Monday, August 15, 2011

Eastern wisdom about simple food

I have been reading the book, "The One-Straw Revolution," by Masanobu Fukuoka.   Although I highly recommend this little book, you do need to know it's primarily about natural gardening with some profound philosophy thrown in, rather than a book that's directly about health and nutrition.

When you mindfully grow the produce that you eat, your health and nutrition are bound to improve, so the book is totally relevant to what I have been writing in this blog.

Even more so, after reading Stephan Guyenet's brilliant writings about bland food, as opposed to the hyperpalatability of much that is available to us in the Western world.  "Bland" food sounds really boring, and most of us are conditioned to reject all that is boring in our lives.

Maybe a more appealing way of describing it is "simple" food.  When I read the following paragraph in Fukuoka's book, it really hit home to me:
When you no longer want to eat something tasty, you can taste the real flavor of whatever you are eating. It is easy to lay out the simple foods of a natural diet on the dining table, but those who can truly enjoy such a feast are few.
After you overcome the initial withdrawal from the sugars and starches that make food hyperpalatable, you find yourself appreciating the subtleties in the flavours of the other foods on your plate.  And you start noticing nuances that you never noticed before, even though the dishes are not highly spiced or otherwise enhanced.

But we are surrounded by messages all around us, urging us to look for more variety and more flavours all the time.  We may eat Italian today, Chinese tomorrow, and the day after, we might explore another nation's feast dishes.  No wonder there are relatively few people stepping back from the cornucopia of foods in restaurants and grocery stores and opting for a simpler, more mindful approach to eating.

To a large extent, I believe this minimalist approach is more a state of mind than an actual diet.  What I mean is that when your mind is ready to accept the premise of switching to a simpler way of eating that excludes sugars, it's not hard to follow through with it.

At least, that's how it worked for me.  I've now been eating this way for over a year.  Although I haven't stuck to this eating plan 100% faithfully, it has been close enough for me to know I will never go back to the old "balanced" diet that the "experts" recommend.  Our grocery list has become much simpler than before, and there is possibly more repetition in what we cook.  But the one thing I wouldn't call it is boring.

No comments:

Post a Comment