Thich Nhat Hanh has written many wonderful books about mindfulness, and learning to be present. Don was reading to me last night from this book a story that went something like this:
A man who had a wonderful home, and a son he cherished, lost it all during an attack to his village. His home was burned down, and the remains of a body lie in a heap. Sure it was his son, he became immediately stricken with grief, and went into mourning. He basically locked himself inside of his home, clinging to the ashes which were all that were left of his son.
What does this have to do with a blog about food?One day, there was a knock on the door. A voice cried out to come in. It was his son. He had been taken by the raiders, but had escaped. The man did not believe him. The boy pleaded. The man was angry, thinking for sure it was someone trying to torment him, yelling to the voice outside that it was impossible for it to be his son, for his son had died in the fire. After some time, the boy gave up, and left for good. The man who loved his son so dearly, lived the remainder of his life alone, sure he had lost his son in the fire. A part of him died as well.
As soon as Don finished, I told him that this is exactly what people are doing when they cling to a belief, more invested in the belief being right, than the true reality. In Buddhism, the more we have these strong views and opinions, the more we close ourselves off to our true nature, and all possibilities.
Many in the paleo and low carb communities cling to the notion of carbs being what cause us to get fat, or set us up for endocrine system imbalances. They have the notion that we are designed to be meat-centric, holding to the theory that we evolved as hunters, never mind the gathering.
But there is quite a range of beliefs out there about what exactly is paleo. As is the way I suppose all new ideas take shape, there is a diversity of beliefs among paleo dieters that ranges from eating meat and saturated fats almost exclusively, to those who incorporate rice, potatoes, fruit, nuts, seeds, and /or even beans and legumes, or whole fat dairy products.
What I find very interesting is that while this is hoped to be a way of eating that can improve people's health, it seems at times as if we are sinking ever further into the abyss of nutritional confusion, and even paranoia.
Have we become forgetful of widely accepted nutritional beliefs that have already existed for some time? Can't you just hear your mom's voice telling you to eat your fruits and vegetables because they are good for you? Or do we need to waste more time and money doing scientific research to prove that they are, indeed, good for you? That mom was right.
We are designed to eat whole foods. That is what our ancestors ate pre-industrialized, pre-agriculture, pre-any time period, period. That is what our primate relatives ate as well. Foods have become refined and processed to stay preserved, and be available to the masses for the minimum, while feeding the few who run the corporations, who run our country. Doctors make money tending to sick people, and corporations strong hold the government to ensure their seeds are the ones sewn, putting the little farmer out of business.
Nobody in the hire up ranks benefits from our being healthy. They don't want you to eat whole foods nearly as much as they want you to eat their fast foods and processed and refined foods, because in general, you can get more whole foods from either your garden, local farmer, or the store while bypassing as much as possible all of their foods that come in cans, boxes, or the freezer, which ultimately puts less in their pockets.
I have read comments on Don's blog and on facebook among the paleo group folks who believe that fruits, veggies, and in general all carbs make you fat, while eating whole fat cream, and eggs cooked in grease does not. Many are so sure that their metabolically challenged body will morph back into a pear by even looking at one, and somehow because they have lost weight they are sure that these foods will bring them back to their pre-paleo body. Call me crazy, but am I supposed to believe that they got into their pre-paleo predicament (which is much heavier) because they were over-eating fruits and veggies?
I saw some of those who swear they must be a low carb types at the AHS, and I wanted to ask them, "How is that working for you?" I don't know from whence they came, but my observations were that they didn't look that healthy.
Do we want to cling to an idea like the father in the story who believed his son was dead, and live forever shutting out what could possibly exalt us to a new level of health and joy, or offer beneficial solutions even as it shows up, knocking on the door? Is it more important to be right, or well? How do we find our own inner voice of knowing, or hear our own hearts with minds that stay busy chattering to one and all what we are sure is the right way. How do we progress as a culture when we are stubbornly clinging to the need to be right, rather than open the door to what is true and real, and potentially life changing?
Not to mention cutting off the heads of those willing to simply state what seems the obvious. Just eat real, whole foods. Pretty simple. Call it what you want. Eat some fish, some meat, or not, but do eat your greens, fruits, and veggies, and a wide variety of plant foods. Mom is always right. And she didn't have to have a study funded to prove it. She just knows. Just as I believe your own body knows as well.
"Someone's knocking at the door...do me a favor, won't you let them in.." Could be the answer you have been searching for, or better yet, a miracle. But in order to recognize it, you need to make space. How do we make space? Drop the opinionated mind, or in other words, empty the trash. In case you haven;t noticed our minds are full of it.