Today I went to yoga with my daughter. We always spend a part of our practice in meditative poses. They always bring a cleansing and freshness to my day. I also listened to interviews of prominent whole food activists from “The Food Revolution Summit" organized by John and Ocean Robbins. I have thought deeply about the things that were said and meditated about ways that I could include them into my life. This is a hopeful time as I realize that there are many sane voices in our country moving America toward healthier lifestyles. Much of the food movement focuses on abandoning our fast food habits, and growing and cooking sustainable, organic foods.
Historically, women were assigned the job of cooking and preparing meals in the home. But as women come into their power, they often shed this responsibility. The trouble is, the fast food industry takes up the slack. But McDonald's and Burger King don't provide much nutrition. They provide convenience. This is helpful in homes with two busy working parents. But the cost of this convenience is a national health crisis. Obesity rates are higher than ever before. America has some of the highest heart disease, diabetes, cancer and autoimmune disease rates in the world. All of these diseases are related to the Standard American Diet with its fast food, high salt and high sugar, and high animal protein.
There is a chaos of information in our world. So many voices call us from so many directions. There is a great need to come back to "home base" to gain perspective. The dining room table can be that "home base", a processing place for everything that we experience and learn.
Strangely, much of what we “know” today will be obsolete tomorrow. But good food is never obsolete. Home can be a place where good, healthy food can always be found mixed with loving relationships. Here we slow down and sift through the information of the day together. We need home to be unchanging and unaffected by the information and noise of the fast paced world. A home with a garden where you gently put seeds into the soil, pull out weeds, and harvest delicious fresh produce can be a symbol for a life well lived. A kitchen can be a place of deep meditation, as you slowly wash and chop and prepare food for eating. A dining room table can be a place where people build invincible bonds. There is no more powerful way to connect than with delicious food.
A kitchen can be a place of inspiration, and of intuition as you prepare foods that you grow. It can be a place of meditation and calm. Each afternoon I set out my vegetables and gently wash them. I take deep meditative breaths, and I begin to cut, slowly. I stay present with them. The vegetables weave themselves into a stir-fry, or a soup, or a wrap, or a curry. You can find millions of recipes online, but you never really have all of the ingredients. So you begin to play with what you've got. "Well, I don’t have basil, so I will use fresh mint. I don't eat creme, so I'll try coconut milk." Food intuition balances sweet, savory, sour, and bitter flavors. There is an indescribable sense of discovery with each dish. The vegetables become the teacher, and meals are prepared with passion and love.
Try cooking in this way. Then close your eyes, take a bite, and just breathe. Food shouldn’t be eaten on the run. It should be a meditation from start to finish. Vegetables and inner peace join hands in the home kitchen. As John Robbins' beautiful prayer goes: "May all be fed; May all be healed; May all be loved."