I woke up this morning, 4AM to be exact, with the lyrics from an old, a very old, Buffalo Springfield song playing in my head: “There’s something happening here/What it is ain’t exactly clear…” I don’t take a thing like this lightly. I mean, I can’t recall when I last heard that song…1980, 1985? I was what, a kid, at least by some standards anyway:) Yet this refrain kept repeating like a loop, like a demonstrative mother insisting I sit up, take pause and consider its implications. So I did just that…
The ah-hah moment came on like butta, creamy grass-fed, local, pastured, unpasteurized, (which interestingly enough is not recognized by my spell-check but then, neither is “butta”) butta, but I’m skipping ahead. That is to say, it came to me lickity split because really, there is something happening “here” and by “here”, I mean on our good earth. There is a rumbling, a movement, dare I say, a revolution but that word, for me, always brings with it uncomfortable baggage; I don’t look good in camo, I’m not a coup d’état kinda gal, I can’t even handle crowds at a mall opening on a Saturday night.
The definition for revolution according to wordnetweb: “A drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving”, (and don’t get me started with what the thesaurus has to say) shares some principles with but not the properties of this “something”. It’s the word drastic that throws me. It’s also the long history connected to revolutions trailing the scent of upheaval, messy takeovers, and unhappy civilians. No, this is not that kind of revolution. There is not a violent revolt, not in the way of the 60’s and 70’s, for which the aforementioned Springfield song foretells.
Okay, to be fair, there have been guns and arrests and protestors…but I’ll get to that later. For now, I want to focus on the other side of this, or as the great Canadian poet, Leonard Cohen puts it, there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. I’m seeing the guns and raids (to be discussed later) as the crack. Let us focus on the light.
Because there is something inherently shiny and clarifying, far more attractive in its proactive stance as opposed to the reactionary incitements associated with most revolutions, far more relevant to how things are done in this info-savvy, techno-centric age. And really it makes me want to sing in joyous rapture for the gift that is these venues bringing forth this “something” in such an immediate and enticing way. I’m talking about the engrossing articles in Harpers, the New York Times and the Boston Globe to name a few prestigious rags available electronically, as well, the numerous—read plethora—of blog, Twitter, Utube and Facebook accounts all singing this “something” in unique and entertaining formats. More and more, people seem to be quietly, and not so quietly, doing their own version of this something, the yummy naked chef, Jamie Oliver, the culinary pioneer, Alice Waters, The first lady, Michelle Obama, a group of crazy kids smack in the heartland, Kansas. Even my girlfriend is implementing a program in her local schools in Santa Cruz, CA on the topic. And what I notice, aside from the articulate, vibrant, attractive people of varying walks-of-life, age and citizenship whom offer pithy, empathic and sometimes heart-rending tales of how they got from where they were to where they are all in the name of this “something” is that there seems to be a shared magnetic gleam in their eyes, a knowing that teases; “come and get yours too if you want it”. No, this movement, this “something” is not so much as a revolution (we’ve done that, been there) but instead, it’s a reclamation…yes, that’s the word.
But what? What was lost that needs reclaiming and why and by whom?
Funny how sometimes it’s the very thing right under our noses that seems to slip away from us. And by this, I mean, right under our noses and in our mouths or on the plate before us or on our dinner table or even in our cupboard. If you haven’t pieced it together yet—and I have faith given the portals that got you here, you have–I’m talkin’ bout our food.
Which conjures another revolution song, this time Tracy Chapmans’ Talkin’ bout A Revolution that is actually more apropos then Springfeild’s in her choice of the word, whisper because really this reclamation may well be only a whisper on the horizon of the larger picture of the business of food. But that again is the sign of a crack or, as Gil-Scott Heron so aptly sang in his song, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, (and I promise this is the last revolution song I will reference but there’s no good reclamation song coming to mind): This revolution (read: reclamation) will be live.
I don’t think it’s exactly what Heron meant by the word live but what I mean by it is live food, actual nutrient dense, life-giving food that fortifies our bodies and replenishes our cells, that staves off infection, dis-ease and deterioration, that wakes us up to the idea that decay is not the natural process of aging but instead a manufactured response to eating dead or fractured foods over the course of a lifetime in quest of sustenance. This is the stuff of nature, the stuff “nature intended” and it’s what I’ve been called to explore for most of my life and more and more in recent years, especially since becoming a mother. I’m talking raw, un-man-tampered, organic, whole, enzymatically intact food. I’m hearing a swell of operatic chorus here, do you?
Okay, I answered, cursory as it were, the “what” of my hypothesis and before I get to the why, I want to spend sometime on the “what”, because the “what” is where the juice is, it’s where the light really shines, it’s where the manna springs forth from, well, because the “what” is the manna. And while the “why” may play a role in uncovering the ways of getting to the “what” the “what” in and of itself is a delicious celebration. It’s an abundant and ever-replenishing bounty that’s truly available to all, should we decide to “come and get ours”. And please, naysayers who challenge this in the name of over- population, food shortage or prohibiting costs trust I will address these common concerns in time.
The “what” excites me. It brings me alive. It simultaneously stimulates my mind and salivary glands. It makes me hungry for more yet gives me the ultimate satisfaction from focusing on that which resonates with my deep-seated core knowing. I can literally hear my cells rising in song, again singing in that operatic chorus, when I focus, and more importantly eat the “what”. But this may be because I am high off the freshly excavated organic raw coconut water I just downed!
In all seriousness though, I am not dramatizing. I find myself discussing the “what” at dinner parties and playgrounds, on lazy Sunday mornings at brunches in the homes of well-intentioned friends who either tolerate my enthusiasm for this topic or roll their eyes and look for an excuse to wash the dishes. It’s caused heated debates in my marriage and garnered me more than a few nicknames by dear ones who try to embrace their quirky, exuberant friend that just has a thing, an almost obsessive-like thing for the topic of live or real food, or to be more exacting and to borrow a phrase, ‘the right to eat real food’. And I couldn’t have said it better and would add, the right to know what it is you’re eating and what constitutes “real” as opposed to not so real, relative to food. So I just can’t leave it as “live food” and go on to the “why”, not yet anyway because for me, the “what” is like the NOW of trendy new-age speak, the “what” is where the big Kahuna be.
Unlike many of the blogs and articles on the topic of “live food” I did not have a big turning point or cataclysmic transformation. I am not a cancer survivor nor have I lost 200 pounds by which to illustrate the impact eating this way has had on my family and me. No, rather, mine has been a quiet reclamation, a slowly building and recently accelerated journey into the light of health, vitality, well-being and alignment with the values that best suit me. In this way, I will speak to the inevitable political aspects and education both of the macro- and micro-politics I’ve become aware of in making the choice to exercise my right to eat real as well as getting real about what I eat and the many gifts this has brought me and my family.
I confess in the past I’ve had bouts of fanaticism about the purity of the food I eat (my husband might say, “crazy fanaticism”). I’ve felt venom for big agro and have been fear-based regarding certain companies that remain entrenched in the global politics of food. However, ultimately, I’ve come to understand that this kind of imbalance is as much a contributor to poor health as complete nutritional neglect and that pushing against what is not wanted only fuels the flame to that end. And so I’ve looked to empowerment to funnel my fervor; I’ve been known to do my share as a food activist, participating in no-gmo campaigns, even calling my favorite food producers to question the source of their ingredients or encourage them to choose organic. What’s more, I’ve come to value my state-of-mind when eating, as much as I do the contents of my food. I’ve learned to listen to my body for directive to what I need, always with an eye to the quality of life it offers. In essence, I’ve lightened up while I lightened up and this might translate to less than a “real food” experience if it means dining with my friends in a pleasing environment. But listening to my body and aligning with good feelings about what I eat and my body’s abilities to use foods in amazing ways also means I remain open and alert as my cellular channels of communication become clearer.
I am surprised to learn what my body truly desires, (as in really calls forth with an aim to optimal functioning rather than, as in, a donut with extra jimmies). It is not always what I expect and is always evolving. My body, our bodies are constantly communicating. I have found the body is a highly intelligent mechanism and I’ve come to cherish self-advocacy and to take proactive responsibility for my diet, to really understand what I am eating and why. As well, I respect the integrity of the self and realize what is right for me is not necessarily right for another. I understand we do not all respond equally to the same foods and so I get it that my friend who has no objection to French fries will get more from it than I will with my many objections to its very concept. This is in part my unique orientation as well as the lifeline that has helped me understand purity is not the objective rather balance is what I seek.
Yet, though we may not all share the same metabolism, what we do share is an inalienable right to choose for ourselves and I feel strongly that those choices should not be limited by factors outside the common desire for health and wellbeing. But without the knowledge, without the options, without the resources to information necessary to making an informed decision, the ability to decipher what your body really needs is compromised.
You should know, in this blog, I will not attempt to scare you about choices you have made or choices being made for you nor do I desire to guilt-trip you into making choices other than you are currently making. Rather I hope to uplift you with the reminder that we live in phenomenal times where people are coming to value food and health in a way I’ve never seen before—rising from having lost something we once did not even consider a win/lose venture to consciously reclaiming it and in this way, widening our awareness of the body/food connection.
I love the empowerment I get from making informed choices at the market, in the restaurant and in the voting booth and I look forward to shedding light on the “truth” behind the labels and the lobbyists who help to create them with an aim to inspire you to reclaim your right to eat real food.
And so, dear reader, I look forward to sharing my journey from there to here with you, my passion for this topic: essential, ‘home and hearth’ bearing, all.
Next week: The Whole Enchilada or How I Found Myself Standing Empty-Handed In The Middle Of A Ralphs.
Teaser: Good sign, new song is playing in my head this morning: “Food glorious food” written by Lionel Bart. Remember these lyrics from the musical, Oliver: Is it worth the waiting for? If we live ’til eighty four. All we ever get is gru…el! Ev’ry day we say our prayer –Will they change the bill of fare?Still we get the same old gru…el!
Future blog idea titles:
*Other possible up and coming blog entry titles:
- Okay, I admit it, vanity had more than a little to do with it.
- My pediatrician isn’t making money off us and it’s partly his fault
- No I’m not hyperactive I’m alive!
- Is that a banana in your pocket or…
- Crunchy versus Couture, the chic of being a real foodie
- Alchemical machines, our ability to metabolize chemicals and finding ones’ balance
- I’m no doctor I’m just saying…
- To not eat the donut isn’t even a conversation anymore
- I couldn’t eat another egg
- “Mommy, what’s McDonalds?”
- Your kids eat what?
- I may not live to 190 but I’m gonna die trying
- You do realize doctors have a 100% fatality rate in their patients, let’s get over it!
- Meet James, my dealer
- My pharmacist is DWP