People everywhere are trying to clean up their diets, eat better, exercise more and generally take better care of themselves. The alternative of illness and disease is a strong motivating factor and so is the expense of poor health. But if you want to improve your diet where do you start? First, with the way you shop for or purchase food. Second, stop eating out or at least significantly reduce the times in a month when you do eat out. Processed meats and foods, sauces, salt and sugar are the inticements that chain restaurants use to addict you to harmful ingredients.
Many who begin walking the natural path of our ancestors envision a day when they can raise their own food and live that sustainable life. The truth is there is a space of time between now and then, that time in transition where you are realizing your vision. During that time we have to be able to begin to make changes so that we have the energy and vitality to grow stronger, healthier and more independant.
If you are fortunate you can find Farmer's Markets or local growers where you can buy fresh meat and produce but if not there are other choices you can make.
Let us start with the grocery store. Shop the perimeter of the store, that is where they keep the healthy food. The produce section, meat, dairy and eggs are all on the perimeter of the store. When choosing meat make sure you know something of the provider. There are natural farm raised chicken and then there is the poor chicken raised in tight quarters with poor diets and even hormones and antibiotics. The same goes for red meat and especially pork. Having lived in many rural communities I have seen pig farms where the pigs live and die in tiny pens that are not even large enough for them to turn around. They are overfed and given antibiotics to get them to market quickly. Every day these farms have trucks come that are loaded with dead carcusses of those animals that could not survive in those conditions and taken to the incinerator. Not a good life for a pig and not good food for your body. The feed lots that dot the country side of rural communities are loaded with cattle that are fattened the last six weeks before market. The same thing happens to them, they are overfed, given antibiotics and sometime hormones to make them market ready quickly. There is a distinct difference in the flavor of meat from a grass finished cow and one that goes through a feed lot. There is also a distinct benefit to your body. The same is true of chickens.
Rice, pasta, grains and breads should be purchased with simplicity in mind. If you can't read the words in the ingredients you should not put it in your body. If you buy tomato sauce, paste or other canned products, look for organic. These products have been carefully raised and packaged to minimize harm to your body. The best option for vegetables, aside from fresh is actually frozen vegetables and if you live a distance from the source of fresh produce, frozen is actually better! When vegetables are harvested, washed and then shippied they may spend several days from the farm to the warehouses. Then they spend time between the warehouse and the store and then they spend time waiting on the shelf. The produce loses it's food value of vitamins and minerals between the time of harvest and consumption. Producers that send vegetables to be frozen actually do it at the farm. The produce is harvested, washed, trimmed, frozen and packaged. The same is true of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and so on.
When you start on the sustainable path you have to have mental clarity, energy and strength to fulfill your vision, which means your body needs to be properly fueled. Next time we will discuss other options from decks gardens to food coops. Stay tuned!
In order to accomplish anything in this life whether it is sustainable living, building tribe, learning to walk a free and independent road, you have to begin....with yourself. In order to function well, think well, train well and survive, you have to feed yourself well.
First and foremost we have to begin thinking of food for what it is, fuel and medicine. For too long we have overindulged ourselves in all the fast foods and marketed products that were supposed to be delicious, simple and sustaining. They are none of that. Restaurants are on every corner and every kind of cuisine is available to tempt us and they do. I know of people who only eat at home a couple of meals a week and their health has suffered for it.
We also must navigate all the diets and health experts and mirriad warnings. The truth is we need to eat as our ancestors did. There are many who have found and believe that our bodies respond best when we eat diets that match our heritage. Whatever the case may be and whatever advise you choose to follow know this, our current health crisis in this nation is do to our sad American diet. We cannot hope to build any kind of future if we are not healthy and our children are not healthy.
Not only does a proper diet benefit us physically but mentally as well. Stress, anxiety, depression and the inability to focus can all be tied to diet. There is a video series that I recommend everyone watch called "The Broken Brain". While some of Dr. Mark Hyman's materials are solicitous the information contained in the video series is groundbreaking and informative. He teaches about the gut and brain connection, the impact of toxins on our health, how to heal our bodies and our immune systems and how to personalize our diets and understand our genetics.
Those of us of Northern European descent come from strong stock. There is some information published on what they ate and what they drank, meat, fruit, berries, tubors, mushrooms, nuts and let us not forget meade! We are also reminded that they didn't eat three meals a day every day of the week. There were times of feasting when the hunt was successful and then there was the times when food was more scarce. There is something to be said for intermittent fasting, it gives us an opportunity to clean the pipes, clean our blood and clear our head. Ritual fasting does even more but we will delve into that later. You can begin reading on Intermittent Fasting with this article.
The last thing I will mention on health is the importance of water. Plain old water. It is suspected that 70 - 80% of people are dehydrated. It is like trying to drive a car without oil....the engine will seize. It is true of our bodies as well. Water can fend off heart attacks, muscle cramps and injuries and helps to send waste and toxins through our system. Drink water.......all day long!!!
As with all things, we must return to our roots, to the foundation of who we are and what we are made of. Our strength and vitality begins first with a strong and healthy body and a healthy mind. If you have not done it already, begin evaluating the things you put into your body and begin to give it the proper fuel it needs to operate at optimum levels. You can get all kinds of diet advice from all kinds of resources but the best advice is to eat naturally. That will be our next article.
It has been my desire to start a blog for those of us who wish to live a more sustainable, natural and independent lifestyle. While I grew up with many heathen practices for herbal healing, gardening, natural products for the home and living a basic lifestyle, I have found that many of subsequent generations were not gifted with elders that gave them sound instruction for these things. Many of the younger generations do not even know how to shop for and prepare a meal from scratch. My intention is to provide information, links, recipes, instruction and insights in a very well organized manner so that everyone will have a strong resource page to find everything you need to create a heathen home.
I also want to speak about the Edda's share wisdoms from our ancestors and share wisdoms from other incredible resources that will help us all to navigate midgard and the nine worlds. The strong foundation of our ancestors is only the launching pad for the future of this tribal life. Many of us from older generations grew up listening to the stories of our grandparents and great grandparents, stories of the birth of this nation, the war between the states, the great depression and the dust bowl days, and they survived despite the odds. These tales were told by and about strong survivalists that "weathered the storms' and from these stories and practices we are gifted with the tools and tenacious attitudes that can once again make us strong and independent.
Although my grandmother passed on much information to me, I do not have all the answers and I don't have to. There are individuals, groups and organizations that devote themselves to specific areas of learning from gardening to holistic health, from environmental awareness to shopping. Living the simple. uncomplicated life while best utilizing your resources. We work hard for our money and these measures, this lifestyle will actually remove some of the pressure and put you back in touch with your roots and your heritage. Please join us for this journey and utilize the resources. Together we can rebuild strong tribes with a strong healthy foundation.