Sunday, April 5, 2009

Nurturing food and eating in an organic way has health benefits

The sages say that there are scents from childhood so strongly rooted in your soul that decades later a whiff of that aroma immediately takes you back ….. For me the most profound and provocative scent is that of "boiled food." In my internship at Ecology Action in California, we decided to cook our meals entirely without oils and sugars. We sprinkled seeds like sunflowers and groundnuts on vegetables and other dishes. This provided the variety to enjoy our simple grain fare.

There were no complaints--everyone enjoyed the wonderfully appealing lightness of food prepared this way. It seemed a magical, yet disciplined experience for me because, before I went there, I felt that sugar and oil were "must have" ingredients to make food palatable.

This experience taught me that you can prepare food without oil with a minimum of fuss and great taste. With soup it's even easier. Cooking doesn’t require a lot of fancy additives like oil and sugar. It only requires simple, appetizing ingredients.

The culinary customs of our great grandparents omitted unnecessary oil and sugar. This type of cooking prevents diseases like arteriosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke which are precipitated by high fat in blood. Planning ahead to a future of robust good health for young and old people, we have to return to this type of cooking. For example, a product such as margarine contains polyunsaturated vegetable oil made from a hydrogenation process which creates an immune-damaging synthetic fat that elevates blood cholesterol.

Sugars can be used in small amounts for “flavor” but in large amounts, lead to obesity, hypoglycemia, tooth decay, loose bones, male impotence, weakened mind, loss of memory and laziness. The sweetness of food doesn’t depend on the amount of oil or sugar you add; it depends on the way you nurture the food. Nurturing is the process by which all things develop, and food can become a force for healing and harmony.

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