Monday, June 9, 2008

You are what you eat, Turkey.

It is said that you are what you eat. This makes sense, what else could you be? What you wear? What you do? What you think? You think therefore you are, or you are, therefore you eat?? Do we even think anymore about what we eat? What is the doc even talking about!?!

Food is our fuel, it is what nourishes us and becomes us, our substrate, substance and sustenance. Why then do people forget that just like a pill put in the mouth will have a profound effect on the body, the food we stuff in our maws also has profound (and often ROUND) effects on our bodies. Myself included... make no mistake, this is NOT simply a forum for me to preach. I need reminding of this as much as the next little piggy (particularly the one who ate roast beef...).

You see, I recently found myself in a carnivorous frenzy. Maybe it was the springtime call of the bbq, or the tantalizing sound of sizzling beef stimulating my ears and taste buds alike, but I could just not meet my meat needs. My blood thirst was relentless - burgers of all types (beef! lamb! duck!), kebabs both shish and not, makin' it bacon all the time!! If it once had a face, I wanted it seared and on my plate.

Sometime during this rapacious phase I tried to paint a porch and ended up in pain (my loyal readers will remember. I'm doing much better, thanks for asking.). Poor me and all that, but one night during my pity party a friend treated me to a cooking lesson at the Big Carrot. Salivating at the prospect of preparing some exotic organic beefy dish, imagine my disappointment when in front of me was a big gaudy bowl of... vegetables. You don't win friends with salad! The colours were blinding - red, orange, yellow, and so much green! We learned how to make vegetable soup, vegetable ragout (vegetable soup, less liquid) and veggie dip to dip our veggies in. It was a lovely class (thanks Lisa!) and I learned a lot of techniques that will be sure to remember the next time I order vegetable soup or veggie ragout or veggie dip.

But the best part, and the POINT of this post, is how I felt. BETTER. That night, my back hurt less. The next morning, I felt BETTER. Noticeably, significantly better. And since I'm no dummy, I thought... what did I do differently? The answer hit me like a sack of carrots - I inadvertently detoxed! Meat is highly inflammatory. It is known to exacerbate symptoms of arthritis and autoimmune diseases. Acute pain is largely due to inflammation. Those hippies had taught me a lesson (though sadly it wasn't 'how to prepare organic beef stroganoff') - it was time to step down from my post at the top of the food chain, as delicious as the view there was. Essentially, don't have a cow, man. (groan. sorry.)

See, we are what we eat. All that delicious, delicious meat was just adding fatty fuel to the fire, and the fire was getting too hot. So on what is a former carnivore to dine? Steamed bok choy. Brown rice. Salmon. Chick peas. Avocados. And when I do indulge (full disclosure: I am now on a dangerous ice cream kick. BUT: I've discovered a way to justify it - Kensington Market Organic Ice Cream, at Queen and Palmerston...) ... where was I... yes, when I do indulge, and I do, I try to make the more healthful choice. Organic, real foods win. Especially in flavours like vanilla cardamom and lavender blueberry. I'll be there every Sunday afternoon this summer...

Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food".

Smart guy. Thou should listen to him.

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