Life perpetuates itself in cycles: what we put into the earth– whether it be nutrients, water, energy, or toxins– goes into the animals and plants that feed upon it, which then goes into us, and then back into the earth. Whether we like it or not, we are part of a much larger living, breathing ecological organism, and the health of its parts depend upon the health of the whole.
We are living in an era of information explosion, and merely sorting through food choices can be overwhelming. Organic or conventional, pastured or factory farmed, genetically-modified or not, local or imported, natural or industrialized? Where to begin? Here are a few simple, time-tested guiding principles to help you get started:
- Eat real food— put into your body that which you can readily identify as coming from a plant, animal, or Mother Nature; and those which are farmed with old-fashioned methods (pesticide-free, composted fertilizers, pastured animals)
- Eat locally and seasonally, as much as possible– this allows for (1) the freshest, best-tasting foods, (2) increased variety of foods, (3) decreased environmental impact from packaging and shipping
- Eat what your ancestors ate and cook as they cooked— your genes have co-evolved with these traditional foods over the ages, and traditionally prepared meals can improve nutrition and digestibility
- Listen to your body— different people respond very differently to different foods and diets, so take some time to figure out what your own body thrives on
- Eat communally— eating is meant to be a pleasurable, slow ritual that cultivates community and connectedness
Eating is an act so fundamental to our being. We must guard its sacredness and reclaim its essential role in our vitality.
For additional guidance, Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual and Dr. Catherine Shanahan’s Food Rules: A Doctor’s Guide to Healthy Eating are great resources. See also, Recommended Reading.