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Eating Fun

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Staying for extended periods of time in foreign countries gives me a chance to explore different diets. I am learning very quickly that what tastes good in the mouth doesn’t always make the rest of the body happy. Learning to listen to the after effects of eating has become very important.

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Category: Nutrition, Selfseeds
Tag: diet, food, Selfseeds, travel

Eating Outside The Box

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Eating outside the box in moderation is not to be denied. When is the last time you had carmel corn, cotton candy, cheese fries, or?

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Category: Nutrition, Selfseeds
Tag: fair food, food, healthy, indulgent foods, nutritious, seasonal foods, Selfseeds

No Dairy Status

Not even water buffalo milk!

Not even water buffalo milk!

The no dairy state has happened by default and I am not noticing any difference.  I didn’t eat much dairy before other than milk in my coffee, an occasional piece of cheese, and yoghurt.  Curious if  I will maintain it naturally with refrigeration available.

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Category: Nutrition, Selfseeds
Tag: Dairy free, diet, food, nutrition, Selfseeds nutrition

Radical Life Makeover

While Walking to the Grocery Store

What happens when you live in a 12 x 16 cement room, ceiling fan, no refrigerator, window, door, no refrigerator, hot plate, and a mattress on the floor? Don’t drink the water, don’t eat most of the food, and no convenience stores around the corner. No car, no washing machine, no telephone, but there is a laptop. Your place of origin was San Diego, California where there is an abundance and availability of everything–you name it. Is this transition like the movie “the Matrix” where you are transported into another lifestyle. People do it all of the time right?

Thinking through the options is the first step. What is the water source? Bottled water for cooking, brushing your teeth, rinsing dishes/utensils. Running water for showering, hand washing clothes, and flushing the toilet. Cooking option is a hot plate. What to eat that is nutritious, but doesn’t need refrigerating? There is a store selling yogurt and pasteurized milk two doors down, 15 minutes walking down the road gets you to vegetables/fruit stands (make sure you peel what you can since the pesticide and worm/dirt levels are high), and 35 minutes walking lands you at a convenience store where you can buy nuts, dried fruit, rice, muesli, vegetable soup packets, soap, toilet pater, and more. So far so good on the basics.

Do you remember what the basics are? Can you be satisfied with eating plain food? What do things taste like with minimal sauces and seasonings? Is tasting the basics an acquired taste? At home, it is always a struggle to watch calories, because of the ease of eating, not to mention the availability of high calorie foods. Part of the transformation here is finding items that are nutritious, safe to eat, and have valuable calories. Do you need a lot of variety to be satisfied? Is that the habit speaking or what the body dictates? A major mental shift created is eating as a necessity rather than a distraction. Every time you eat you almost always have to peel, wash, or cook it–no just opening a can or pulling back a lid to satisfy hunger. Portions is another part of the equation. Having food available to cook and cooking an appropriate amount, since there isn’t a refrigerator to store leftovers. Although, there are plenty of animals roaming around that can help out if needed.

The preparing/cooking/eating cycle is simple, but requires planning, (no running out to the store last minute to pick-up take out or grab a frozen dinner.) There is also a presence involved, since you aren’t popping something into the microwave while you are doing 4 other things. Having sanitation in mind also contributes to the mindfulness of how the food is prepared and the state of the food which is going into your stomach. Anyone who has traveled in third world countries knows what happens when your gut bugs are turned upside down–not fun.

Does it sound overwhelming? The good news is that there is running water and electricity, so that helps a lot. Showers and washing clothes require a bucket, but at least the water is piped in and not carried from a well or a natural water source. In essence, it is like camping in a room. Something you might have done in your early years at the university or first job. Why take this on at middle age?
Delving into a spiritual practice in India was the incentive. Who am I, what is the meaning of life, and how to live in peace: you know, the underlying question we all face when looking at the underpinnings of life. Of course, you can always choose not to look too.

Growing up in a culture where glamour and material goods are the value standards (not that those are all bad either), this radical life makeover has hidden teachings. With obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. as a growing epidemic/norm in cultures East and West, what can we rethink? I have always been very fit and trim, but middle age has created some challenges with fat pockets developing in new areas. Exercising doesn’t seem to really fix-ti like it use to (and I work out 1-2 hours a day.) When I cut my calories in a conscientious way, that works for my body, but my mind is often screaming hunger. Taking on this new role of walking to the store, carrying the food home, washing/examining it thoroughly, using fresh ingredients, preparing an appropriate amount, and staying on top of what I have available has created a healthier connection to what I eat. I am involved with the entire process, so my body doesn’t experience the roller coaster ride that I often would experience at home even eating multiple times a day–and grabbing something as a fix-it kit. Between the walking, eating basics, and portion control, the fat lumps are melting away. Oh, I have no scale or body length mirror, so what is hanging over the edge of waistlines and how tight everything fits is the gauge.

When I return home, I hope to take some of the food teachings with me in addition to the spiritual teachings. Our lives are often fast and require juggling/multi-multitasking in the West, so presence is the first off the list. We often don’t think we have time to be present, but actually it is all we have. There isn’t anything other than what we are doing in any particular moment. It is only our minds/egos that suggest otherwise.

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Category: Selfseeds
Tag: diet, food, nutrition, presence, spiritual

Eating on the move

Market in Jaipur, India

Eating:  what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, where to eat, etc. are all at the root of living.  Joyful–yes.   Challenging–yes.  Frustrating–yes.  Time consuming–yes.  And the list goes on regarding emotions and motions tied to food and nutrition.  The news is filled with articles on dieting and the new nutrition “plate” that has replaced the pyramid.  We are looking at getting back to basics with cooking from scratch at schools, fast food restaurants changing their menus to include more healthy choices, and how all of this relates to the growing trend towards obesity.  On the other end of the spectrum, we see the world news with the catastrophic numbers of malnourished children in Somalia and the growing numbers of hungry in America.  Food is a big part of our lives:  survival, business, and global interconnectedness.

With my recent move to India, I am buying fresh food at an open market, using bottled water religiously, and not currently owning a refrigerator–I am acutely aware of food again. Having lived in California where there is an abundant supply and diversity of fresh foods, clean tap water, and stores available 24/7 makes me very appreciative of the ease from which I came. Luckily,  I started the journey in great shape, so there are some reserves to make the transition.  My hope is to not find ill health as boundaries, but of course there have been some digestive adjustments as my “gut bugs” get introduced to new neighbors.  Living with a hot plate and no refrigerator does require planning and staying on top of how my supplies are doing without the Western appliance world at my fingertips .  I have always loved and lived on lots of salad, vegetables, fruits, nuts, yogurt–basics.  I have been fine with ant proof containers for grains, nuts, dried fruit, and dried milk powder.   I have a yogurt/milk source two doors down and a bottled water source on the ground floor of the building I live in.  The market is within a 15 minute walk, so I am set.

Multi-tasking while eating makes sense:  eating smart and nutritious.

food as more than nutrition

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Category: Nutrition, Selfseeds
Tag: diet, food, health, nutrition, safety, travel