Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Healthier Living

Homemade Spinach Salad

In an earnest effort to live a simpler life, I've been making conscious strides to be aware of what I'm putting into my body. To take the time to listen to one's own body reveals a wealth of knowledge on just what is needed to get through the day. Obviously, there's no big secret that we drink tea for it's numerous benefits, whether they be chemical, social, or spiritual. There is a certain level of interconnectedness when it comes to tea. One of my favourite quotes comes from the jacket of Three Cups of Tea, which reads:

"Here, we drink three cups of tea to do business; the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything-even die."

In the culture of kinship, I must say I've not met and gotten to know as many amazing people as I have through this journey to find the perfect cup of tea. The insightful conversations, the sharing between the community, and the realisation that what I'm drinking was carefully cut from a bing by someone I have an immeasurable amount of respect for thousands of miles away from me. It's these repeat conversations that really make a great many of you feel like family. In this sense, it's just like sampling teas. You normally brew something a few times before you really start to have a meaningful conversation with it. That's been the flow of my life since day one: Attempt, fail, attempt, fail, and so on until one day you meet success.

One of the biggest struggles I've had over the course of my life has been with the foods I put into my body. As a child, I was a very picky eater. I would often pass on entire meals simply because they weren't chicken, beef, macaroni, or something pre-packaged and processed. When I was maybe ten years of age, my father actually put an entire meal into the blender and made me drink it because I wouldn't eat. I wasn't allowed to leave the table, or do anything else for that matter, until it was gone. Talk about tough love. Partially hydrogenated soybean oil, mono-disodium whatsiewhosit, polysorbate 60, and soylent green (which turns out, IS people). There's so much in our commercialised solution to the "lack of time" cuisine failures that I don't even know where to begin.

I came home from work today and changed out of my work clothes, and made it a point to head to the grocery store and fill an entire bag with raw foods and get out for less than $15 USD. In the past, grocery trips have cost me well over $130 USD for garbage. I made a point to make a sandwich before I left and tried as best as I could to listen to my body. Apples, oranges, baby leaf spinach, apricots, bananas, bell peppers. All of these things suddenly jumped out at me as vital. Food for the body and the soul.

The awareness of a mental shift in priority is astounding sometimes. One day you crave good food, but settle for garbage. The next day you crave good food, and make sure to give your body what it is asking for. The meal I had tonight was a fairly small portion, and yet, my hunger is absolutely satisfied.

I'm not sure if anyone else has this habit, but I will often start out doing a search for something I'm interested in learning more about, and then I'll just jump from link to link to link until I'm so far removed from my original search, I'm learning about something I had no way of anticipating. Anyhow, the other day I happened upon a book by a fellow named Jon Gabriel. I'm not really for or against diet routines, but the synopsis of his story was so ridiculous I couldn't help but scrutinise this guy's story. He was 410lbs, and now weighs less than I do (which is 195lbs, if you must ask), not by dieting, but simply by incorporating better food. He has a theory that the body tends to do what is safe for it. If you eat garbage, your metabolism slows down and the fat stays with you because your body is starving for nutrition. If you eat REAL food, your body desires to be lean as a means to survive against a potential predator.

I didn't need to get much further than that in the 200-some page book before I closed the PDF (digital books are amazing) and realised that it was time I started questioning my own eating habits. It's all about learning through conversations, with others, as well as with my own body and the things I am consuming.

As the kettle is brimming with boiling water, I can't help but to think of it as a sort of combustion engine. Fuel. The steam fuels the tea.

If tea fuels the soul, then healthy food fuels the body.

That's the thought I reflect on as I pour this next cup.

1 comment:

Brett said...

Awesome! this post made me happy! I wouldn't say I was a very picky eater but I did eat mostly junk. My mom was kind of into health food and tried her best, but I always turned to fast food and processed foods. I got sick a lot and never listened to my body... but then I started to learn about how mass market meat was produced and I chose to give it up. There were a few bumps (mainly that I didn't know how to cook!) But I learned and vegetarianism opened up my eyes to a huge world of wonderful healthy food and made me feel strong, healthy and clean. I know that it is not for everybody (99% of my friends and family are omnivores and I completely adore them all) but it worked for me and I have felt so good these last ten years. I love to hear from others who are listening to their bodies and feeding it what it needs: WHOLE FOODs!