In the piece on Body, Feelings, Mind, Thoughts, Beliefs I suggested that your body is your best friend because if you are considerate and take care of it, then it will serve you well through your life. If you abuse it, then it will rebel at some stages and cause you grief and pain. There are many ways of taking care of your body, and food is one of the most enjoyable at times and also most puzzling issues we have in our lives.
There was a time when it was said that ‘you are what you eat’. I never really understood what that meant except to say that if you ate well with your health in mind, then you might be healthy or if not you might be unhealthy and even that doesn’t seem to always be true. We can all think of examples of people who spend a lot of time and energy perfecting what they eat who are still not very healthy or those who eat anything who seem invincible. Knowing what kinds of foods suit you can be tricky because the human body has many requirements and sensitivities. So the first task about foods to nourish us is to find what really does work for us and that is usually very much a trial and error project.
When attempting to heal ourselves of anything or to provide good quality food for ourselves or our families, it is often useful to look back in history at times when humanity was healthier. During war time, when food was restricted and sugar and processed foods were less available, then it would seem that there was a great degree of health in the population. Also it seems apparent that different cultures often had one or several grains as the basis for their culture. When we think of the Far or Middle East, it would seem to be rice, and when we think of the Americas, corn and wheat seem to be the staples. In Europe and the UK, it was oats and wheat. Now there is a lot of publicity about the use of whole grain or wholemeal foods, so brown rice, millet, buckwheat, wheat, corn, barley and oats can be used.
Further, beans and fresh vegetables and fruits are important parts of our diets. Dairy foods work well for some people and for those who are intolerant of dairy, there are many non dairy milks now available as well as non dairy cheeses. Some people are sensitive to the gluten in wheat. There are many other food sensitivities which is why it is up to each of us to find out what foods work for us.
There is no doubt that finding the right foods can make an enormous difference in health. Think of what might happen if you chose to avoid red meat, refined sugar, white flour products or alcohol for a month. What might happen to your body weight and to your feeling of well-being? One way to discover what foods work for you is to remove one at a time from your diet for awhile and then re-introduce it at another time.
Finding what works for you in the way of food also requires knowing how to prepare it or cook it.
When you face incorporating a new food into your diet you have to also learn how to prepare it in a way that appeals to your taste or you have to spend awhile just eating it and making it an act of will to include it even if you don’t at first like it that much. You will have to experiment to see what helps you to feel better.
There is also an issue about vitamin and mineral supplements because it would appear that our foods are not as nourishing as they once were for so many reasons. This is not an easy subject either because there is much to learn, but your long term health for your life while on this planet is at stake, so there is a lot to consider.
I first explored food as a means of healing myself of the after effects of a life threatening illness I had as a young person and that took me a long way but it wasn’t the only answer. It was also a matter of therapy to deal with childhood that took me even further than incorporating a better diet into my life. Food can be a most enjoyable part of your life if you are able to make your needs into your wants.
You may notice the illustration connected with this blog which is a lovely bowl of Miso soup. It is a wonderful food that I would never have discovered if I hadn’t researched health and healing through diet. Miso is a protein rich soybean paste sometimes combined with a variety of grains which is fermented to make a tasty kind of a paste that can be used in soups, salad dressings and to season many different foods.
It is a traditional seasoning food in Japanese diets. It is good for digestion, rich in enzymes containing beneficial bacteria, soothing the stomach, helping the absorption and assimilation of nutrients and it is rich in vitamins and minerals.
There are many different varieties of Miso each yielding subtly different flavours. It would appear that a very popular way of using it is to add it to soups to give a delicious flavour and many health benefits.
It is not cooked with the soup but added to the soup to taste before serving in order to preserve the enzymes and beneficial bacteria.
Miso can be found often in health food stores or Asian markets. If you make sure that you get organic Miso made in the traditional way, then you have a truly health giving food. It has been seen to lower blood pressure and provide many health benefits. You can research it and find out more. It is certainly a valuable food to use regularly.