Food to Complement Our Lifestyle
Wow, what an appropriate post! When Amanda stated last week that I’d discuss this, I know she had no idea that a bout of what we think was food poisoning would lay her up for a few days. This is why you did not see posts over the last two days. She’s far better now (and was actually “bouncy” at 1 AM this morning), but it was still a rough journey.
(Some of) The Wrong Stuff to Eat
Unfortunately, as you no doubt well know, what’s often tasty in today’s culture is also pretty hard on our bodies. Take, for example, the meal that sent Amanda’s body over the edge: A dense, creamy pasta dish preceded by bread and oil and creamy, cheesy soup. If you’re not fiercely lactose intolerant or vegan, sounds delicious, right? Well, if you are unsure of your lactose intolerance, or if you think you may have celiac disease (both of which may be true in Amanda’s case), this meal could spell intense discomfort and pain for days (and, scarily, could even prove fatal in rare instances).
As I understand it, though we’ve eaten these foods for thousands of years, our bodies are genetically new to digesting bread and milk. Obviously some people have an easier time than others, but in general these foods do not seem to provide the level and form of sustenance of other foods our bodies recognize from millions of years of development.
Where Does Meat Fit In?
It may sound strange to you, but it seems that bread and milk are actually stranger to our bodies than meat. Humans have also eaten meat for millions of years. Foraged meat, harvested from its natural habitat, appears to make sense to our bodies. Some cultures, considered among the healthiest in the world, subsist almost solely on meat (including insects, which have a vastly higher protein content than the meat we eat). However, these humans never ate meat fattened almost solely on corn, that has consumed a slurry of “food” that includes ground chunks of the same species (which is hazardous at best for herbivores), or that remains in constant confinement.
To our bodies, this is an odd new food that we don’t understand how to process.
We’re still learning and growing. As Amanda’s gastrointestinal challenge, or my occasional candy bars and love for cheese, demonstrate, we have a long way to go. But we’ve also come a long way. Here’s what we try to eat:
- Green Smoothies. Starting our day with blended greens (like kale, collards, etc.), fruit, and sometimes nuts is wonderfully energizing. And, if the source(s) I’ve read are correct, high speed blenders are capable of unlocking massive amounts of protein from within the cell walls of these greens. This = really good for us.
- Minimal bread and cheese. We feel best after our high protein vegan meals, like Red Lentil Curry on rice, Lentil Burgers, or Quinoa Chili. I won’t lie – I still love me some cheese and bread. But, as I listen more closely to my stomach meal by meal, it becomes easier to make this decision. They’ll probably never completely vanish from our diet, but they’ll be treats rather than staples.
- No meat. I personally make this decision for health, but more because of the reasons outlined above. “Modern” meat just isn’t real food, as far as I can tell. Alternatives are somewhat difficult to obtain. And meat is just generally expensive. I also enjoy the creativity of crafting meat-free dishes. For more info, check out Amanda’s reasons.
- Sitting for less than 2 hours at a time. And stretching all the time. This doesn’t involve food, but I’ve found that diet is not just about food; it’s a lifestyle. If I eat and then sit for a long time, the food thickens in me. If, after 30 minutes of digestion time, I move my body in diverse ways, the food digests cleanly and completely, granting me far greater energy.
Ultimately, food for us is not just fuel. It is life, rich and real, in edible form. True, it’s a lot of work to learn all of this new stuff and try out completely unfamiliar recipes. For us, it’s worth every moment.
Disclaimer: These ideas do not apply to starving or desperate situations. People caught in such circumstances must eat what they can when they can.
Some follow-up resources: