Every once in a while I have to stop and think about how grateful I am that I was raised in a household that wasn’t guided solely by the medical community, and recent events have made me even more appreciative. I realize how fortunate I am that I do not have to adhere to the generally held beliefs and fears that prevail in today’s society about healthcare.
I suppose I see the world through a different ‘lens,’ and one that others find hard to see through because of their upbringing. A lens that advocates for clean, healthy eating and living, but other than that, assumes that the body will fix itself…or it will not. Sometimes, the best ‘remedy’ is to intelligently do nothing. Rest/sleep, water, fasting and sunshine can do a lot to promote health. And they don’t cost a thing.
Take the current stance on heart disease. There is so much conflicting information that merely serves to obscure the real root of the problem, which is faulty nutrition driven by a commercialized food chain. By following a basic, biologically sound diet – not one that is vegetarian, vegan, lo-fat, low-carb, low sodium, low cholesterol, or any other ‘restrictive’ program – one can achieve superior health. But that is hard for many to believe, and so they continue their proscribed regime and heap insult on top of injury, risking muscle and memory loss and diabetes in the process.
Yes, it would be difficult for many to give up their daily pastry with their morning coffee and have a piece of fruit instead, to substitute a gorgeous raw salad for a heavily processed meat sandwich for lunch, and spend a little more money for wild fish, or humanely raised beef and chicken with lightly steamed organic veggies for dinner…but it can be done! It’s the grains and sugars that wreck havoc on our bodies, not the pure foods we’ve eaten throughout history. Diseases that became prevalent in the 19th and 20th centuries did not mysteriously appear. In my opinion, and in agreement with much of the current research, this is due to an overabundance of breads, sugar and cereals in our diet. But to go against the grain and eat what doctors believe to be the offending substance in heart disease (fat/cholesterol) is to take a leap of faith and risk failure.
Yes, man did eat grain throughout most of recorded history – but only when other food was not available, and only to stay alive. We tend to forget this fact. In Biblical times, grain was store housed to guard against famine, and not necessarily to eat all day every day. Porridge was not a sweet concoction, nor was bread the type of fluffy whiteness we have today. Bread was used to stop the pain of real hunger, not an opiate to assuage a craving for ‘something.’ Cake was virtually non-existent, and sweets were made with honey and dried fruit, not sugar or corn syrup.
Man probably ate his fill from early spring, when tender shoots and buds appeared and fish began to run in the streams, until harvest time. He rested over the cold season and relied on foods he dried and stored, foraged for plants, nuts and seeds, and tubers such as sweet potatoes. He ate the cured meat he had prepared during the Autumn Blood Moon, and although it is a bane to many, the reason most of us are alive today is because our ancestors had an efficient fat storage system to get them through the lean times.
Even our own grandparents had to eat mostly what produce was in season. Although canned foods were available, most cooks preferred ‘putting up’ their own fruits and vegetables. Sundays were the big meat day, when families would gather to eat – not dozens of slices of roast beef, but one or two. In France, eggs are a staple for lunches and dinners – but did you know that eggs, too, have a season? Chickens don’t lay them until the lengthening days signal them to do so; this is the real story behind the Easter egg. These days, chickens are raised in artificial light to trick them into laying year round, but it is not natural for them to do so. Oh yes, they may have been used in ancient rituals as a symbol of fertility and rebirth, and later to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, but it was the first official day of the year that they could be enjoyed, usually after a period of fasting because the food had run out!
When we live in harmony with nature, we will find that our need for all things artificial fall away. Our taste buds miraculously change after a few weeks of doing without processed, sweet foods. When we listen to our bodies, we find that the headaches that we thought just ‘happened’ are predicated by eating something – perhaps potatoes, or wheat or chocolate. We find that our skin looks better, our joints move more easily, our breathing is less labored when we omit certain things – not because anyone tells us to, but because we know it to be true. We watch as long-suffered illnesses cease to hold us captive, and like Clara in the book, Heidi, we come to see that a natural life may provide the antidote to a lifetime of pills and potions.