 Reasons to Eat Local. Eat Local Grown.com has some good advice: Take a close look at your food choices and ask, “Did people eat this 100 years ago?” If not, don’t eat it. And if you want further support, you can check out the Eat Local Challenge, which is devoted entirely to the importance of locally and sustainably produced food.

In the mountains of Peru, people have eaten a staple diet of beans, corn and tubers for centuries. Their bodies have evolved with the plants in the area and what grows there sustains them well. They didn’t expect to eat food out of its season. To the extent that they’ve begun eating processed foods from afar, their health has declined.   Nature provides plenty. As we shift to gratitude for the healthy food that is here now, rather than insisting that we have every choice the world offers at all times, that simplicity and humility will heal us.

What does that come down to in your daily practice? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what is the best diet, but fresh, whole foods are generally better for you than processed or derivative foods. Eating what’s grown and produced close to home reduces the need for preservatives, reduces energy costs for transportation, and keeps money in the local economy.

Ask: What’s in season? What’s growing nearby? What is my body asking for now? Was this food produced with love and consciousness? When you use those answers to guide your choices, you can’t go wrong.

Our bodies have many cooperative systems to keep the whole working smoothly if we surf with the natural flow. To do that, you have to tune in to your internal guidance system. One easy way to do that is to grow some of your own food and appreciate the gentle cooperation as you nurture a plant and it gives you food. Wherever you are, something will grow. It’s amazing to tune into wild grown plants (often considered weeds) that are hardy and have nutrients you may be missing. Even if you live in an apartment, growing herbs and vegetables in pots on your windowsill or lanai will help reorient you to the bounty and joy of living in harmony with nature.

Look at what you eat over weeks and seasons rather than just the “Standard Daily Requirement.”   Government standards come from aggregatized data from many bodies, not yours. What your body needs shifts constantly. When we take the same supplements or medications routinely over years, we habituate our body to dependence. That serves pharmaceutical companies who want you to buy their products for the rest of your life. To achieve healthy balance, we need to aim for the Minimum Necessary Intervention (MNI ;-), which respects our body’s tremendous innate intelligence, and keep asking those questions… What do I need now? …And now? Often the answer is “I need less.” Our bodies have an amazing capacity to heal and adapt; if we work with them, we can come to balance beautifully.   The more we focus on How we want it to be, the more we will bring it into being.

Check out my related blog posts:

Your Body is its Best Doctor

Why I Gulp My Food – Eating to External Cues

*** This article first appeared in Living Aloha Magazine, May/June 2105. www.livingaloha.net

#healing  #eatinghealthy  #foodsthatheal #balance #eatlocal #mauimade

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