Have you noticed that lately, when it comes to food, we're become more and more fragmented? There's a diet for almost every lifestyle -- and that could be a good thing -- but we tend to wear it as a label to define and separate us. I wonder what happened to just eating good food?
The obvious answer might be that good food is harder and harder to come by. Certainly, because of the way food is produced in many parts of the world (especially in the U.S.), we do need to make informed and conscious choices and changes. This will aid not only our own wellbeing but all others and help send a message to big business that we are becoming more careful and enlightened as to what we choose to eat.
Still, I can't help but wonder, "Are we making our food choices due to fear?" Has fear infiltrated our minds resulting in an all out war with our food? Aren't we ourselves, part of the problem... and therefore also the solution?
After teaching thousands of people how to cook, publishing countless recipes that are widely circulated and commented on, and entertained a large variety of guests in my home, I can no longer plan a simple meal or class without asking, "What do you not eat?" Many people have a long list. And that's okay... I'll still cook for you, yet the question remains, "Is this list of foods we should consume and avoid really feeding our fear and guilt?"
I've never promoted any specific diet on my site (though my recipes are certainly influenced by my native Italian) which is why you'll see vegan, vegetarian, seafood, poultry and meat dishes all included. My criteria is to use fresh ingredients in simply ways. That's it! The choice on what to eat is yours.
Still I can't help but notice how many people get offended, not only by a certain type of food, but by an ingredient, even if used in a minuscule quantity that would never harm anyone. Or they argue over the merits of one diet versus another and get angry because of another's choice in what they eat!
Getting offended and angry is always a defense that comes from fear and guilt. These emotions don't make us healthier regardless of how much green juice we consume. In our quest to be informed, we often choose what to eat based on what the media tells us; what studies show; or from personal experience that's been conditioned to what's good or bad.
The problem is, what's good or bad is always changing and not always true. And what's always changing can't ever come from anywhere except the ego. It comes in all kinds of disguises, packages and scenarios, wrapped with hidden intentions. It's a master mixologist for combining the good with the bad; pleasure and pain... but it's always fear, and it's never good for us. Maybe that's why the phrase "cooked with love" is so widely used it's become a cliche.
I know that if we were all enlightened beings we could eat anything and still be nourished and not get fat. But while enlightenment may be the goal, on our way it can only help our wellbeing to begin to question the motivation of why we eat as we do.
Isn't it possible to begin to loosen the chains around what we allow ourselves to eat and simply eat what we like using common sense, without guilt, in moderation and balance, in a space of love whether consumed alone or in company?
Can't every meal, regardless of how humble, be a celebration simply because we have fresh food before us? Gratitude and love are the ingredients that trump all the supplements and nutrients we frantically look to fill our deprived diets. They'll add the nourishment we truly need to supplement the nutrient weak food we sometimes need (or want) to consume.
What I know for sure is that nothing good ever comes from fragmentation and separation. There must be a way to eat whatever we deem right for ourselves without holding our choices against anyone else. There must be a way for everyone to have access to good food in a world of plenty. Food has always been a means to connect us and I don't want to lose that. Do you?
Don't we collectively know that there's got to be a better way? Let's ask for one in our minds and hearts. Sooner or later... it'll show up.