In May I posted two blogs describing my concern about all this interest in superfoods. (See The Superfood Debate: Parts One and Two). In all fairness I offered my daughter Gina an opportunity to respond to my blogs and give an alternate perspective. The following is the first of three guest blogs that she has written.
A brief introduction of the defense…
At the young age of fourteen, my father decided it would be a good idea to expose me to John Robbin’s Video of “Diet for a New America”. For any of you who have ever read the book, or worse, seen the movie, you can imagine the horror I felt. I’ll never forget the nausea as I tore into a piece of steak later that weekend. That was that, for the last eighteen years the thought of eating an animal has completely revolted me.
For many years I ate a pastatarian diet, which also consisted of bagels, pizza and coffee. As I progressed through my college years I began to learn about “health food”. I ate tofu, whole wheat, stir-fry, soy substitutes, and veggie burgers. My now husband and I experimented quite a bit with a vegan diet, but really, we were far from healthy.
When my oldest daughter was born we knew that we couldn’t raise her on these foods. Through Ruth Yaron’s “Super Baby Food” and Cynthia Lair’s “Feeding the Whole Family” we began to learn the value of a whole foods diet. We switched to brown rice, steamed vegetables, beans, lentils and homemade bread. We felt much healthier than we had for the years we survived on a processed vegetarian diet. We were learning the flavors of real food and the art of food preparation.
Four years ago I started learning the amazing benefits of a raw food diet. I became serious about it when I learned I had a health issue that required medical attention. One month later that issue was almost completely resolved and I was feeling better than I ever had in my entire life. I feasted on many varieties of greens, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. What an amazing summer! I was so full of energy and was at the top of my game.
Then came the fall. Living in New England, winter is when the weather gets colder and signals the time for heavier foods. Our bodies need warmth, grounding and the raw food was making my body cold, and a bit spacey. I transitioned to a cooked foods diet. I inevitably began again with wheat, cooked oils and dairy. These were substances that my body had already proven to me to be sub-optimal. I pushed through the winter, and in the spring we started the transition to a new level of health.
Each year the cycle was the same. Spring brought a new level of health, leading into an amazing living food summer. This was followed by a fall and winter that would leave much to be desired.
A raw foods diet is a detoxifying diet. It is an amazing tool that can do WONDERS for our health. The lightness, freedom and strength that accompanies living food is beyond anything that can be described. The speed in which this live food can heal dis-ease is astonishing.
Our bodies need to follow the seasons in their own right. They need a cycle of detoxifying, building and maintaining. Spring has an abundance of wild and cultivated greens and liver cleansing herbs. Summer brings its bounty of fruit, carrying vibrancy to every cell in our being. Fall is a time of rebuilding, grounding the lightness of summer for the hibernation of winter. In New England, we see this with our winter squash, roots, and autumn olives. They are crops that root us in the earth and supply us with our stores for the winter. Winter is a time for maintaining our connection to the earth and of feasting on stored grains and legumes.
The challenge that I face is that consuming starchy vegetables, legumes and grains on a daily basis keeps my body, mind and spirit feeling sluggish and puts my body in hibernation mode. Winter for me needs to be home-centered, nesting with my family. However, like many folks in this current paradigm, I cannot spend my winters following the rhythms of the sun. I am awake well after the last glimpse of sunlight and in the morning I wake while the stars are still bright in the sky. I am a mother of three wonderful and energetic children and need to be a bit on my toes during those winter months.
This winter I made new discoveries. I explored new passions. These connections made for winter months in which I felt a strength I had yet to experience. I stayed grounded and focused and accomplished more than I ever imagined.
And this leads into…
THE GREAT SUPERFOOD DEBATE!