Thai Yoga Concepts: Sustainable Eating and Sustainable Health: Part 3 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)
Food and eating strategies need to be based on non-violence
We are utterly and completely dependent on the viruses and the bacteria in the soil for our life. Somehow we lost that connection and so when we begin to experience them in our body, we think that they are foreign invaders and so we have to cut, kill and burn them. We think we have to destroy them so we do the same thing as when we apply pesticide to the soil outside, we kill them! Then the soil is no longer is able to sustain the biodiversity that life is dependent upon, monoculture prevails and diversity dies. Inevitably there is a dissolution of life and a cascading domino effect on other ecologies and eventually everybody draws the same picture: if we continue to create monoculture, the world is going to be unsuitable for human existence at a definite point in time. Everybody comes to the same conclusion. If we do the same inside of our body, guess what? We come to the same conclusion. We don’t need to kill the bacteria in our body, we don’t need to kill the viruses in our body; they have ALWAYS been with us. We need to learn how to be an ecosystem within our selves and we need to learn how to communicate. Non-violent communication, how about that? NVC applied to your body’s internal ecology. I am not trying to kill the bacteria in my body; I am negotiating an existence that is compatible, mutual, and supportive. That’s what my food strategies are about.
If it’s not right we fix it not kill it
People will say, “Well, what about infection?” Yeah? What about it? What do you do when the soil PH is not right? What do you do if you look at the soil and the mycology and bacterial structure of the soil is not right? Do you then kill it? What do you do? You AMEND it. You actually bring in plants and structure that out of their life cycle will create the balance that you want. Why? Because that is sustainable. If you dump chemicals on it, it will chemically give you a balance on a test and then you will have the imbalance that will be the consequence of the chemically induced state and it won’t be sustainable. The longer you do that to the soil and the longer you force it to produce, eventually it looks like desertification. You will kill it and reduce its ability to sustain life at the microbial level to a point to where it is no longer possible for life to be sustained. The soil will turn to sand and rock, no longer able to sustain life. We are going to end up doing the same thing to our selves because we don’t eat right and we don’t have productive eating strategies. We need to bring the same sustainable strategies to eating that we would to the soil, inner soil and outer soil, that’s what I’m saying.
Do you want to know how to get connected to the earth?
The easiest way in the world to re-establish and to revitalize your connection to the earth is to bring consciousness to what you eat. It’s so simple and you don’t have to get all big and spiritual about it. My late, adopted father Chief Floyd Real bird would have said it the same way. He would have said, “I don’t give a damn about ritual and external ceremony, the only thing mother earth cares about is how you live! Mother earth doesn’t care if you do a smudge, you light some sage or you whoop a pipe around in the air. Mother earth doesn’t care! Mother earth is all about how gentle you walk on her, how compatible you are with her other children and these kinds of things.” It is more important who you are than what you do. You want to get in touch with the planet, you want to get in touch with your roots, and you want to get in touch with your most fundamental spiritual essence? You want to get in touch with the source of life? Bring consciousness to your food. It’s the easiest way.
I am the laziest person that you’ve ever met in your whole life so I’m looking for the easiest way. What is the easiest way I can make all these universal connections? Cause’ I’m a lazy guy, right? So I’ve figured it out. The easiest way to handle all those things is to bring consciousness to what I eat! And guess what? Just by doing that not only do I get to live healthier and happier and be more functioning, but my family does too. Just by doing that alone, I lost 50 lbs in the last 2 years. I haven’t been on a diet for one minute. I eat like a freaking horse because I love to eat! I just brought consciousness to my food and my body. Soil harmonized. It equalized. It balanced. It looks like me 50 lbs lighter.
Get down on the food chain
Lets run through a couple of things. One, consider eating lower on the food chain. Ever hear the justification of “the little things eat the bigger things and then it goes on until we’re at the top of the food chain eating every damn thing else?” When you start thinking of sentient beings in the company of other sentient beings, that’s not going to work is it? It is not sustainable if we eat and or consume everything else. It’s not going to work! We need to eat a little bit lower down. On the food chain we are about where the herbivores are. Eating much above that doesn’t work and looks like were going to destroy the planet. We have that whole food chain thing wrong and we need to get down on the food chain. As a perma-culture person would say it, we need to get our hands dirty!
Get your hands dirty
What do you have to do if you want to know what is going on with the soil?
The finest, most sophisticated technological instrument ever created for agriculture is the finger! I think that’s why we have them. Some people say it’s for tools. Maybe if a tool is a hoe but that’s not the only reason we have fingers. We have fingers so we can point at each other and say “Hey! You aint’ doin’ the right thing!” We have fingers so we can put them in the dirt and know what’s happening. That’s how we make our connection, right? Want to develop superpowers? Spend more time with your fingers in the dirt. In yoga we call them Siddhas. You want to develop Siddhas? You want to become a Reishi yogi, a magnificent supernatural superman or woman? I’ll give you a secret- get your fingers dirty, get your hands dirty and it will change your life.
Change your definition of what is “edible”
Second, consider changing your definition of “edible.” I want to challenge what that means. One idea that I would recommend to you is to bring consciousness to your definition of the word edible because it may be enlightening and very helpful for you. In that context I have a corollary, and I want you to be crystal clear about this: “Substantially the same as food,” does NOT equal food. Whenever you see something that’s labeled, marked or promoted to you as “substantially equivalent to food,” that means it is not food. Food is food and anything that’s not food is something else!
Oil, tar and coal and their derivatives are not edible
Most likely the “substantially equivalent” is chemical and it actually a derivative of crude oil. 99% of “substantially the equivalent of food,” is a derivative of oil, and as a species we were never meant to consume oil or oil byproducts.
We evolved as a species over billions of years from plankton to human beings or if you take the creationist biblical perspective it has only been 6 or 7 thousand years. However you do it, the entire time we have been here, it is only in the last hundred years that we have been exposed to byproducts of carbon and oil because they were underground. There were a few sources of natural tars and natural oils but 99% of humanity didn’t have access to them. So biologically in our DNA we do not have the ability to metabolize crude oil in any form, derivative or solvent. Oil is one of the primary ecologic contributors that has contaminated our food supply. One of the biggest things we can do is be clear that “substantially the same as food,” does not equal food.
Edible should mean organic, fresh, whole, non-GMO food
If it is not organic we should automatically question whether or not it is adulterated and to what degree. We have to keep the idea in the back of our mind that there are no known safe levels for any chemical in the human body. It is not a true or scientific statement to say that the amount of contamination with XYZ chemical has been deemed to be safe for humans. Don’t take my word for it, research it yourself and you will find that scientifically speaking, there are no known safe levels of any chemical substance in the human body. If anybody says otherwise then they actually haven’t looked at the science.
Edible should mean the reduction of adulterated food consumption
Adulterated food includes foods that on the surface are advertised as “natural” or “real” but have been adulterated by the manufacturing process and include things such as trans fats, hydrogenated fats and oils, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, aspartame, etc. Though these foods are advertised and promoted as natural or as derivatives of natural substances, they are not! From a marketing standpoint all additives, chemicals and constituents that are derived from oil are technically derived from natural substance because oil is natural. All of them, which are coming from the parent, are equally harmful, including baby oil! Just because it says “baby” doesn’t mean that it is healthy for you. For example, baby oil contains Benzene. Benzene is considered to be one of the most deadly, dangerous, immune disrupters that man has made. Plutonium is the most dangerous, but Benzene completely, immediately and instantaneously disrupts your immune system. It’s in baby oil and chapstick!
Edible should be local
Weigh and measure what you eat based on how far it travels to get in your mouth. The further from you the origin of your food is the higher the carbon footprint. That means more oil in the air. Your carbon footprint is your contribution to environmental toxicity, contamination of water, support of the fossil fuel industry, oppression of native peoples due to deforestation, etc. All of this eventually comes back around to increase your own toxic exposure. That’s the way it works. I have my favorite foods that come from other countries.
For me, it has been a challenge to reduce the amount of food that comes from foreign countries. That includes herbs, spices, the kind of rice that I prefer, etc. It has been a real challenge and I’m still working on it. I’m not perfect at it, I’m transitional and it’s very hard when you have a beautiful kitchen like I have that is fully stocked with spices and 8 different kinds of rice and all kinds of stuff. It all represents an investment. See, mentally I have a problem tossing out everything in my closet that has a foreign origin because I can’t help but think of the economics of it. However, when I start to think about the economics of it, I start to be able to let it go a little better.
Continued in Thai Yoga Concepts: Sustainable Eating and Sustainable Health Part 4.
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Copyright© 2011, Dr. Anthony B. James DNM(P), ND(T), MD(AM), PhD, RAAP, SMOKH 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