Thai Yoga Concepts: Sustainable Eating and Sustainable Health: Part 4 of 4
By Dr. Anthony B. James DM(P), ND, MD(AM), SMOKH
(Repost: Transcribed from a live talk at the Florida Sustainable Living and Perma-culture Conference, Plant City Florida, March 26, 2011)
Edible should also mean to buy local
Besides the lowered impact on the environment, another reason to buy local is to support your local community! We buy food from Peggy and Jeff at Eco-farm because they are our neighbors! That’s it, that’s the reason. We want to support them, they are up to good things, they are helping us to have a longer, healthier, happier life and by God, if I’m going to support anybody in the world, before I send 100 bucks to the American Red Cross, I’m going to send 100 bucks to Peggy and Jeff with my local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and buy some food with it. I need them and they need me and that’s why I do it. Buy local. Make it personal. If you don’t personally know someone that you can buy food from, you need to cure that by getting out and meeting somebody who grows food.
A clear conscience makes the food taste better!
These choices to bring consciousness to what and how we eat need to be personal and emotional. That is conscience, by the way, and we need conscience. Edible means to eat food with a clear conscience. To have a clear conscience about what you eat. What does conscience mean? I’ll give you my definition. Conscience is an emotional realization of the truth. So its very important for me to have a good conscience about what I eat and to emotionally know that I am doing the best that I can. If I don’t know that and I go ahead and I consume it anyways, then I am acquiescing to the possibility that the food may cause harm to me and to somebody else. That’s tough, I know.
Edible means to eat less meat. Research from many sources suggests minimum 95% plant-based nutrition and 5% animal products. That’s just science, its nothing personal. You want to live happier, healthier, longer lives? You want to support the soil on the inside and out? You want to support the ecology and reduce global warming? You want to have more support for democracy in the world? Eat less meat. And then, whatever meat you do eat, make sure that you’re supporting the local farmers, that it is organic, grass fed, free range, chemical free, antibiotic free, etc.
Don’t expect to change overnight! I use the 95/5 idea because it is unrealistic to expect everyone to become a vegetarian now. We have several thousand years of indoctrination into “eating meat equals prosperity” to overcome. We’re not going to be able to turn on a dime. You vegetarians and you vegans, get the freak off the backs of your meat-eating friends! Get off their backs, because what you resist, persists. The harder you push them, the harder they will hold on to those unproductive ways of eating. If you want people to change the way they eat then do it by example. Make the most nutritious, happy, fun-filled, exciting food that you can to share with them, so that they feel like it would be crazy not to eat your delicious food. That will make it easier.
95% Plant Based Diet
Edible means to prefer a plant-based diet. Aside from the morality question of cruelty to animals from factory production of animal based foods, animal food factories are the single largest users of antibiotics. 70% of all manufactured antibiotics go to animal food production. You need to know this especially if you are against the use of antibiotics and you think that the epidemic increase in antibiotic-resistant methicillin and staph bacteria is not a good thing. 70% of the antibiotics are not being used on human patients, but they are going to the cows that people eat. Then they go from their urine and their feces into the water supply. Then from aquifers into the water supplies of the hospitals where it is then recycled into the bodies of people with deficient immune systems, where they then become susceptible to antibiotic resistant bacteria. See? It’s the circle of life. Eat less meat. Prefer a plant-based diet.
Eat the widest variety of foods you can manage
Why? That’s the way foods naturally grow in the world, in a healthy ecosystem, and it is also the way they are supposed to come into our system, in great variety and in seasonal rotation. Every type of food offers a different nutrient profile and benefit towards helping you living a full healthy and happy life. Give every good thing in nature the possibility of sharing its life enhancing qualities with you. Variety and diversity strengthen your immune system and make your taste buds happy. There is research that suggest that rotating your foods and diet can reduce allergies and may even be part of a productive strategy for mental and emotional health. Ortho-molecular Medicine and research specializes in this field. Try more. Try everything!
For everyone sake grow something!
Grow a good perma-culture based garden in a little square foot of land- you should be able to grow 6, 8 or 10 different kinds of plants. If you don’t have that little plot then invest in a pot of some kind and put an edible plant, vegetable, herb, or flower in it. Practice becoming a more conscious person by nurturing and caring for it until it matures and then eat it! Everyone can and should grow something. No reason why not!
I’m serious, grow something to eat!
ANYTHING! Everybody here should be growing one food item. Grow anything! Grow a chive! I mean come on, grow something. Anybody can grow a Chia pet. You can eat them! It’s about elevating your consciousness and bringing energy, attention, consciousness, breath and pressure to changing your environment. GROW SOMETHING.
Perma-culture experience in Thailand
Go to Thailand, you’ll see farms that if you’re not paying attention you would never know it was a farm because it looks like an overgrown jungle. You say, “What do you mean, this is a farm?” And they say, “This is a multi-generational farm! We’ve been farming here for years.” You say, “But we’re on a trail in the jungle!” And they say, “No, no, you’re on a trail through the farm!” You look around saying, “What farm? What are you talking about?” The guy reaches out and plucks a leaf off a bush and says, ‘”Put this in your mouth.” You take a bite of it- its green tea! “Whoa! Oh! There are tea plants here!” He says, “No, there are ten thousand! This is a tea plantation.” This all happened to me and I thought I was in a jungle. I said “Well, what is all this other weeds and under-growth around the base here?” He says, “Oh, that’s edible morning glories, and these are coffee.” Did you know coffee and tea grow together? They can! You don’t have to mono-culture either coffee or tea! I said “Oh, well what is this kind of viny thing here that looks like it’s choking the life out of these plants?” “Oh,” he says, “that’s edible morning glory.” Turns out to be one of my most favorite edible green foods on the whole planet.
Reasonable eating means seasonal eating
Edible means to eat seasonally for your region of the country. A billion years of survival data in our DNA tells us that the most appropriate foods for us to eat at any given time are the foods that are ripe and ready for harvest right this moment. That’s what we are supposed to be eating right now. If you don’t know what that is, well that shows the measure of separation from the environment that you are currently suffering. The proper treatment is education and experience!
Stick out your nose, open up the window, look outside, talk to a friend and say, “Hey! It’s the end of March, what is in season? What foods are in season in my geographic area?” Seek them out as your primary foods. It will change! The foods you eat are supposed to rotate, just like in nature. The soil isn’t always the same. The variety that you see in the natural ecology in December is not the same as you see in March. There will still be an equally great diversity but it will just be different. “Same same but different” as the Thai’s say “Munkan mai munkan.”
Edible should mean- eat only foods that you know you’re not allergic to!
Stop eating that which inflames you! I’d bet that everyone in this room knows or suspects something that they eat that they are allergic to. When you eat foods that are allergens, they cause a histamine reaction in your brain. This triggers an inflammatory response in your tissue, which triggers edema. Inflammation and edema are the hotbeds of disease. So one of the ways to prevent disease through your eating habits is to stop eating the foods that you already know you’re allergic to. That means stop eating any food that when you eat it regularly it makes you feel bad. It’s really easy, but we’re so out of touch with our inner ecology that we don’t know this.
Consider your overall attitude towards eating new food in general, if it has a label, READ IT.
Don’t buy it until you actually read the label. You will be surprised how many times you will put something back that you were 99% sure you were going to buy after you read the label.
Don’t waste food- compost food waste
Composting is one of the very best ways to justify our existence on this planet. It’s one of the proven simple technologies that actually feeds the earth. As a practice it runs contrary to the trends overwhelming the eco-systems and environment with harmful waste. Composting keep the useful biomass out of the land fill and on the soil where it belongs. Keep in mind that “circle of life” thing. Using your own compost to enhance the soil of your garden, or your friends garden will help insure more vital and amazing foods. These foods have more minerals and bio-available nutrients and healthy bacteria. Composting supports the process of these foods becoming our essential medicines. Everyone should compost.
Make the best possible food choices according to your understanding
Before shopping, make a list- if it is not on your list it is probably not edible. Involve your family, friends, church, social network or group in a food project, or join one. Edible should be part of that.
Make your food beyond interesting and nutritious
We have to be ninja. I’m a ninja for food! You want to know I am a healthy food ninja? How I went from a raging carnivore to a plant based diet? Know how I do it? Julie and I, we craft in the secret dark recesses of our attic with our candles and our sigils on the floor and our sacred tomes of secret knowledge (I mean favorite recipe books) and we flip the pages and we recite the ancient magic incantations of holistic, organic, local, fresh, seasonal ingredients and we put them (boil, boil, toil and trouble) into our cauldron (our safe crokery) and we put our own energy and our own sacred essence in to that boiling cauldron of magic elixir and we call it to allurement, we call it to glamor, and healing affirmation and we call it to create life and we call it to manifest our vision for the world as we see the swirl of the world inside that pot and then we serve that on the table and its an irresistible force. People are drawn to it, “OOOOHHH! What is that?” And Julie goes, “Dinner!” Then they eat and they are like, “oh, uh, um, how?” You can see it, the trying to adjust, trying to adapt, trying to encapsulate the idea that the tastiest thing that’s ever crossed this inner and outer brain barrier, has no meat! And it’s tasty! And it’s medicine! Then they start to make these little adjustments. “Hey, do you have a recipe? What are the ingredients? Is it hard to make?” “Nah,” we say, “you just throw some healthy ingredients, veggies, herbs, grains, herbs, minerals in a bowl and stir it up! It’s easy!” And then they start to do it and next thing you know, you’ve saved a soul, you’ve got another person who is going to live a longer, healthier, happier life.
Thai Yoga Concepts:Sustainable Eating and Sustainable Health Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
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Copyright© 2011, Dr. Anthony B. James All rights reserved under International and Pan American copyright conventions. World rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Inquires should be addressed to: Dr. Anthony B. James, 5401 Saving Grace Ln. Brooksville, FL 34602 · http://www.ThaiYogaCenter.Com