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It’s officially summer, and that means bountiful fresh food and craft at your local farmer’s markets.
To me, farmer’s markets are like treasure chests filled with jewels and nuggets in the form of precious vegetables, fruits, handmade breads, baked goods, cheeses, pickles, honeys, maple syrups, preserves, pestos, and everything else that is well and good in the world.
Even more precious is the fact that most purveyors literally grew or made their products themselves. You can talk to the person who grew their food, and understand how they feel about their work.
It’s pretty much guaranteed that this person loves what they are doing, and you can’t say that about a lot of the food you buy at regular grocery stores that’s “cooked” and processed by machines. Do machines care about you? Nope. They don’t.
It makes a difference.
We Are Not Machines
It makes a difference how our food is grown, and the energy attached to it, because you and I are particles of the earth.
We are made of the same stuff as the food, and the energy in the food we eat literally becomes a part of us. You’d heard it a million times, but it’s true that “you are what you eat.”
It’s no wonder that modern medicine views the human body as a complex machine that can be targeted and adjusted to solve health issues. People are eating machine food, and thinking like machines!
This is not right. We are human beings with divine origin, and so is the earth. The earth is given to us and provides our every need.
The earth is not a machine to be manipulated and controlled with artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that target and destroy plants, insects, and microbial life en masse in favor of the cash crop.
We must remember that the earth doesn’t need us. She thrives on her own, and regenerates with, or without our help.
Just look at a forest.
Have you noticed the rich soil on the forest floor that is produced by the action of microbial decomposition of matter?
Notice the intelligence of nature, whereby different plant grow in perfect spots to capture the sun and moisture they need.
Nature’s design is intricate and perfect. Then humans come along, and multiply … and now we need to grow food. How to do it?
Ecological Vs. Modern Farming
I empathize with farmers. It isn’t easy at all to grow food. No matter how beautiful an organic farm may be, compared to a forest, all agriculture is contrived and unnatural.
Organic, ecological, biodynamic, and conscious farmers recognize this, and choose to work with the earth in ways that support the entire ecosystem. They seek to maximize nature’s intelligence in their approach.
Comparison of ecological versus modern farming:
- Diversity vs. monocropping
- Companion planting vs. monocropping
- Hand tools vs. machines
- Innovative weed control vs. herbicides
- Minerals and soil amendment to strengthen plant health vs. pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides
- Human labor vs. machine labor
- Crop covers vs. artificial fertilizer
- Nurturing rich soils to retain water vs. excessive irrigation
- Growing crops where they naturally grow vs. forcing unnatural growth
- Smaller farms that act as an ecosystem vs. mega farms that produce toxic waste as byproducts
What Energy Are You Eating?
As you might imagine, food produced using this modern approach contains the energy of extracting profit from the earth, raping the earth, and ignorance of the earth’s intelligence.
Many enlightened doctors are saying that eating food like this is making us sick. In their terms, they will speak about artificial sugars, refined oils, genetic engineering, pesticide residue, hormones in meat and dairy, and so on.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, we would simplify this.
We would say that this modern food is not separate from your body. You, and it, are made of the exact same five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space.
These five elements, which you cannot see, are actually energy. Same as you. At a microscopic level, you are not solid at all. You are simply an arrangement of matter that looks like this. Everything energy.
If you are sensitive, you can feel the energy in your food. If you are not sensitive, it is still affecting you. Whatever the energy in your food, that is the energy now in your body.
This is why we always recommend that to improve your health and wellbeing, minimize your intake of food sourced from the modern industrial food complex.
This is a worthwhile and rewarding endeavor that can occupy you for a while, as you explore the world of better quality food.
I encourage you to take this up this challenge, because you are worth it. Your food is literally your medicine. Wouldn’t you rather pay a little extra at a farmer’s market for the enjoyment of fresh, flavorful food, than pay a lot for medicine (a.k.a. poisons) down the road?
Take up these 4 quality food commitments today, and change your life forever!
1. Look first for local food first. Where is the produce grown? Most grocery stores still tell you most of the time. At a farmer’s market you will definitely know where your food comes from.
2. Pay attention to vitality. How fresh does the item look? If you need something for a recipe but it doesn’t look fresh to you, choose something that is.
3. Consider shopping based on vitality. Eat what looks good to you rather than using a set list of preferences.
4. Be willing to explore new foods. Don’t let the fact that you’ve never cooked it before deter you from buying. Ask questions of others, and learn what you can.
Cherish and Grow Diversity
On this last point, you should know that a loss of diversity is a major problem with our modern agricultural system.
Our tastebuds have been domesticated, and trained to prefer only sweet foods, and this comes at a great cost to our health. Diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are all related to overuse of the sweet taste.
There are six tastes, and in Ayurveda we say that you need each of the six tastes in every meal to have a balanced plate.
The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Be creative and learn to enjoy different flavors. Just like a child, the more you try something, the more you will learn to like it.
Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market
Your local farmer’s market is the one place that you can go to get food that’s produced by loving humans. When you eat that food, you too will become a more loving human.
The earth itself will also become a more loving place when hardworking producers and purveyors of local food are supported.
- Find your local farmer’s market or markets, and visit them once a week. Run a google search on “your area” then “farmers markets.” Take note of the times, and put your visit on the calendar. Consider visiting the farmer’s market first, then the grocery store for anything else you need.
- Bring cash, and buy the jewels (foods and other goods) that attract your attention. Compared to real jewels, the object of your desire will not cost much. Count yourself lucky that you can still obtain such beautiful food.
- Talk to the producer or seller and thank them for their time and efforts. They are not earning much, and what they do is a labor of love. We need them.
- Go home and cook something nice. Allow the vitality of the food to inspire you. Make sure you use up what you bought quickly while it’s fresh. The fresher food is, the more it has the power to heal.
Enjoy Your Food
As a final note, I know that some of you reading this are dedicated to your health and wellness, and that sometimes you feel that you need to sacrifice flavor or enjoyment to be healthy.
You may do it willingly, but I completely disagree with this!
If you are not enjoying your food, then you will not be healthy, because somewhere you will be unhappy, and/or rejecting your food.
How could you assimilate the nutrition and build healthy tissues in that case? Ayurveda says you cannot.
We must stop approaching life from the perspective of machine thinking and control, thinking that these things do not matter.
Everything matters, because we are holistic and divine beings. We feel everything, and we are everything.
How well your food nourishes and heals you starts with how you choose your food, which we have discussed here today.
After that, it’s your food preparation, cooking, and how you eat your food. Every step matters in terms of your overall health and wellness. Knowing the right recipes that fit your diet and lifestyle also matters.
This is the traditional wisdom from Ayurveda about personal and planetary health.
It’s what I teach in my 6-week program Happy Eater. Click here to learn more.