I’m obsessed with the food I eat and it has very little to do with gastronomy. My obsessions have moved through phases. There was the peanut butter phase when I was a kid, then the shit food phase when I was 14, then there was vegetarianism that lasted about 8 years, there was even a dumpster diving phase. Generally, vegetarianism opened the door to healthy thinking and got me to farming and fruit picking in Canada and México. Not long after I was attentive to local, fresh / in season foods. And soon I was really listening to what my body was telling me about lactose, gluten and refined foods.
All in all, I tried to avoid what I considered bad food – lots of refined sugar or processed foods, fake milks & coffees , and white baguettes (huge in Spain). I didn’t buy produce from superstores, preferring the local gypsies that set up markets in the plazas. By far this consciousness about consumption set me apart from the vast majority of anyone I ate with, yet, it functioned in social settings.
But consciousness doesn’t equate knowledge. In fact, I’d been ignorant to the fact that almost everything I’d ever consumed in my entire life had been pure chemistry. Little seeds made in big factories that made even bigger yields in production and caused even larger problems in health. It didn’t matter if I ate gypsy tomatoes or lived off gluten free corn tortillas when all I was really putting into my body was the genetic coding for herbicides and hardly washable pesticides. So, its painful to admit, but for 27 years I’d been feeding my body toxic, damaging, cancerous ¨foods.¨
I’d heard all about pesticides/herbicides. I’d even gotten first hand experience in the mal-effects of chemical sprays on food when I changed from fruit picking at organic farms to a non-organic farm. One day the farmers had sprayed the cherry trees with pesticides and we couldn’t work for 3 days. In the picking days that followed, I experienced frequent nose bleeds, stomach aches, nausea, and massive head-aches. And so did the rest of the 20 something employees. My hands were black (doesn’t happen in organic picking) and I couldn’t eat the fruit I was picking (but I could eat the organic fruit).
I also knew to look for and avoid artificial ingredients in any food product / beverage. What are those letters with numbers? Why can’t I even pronounce that word? (ex: tertiary butylhydroquinone, a petroleium derived product.) I avoided anything with aspartame at first after seeing my uncle go into a seizure if he had even an dose of aspartame (he had brain cancer).
But I hadn’t heard all about genetically modified organisms (GMO). A good look at Monsanto’s wikipedia page, and a significant amount of research about all the food products in the US filled with these genetically altered food products was just as horrifying as a bad sci-fi flic. AND THAT DID IT FOR ME! Goodbye to all franken-foods (as they are popularly referred to).
So here I am, more obsessed with food than ever in my life. This obsession is essential – in order to sift through all the shit – garbage – toxic foods out there, I need time, information, money, good organization and community. This is the ecological transition phase. Putting REAL food into my body that gives me maximum taste and pleasure, maximum nutrition and food energy. In this phase I’m eating foods that heal – and seeing how they can heal more than just my body! I’m eating foods that bring my body into contact with the earth and ecological systems that produce such beautiful, natural harvests; with hands and hearts that farm these foods, with joyful, warrior spirits that use intensively difficult but necessary farming practices when the rest of the world is going bonkers with GMOs.
Everything that comes next is just to help get to that next phase – the one that isn’t transitioning, the one that isn’t obsessed, the one that is just living and eating well. Never before in the history of the earth has it been such a battle to do something so simple.