Relationship with food and our wellbeing

Kefir in a bottle

Four or five of us gathered around some chocolates. The chocolate clear of labels. We had no idea what brand, what flavour. The facilitator led us to “taste” the chocolates at a distance – meaning we didn’t ingest, but we connected to the energy of the chocolate. 

For the first piece – we first all connected to the chocolate to feel how it felt in our body as if we have eaten it. Some said they felt it was very sticky in the throat or in the digestion.

Surprisingly, although none of us were trained to “taste” this way, for each chocolate, we had sensations – sensing that this piece was more prickly in the throat, and that more heavy in the digestion.

The experience was eye-opening because how often do we sense the food we eat as suppose to just seeing how it looks?

When we buy fresh produce

Since that chocolate tasting, I was more conscious when I go grocery shopping. I look and sense the freshness and aliveness of the fruit or vegetables. 

Sometimes at the wet markets you might see leafy vegetables that look pretty perfect. Very green, very sturdy. But they look a bit shell-shocked – a bit like zombies – frozen. Not surprisingly, these veg would sit in the fridge and not wilt forever. 

A favorite vegetable of mine is the Shanghai Bok Choy. The outermost leaf would normally starts to yellow on the second or third day in the fridge. A bag I bought recently had no signs of deterioration – it could have been very fresh, but I suspect it had a lot of chemicals that kept it “frozen in time.” The veg had form, but lacked the tenderness and sweetness of its happily grown kind. (I must have bought that bag with my mind instead of my heart that time!)

What does it mean when food is alive?

Although I lived on an organic farm for a few months and helped harvest vegetables, feed chickens, manage the compost pit where there was a lot of life. Life in the soil: worms and bugs live, organisms in the compost pit that feed on the compost and helps break it down. However it was my neighbour who really showed me another level of aliveness in her farm.

She transformed her rooftop into a working vegetable garden that feeds her family. She showed me okra, tomatoes, and gourd that if you leave on the vine to dry becomes loofah! (Yes, loofah comes from a gourd!)

What was really interesting was that being a garden of life, there were many organisms that also loved her vegetable plants. The worms especially loved her baby tomatoes, which her two young children also loved.

What she did was she began talking to the worms that lived with the plants and asked if they might go elsewhere to find food as she would like to keep the tomatoes for her children. And sure enough, the worms listened and moved on! The funny thing was, they moved over to the plants across the roof and munched on those tomato plants instead!! 

Whenever I share this story with my friends, they listen intently and seem absorbing the idea that these worms – they are worms for goodness sake! Could worms understand what we say!?

Taste the different: Food that is alive

This neighbor “grew” kefir also. She learnt it from a teacher who recommended high quality water for the kefir so she got glass bottled mineral water. She’s careful about what she feeds them too! Not just what she feeds herself and her family.

I’m no expert with kefir, but when she showed me the bottle, they look so happy! Like happy babies! 

She let me try some coconut kefir she made, which is a mix of fresh coconut pulp with kefir that lived and grew in the fresh coconut juice. OH-M-G. It was so tasty. So fresh. Just so alive! A total gift from the earth. I would have that over any fancy plated cooking any day.

It turns out my neighbor had a way of growing her kefir, she asks them to grow healthy and strong – each day she talks to them like a child. And in fact, they are alive and growing and obviously responding to her communication.

Kefir respond to how we talk to them, just like babies 🙂

How do you talk to your kefir or your babies?

What emperors of imperial China ate

The “imperial food therapist” at the court was considered more important that the imperial doctor. Yes, the nutritionist had more importance that the doctor. That really says something about the ancients’ understanding of food and its energetic properties for the body. The concept of food therapy is still very much in the everyday life amongst Chinese. We make soups and brews with herbs and fruit according to the seasons.

The understand that food nutrition is more important than medicine shows that how we feed our body through the food we eat every day is very important to the wellbeing of the body. Over time eating food by nature, from nature that absorbs sunlight, we build our body with the energy from earth and nature. Medicine has its place – for short term solutions. Food from nature is what energises the body in the long term.

COVID and Congee

My brother’s flat mate got COVID earlier this summer. Luckily she recovered. During the recovery however it was quite worrying. My brother had the upper floor in a shared apartment in New York and the flatmate who was sick was on the lower floor. She kept herself in her room to minimise contact with anyone and my brother made food for her and left it by her door. My brother made congee, which is rice porridge. It’s a comfort food that the Chinese ate often for breakfast before the days of instant noodles or pancakes. My favorite is congee with fish and lots of ginger and scallions. 

The flatmate made progress and she began to feel better. Until a week or so in, it kind of deteriorated. Oh shit, what’s going on.

My brother “fessed up.”

The flatmate made herself some microwave TV dinner meal thinking she’s already better. HA! “You better make sure she eats just congee until she has totally recovered!” I said. I believe she learnt her lesson. TV dinners fill you up, but what’s the energy in the food? Congee done well is simple, but exactly what the body needs to get some nourishment and liquids.

Moroccans and rice

On an amazing trip in Morocco some years ago, towards the end of the two-week trip, the four of us jumped at any opportunity there was to eat rice. On an overnight camp in the Sahara desert, the nomads that took care of us gave us an option: do we want bread or rice and the four of us roared, “RICE!” They chuckled.

To Moroccans rice is for sick people, they eat it only when they’re sick. Interesting eh? The desert people seem to understand that rice is easily processed by the body.

Traditional Chinese Medicinal doctors typically recommend eating white rice in the morning – for the Qi from the rice.

I guess the Japanese has it sorted – Rice for breakfast and the freshest ingredients eaten according to the seasons.

Food and healing – to be continued. Meanwhile,

What’s your relationship with food?

Start to notice how your body responds to food. Notice how you feel drinking certain drinks or consuming certain foods.

Feel free to leave a comment.