The single most important thing you can do for your health

Author Michael Pollan just published a new book entitled Cooked that was inspired by some burning questions he had, such as, “What’s one of the most important things we can do as a family to improve our health and well-being?”  Or, “What can we as individuals do to transform our food system?” [That is becoming ever more industrialized, is eliminating our self-sufficiency, and is having a strong, negative impact on our health].   His answer, as the title of his book suggests, is to get into the kitchen and cook.

This may sound like taking a step back today because many of us have created lifestyles that accommodate processed and pre-packaged foods and have replaced cooking time or food preparation with other activities.  Yet based on what we’re witnessing with our health, this has not necessarily been a step forward.

Even deeper than what this is doing to our health, Michael Pollan has this to say about living on processed food diets:

“This is a problem–for the health of our bodies, our families, our communities, and our land, but also for our sense of how our eating connects us to the world.  Our growing distance from any direct, physical engagement with the processes by which the raw stuff of nature gets transformed into a cooked meal is changing our understanding of what food is.  Indeed, the idea that food has any connection to nature or human work or imagination is hard to credit when it arrives in a neat package, fully formed.  Food becomes just another commodity, an abstraction.   And as soon as that happens, we become easy prey for corporations selling synthetic versions of the real thing–what I call edible foodlike substances.  We end up trying to nourish ourselves on images.”

What’s so interesting is that we have actually acquired palettes for less natural versions of food–in part because of their addictive nature.  To recover from these addictions while returning to the simplicity of real food would actually be a step forward in the right direction.   And so, in order to reverse this trend for our health but also the health of future generations, and the health or our planet, here are three simple steps:

Embrace cooking – Today, we so often see cooking as a chore or even a bother that is getting in the way of doing other things.  What if cooking became one of those ‘other things’ that was just as important as anything else?  Where in your schedule can you make the time for cooking?  Is it a few hours on the weekend?  Can you enlist help?  Then plan it in your schedule and think of ways to make it fun.

Cook with ‘raw’ materials - Sometimes we get busy and dinner means heating up a jar of pasta sauce and a box of pasta, but the more you can start with the really raw materials and create something, the more control you’ll have over what you’re putting into your body. Even if more basic cooking means sautéing some fresh vegetables and adding them to your pasta, it’s progress.

Visit your local farmers - This is the perfect time of year to visit a farm stand or farmer’s market and get to know your local farmers.  It’s not necessarily about eating organic. I’d rather eat local than buy something organic that‘s been grown thousands of miles away.  One farm I like to visit is not certified organic but uses organic practices and when necessary, uses integrated pest management.  And by not paying the high price of becoming certified, they pass the savings on to us.

The Food Revolution Summit

If you watched the documentary Escape Fire a few weeks ago, then you found out that in the United States, we’re spending over $2.7 trillion/year on healthcare, yet in terms of life expectancy our country ranks 50th. Even more sobering is that regardless of life expectancy, the quality of life for many people starts to decline well before their life is over. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.

It makes so little sense to me that the bulk of our time, money, energy, and other resources is spent trying to fix sickness. Imagine if we could take all that money, manpower, time, and creativity and devote it instead to other things, like creating a world more beautiful than we’ve even imagined yet. Imagine how our creativity would soar if as a population, we were healthier and happier! This is something I think about all the time; it’s my vision. Call me a dreamer : )

If there is one thing I’m very passionate about, it’s our food supply and eating a diet that’s as clean as possible is one of the most effective ways to to gain and maintain health. Yet for many people, they’re simply unaware of where their food comes from, what’s actually in it, or exactly how it’s impacting their health.

That’s why I wanted to let you know about an upcoming event called the Food Revolution Summit. From April 27-May 5, bestselling author John Robbins is personally interviewing 24 of the world’s top experts in movements for healthy, sustainable, humanely-raised food.

These are some of the most educated, brilliant and inspiring voices in the world today. And you can get it all online, from anywhere in the world, for no charge. You can check out some of the speakers here.

When you register, you’ll have the opportunity to listen in on each interview and if you can’t make the time, you’ll be given access to the recording for 24 hours. This is a great opportunity to get a wealth of information about the real issues we face today with our food supply and going forward, you’ll be better equipped to make informed choices for you and your family to improve the quality of your lives, increase your longevity, and save the life of our planet for generations to come.

I hope you’ll take the opportunity to listen in.

Sending a Wave of Love

Courtesy of digitalart

It’s difficult these days to not turn on the news or read in the paper about something tragic happening somewhere on the planet.  I share in the deep sense of grief felt by so many as the result of last Friday’s horrible events both in Newtown, CT–so close to home; and across the globe in China.  I remember my mind immediately going to my grandsons and wanting to make sure they were OK and I know many people who hugged their kids a lot tighter Friday night.

If you’re looking for ways to help the families in Newtown, there are a number of fundraisers being held locally in CT as well as memorial 5K runs being organized for January and later in 2013.  You can find out more about them here in the Fleet Feet newsletter.

This Friday, December 21st is the winter solstice.  Rumor has it it’s also the end of the world, which I don’t believe.  Although if you’ve ever wondered, based on this article, the Mayan’s kept many calendars and they actually predicted that life would go on at least another 7,000 years.   Whether that’s true or not, I certainly don’t know, but I choose to believe that we have many more years of life here for us.

Still, many out there believe that the time we are living in is very special because it is thought that we as a species have been developing a higher level of consciousness; one, however, that is only as good as the action we choose to take from it.  We’re beginning to understand the power of our thoughts, we’re harnessing the power of our own personal energy, we’re tapping into the idea of abundance, and we’re recognizing that we all have unique gifts and that we are here to share them for the good of all.   And this level of consciousness has been gaining momentum for some time and will continue to flourish, so the idea of December 21st may simply represent a rebirth rather than an ending.

In support of this idea, the organization Peak Potentials is organizing a Wave of Love that they would like us to help create and I thought it was a great idea for helping to spread love across the world.  Within their organization, Peak Potentials has been sending Love Notes to each other over the last few months and it’s felt so good, that they wanted to spread it around.

So this Friday, December 21st, at 12:21 pm (your time zone), they’re inviting everyone to text, message, call, or email someone that they love, care for, appreciate, or are thinking of and let them know.  How cool would it be for a giant Wave of Love to travel across the planet on that day and turn it into something beautiful rather than a rumor that’s been spreading fear?   I know I’ll be sending some notes that day to the people I love.  And I hope you do too.