Bach to nature

In my previous post I mentioned that I plan to illustrate my new focus for this next year, both here and on Flickr, on living a beautiful life and the beauty of California, in a few posts and photos. It is such a vast topic, that I may not cover every angle, just some aspects of my theory that the universe evolves toward beauty as a direct outgrowth of moving toward order in all things (interjections of periodic chaos aside). This is a start (although I have talked about some of this in earlier posts).

The response I have gotten from all of you has been overwhelming and we have welcomed many new friends here as a result of this simple re-orientation.  Clearly people are longing for beauty and happiness. And health, which is one of my obsessions. So many of this community are revolutionizing their diets and feeling better and better. My good friend Robin often posts healthy tips that I learn from. Many others of you have too, so please remind me and let me know if I may include a link to your blog or post here.

This past weekend we went down to celebrate Father’s Day with Geoffrey’s family at the beach. It was pleasant enough weather there, almost 20 degrees cooler than at our place, even though it is less than an hour away.  As usual, they served what they believe to be great food — this SIL has every cookbook, tool and technique on earth in her huge kitchen — and happily announced that they also made a feast for us, the two pesky vegans, by serving raw vegetables and “side dishes”. Well, they tried and I know it is hard for those who build a meal around meat to understand what a delicious vegan meal consists of.

Luckily, we always eat before we go. They served barbecued spare ribs, sugar-sprinkled corn fritters, bottled sauces, and three pale raw salads made from various vegetables and grains — all cold, all marinated. Dessert was two cakes and a towering bowl of fresh whipped cream. There was the usual round of drinks and we sat convivially out on a patio under an enormous fruit tree.  Ocean breezes brought the scents of flowers.  A lovely setting and good intentions.

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Staring at those sticky strips of fatty pig flesh and bone, I was reminded once again of why I love being a non-animal eater. Food should be beautiful, vivid and exquisitely tasty.  Now, what does that really mean? There is an ancient theory, based on the wisdom of the prior ages, that things we are meant to embrace will signal their appropriate character by attracting us in elegant ways: lovely colors, scents, pleasing shapes, soothing textures, soul-satisfying settings, etc.  One of the people who took this up and created a popular line of ‘remedies’ was Edward Bach, the renowned English homeopath of the last century whose products are still sold in every health emporium all over the world.

Dr. Bach was not the only healer who spoke of this — it was and is an entire movement. For those of us who are artists, the idea has a natural appeal with no further explanation needed. When I do something, I always try to incorporate beauty.  Meals are no exception.

There are other arenas in which this is true.  Take music, for example.  The classical genre was built on harmony and the identification of chords that blend to create sounds that beautify the mind and imagination. Just listen to someone like J. S. Bach or Pachelbel, Sibelius, Mozart, Chopin, Schubert, Handel, Vivaldi, Saint-Saens, Paganini, Schumann, Fauré to name a few.   My favorite music is of the 15th and 16th centuries. When you listen to the earliest music, often meant for the lute and other modal instruments (precursors to the modern stringed orchestral versions), you will find a simple, direct, penetrating but subtle vibrance that is all but lost in more contemporary pedestrian genres, like rock (a lot of which I love, by the way), pop, hip-hop and rap.

It still lingers in the earliest form of country music, which we call in the US, Traditional or Mountain music. You find a wonderful version in the environs of Appalachia, which we know as Fiddle Tunes. Jazz, some of the best from the pre-1950s era that saw its rise and proliferation, also exhibits these qualities.  Irish Celtic music from over 1000 years ago, has this same quality.  As does Bulgarian and Albanian a capella choral folk music. It is all delicate, immediately accessible, haunting, calming, energizing.  These last two qualities are what all our surroundings should supply: calm and energy.  They are not opposites, they work together and produce health at all levels, physical, emotional, mental, and social.

8-Vegetables-To-Expand-Your-Health-And-Beauty

These things are beautiful.  We recognize that feature in them immediately. This is not an intellectual knowledge, it is visceral and inchoate.

Back to the meal on Sunday.  It is exactly what people eat who, in my opinion, have little idea of either health or harmony.  There is nothing beautiful about the flesh of an animal on a plate. What people have done to make it palatable, is to mask its true nature in a variety of ways. Every single thing that can be done to animal flesh, can be done to other more health-giving foods.  If you have ever seen a raw and bleeding wound on any living creature, that is what you are eating.  It is naturally repulsive in its original state.  By the time it has been re-conceived and re-presented and re-branded with euphemisms and ends up on your plate, it has lost some of the natural signals that it once possessed to alert you that it isn’t a good idea to consume this.  It wasn’t pretty, much less beautiful.  You can set aside for the moment the fact of the sentient being and how it met its end, so it could land on your plate — we can talk about that sometime as I have a library full of information on that particular topic.  I am now talking about health and the vibrant qualities our food should have.

But, of course, human beings have been doing this for a very long time.  That is a deceptive but compelling argument if you haven’t studied anthropology thoroughly, and it has emerged lately as the Viking or Paleo diet.  Our earliest ancestors were largely vegans (there was no dairy) and opportunistic feeders. When they happened upon kills, they only consumed the leftovers from real carnivores (we are designed like herbivores).  This was usually singed bone that was easily cracked to get the tender and fatty marrow it contained or the occasional roasted internal organ.  It was in very small quantities and sporadic, not habitual.  Not three times or more a day.  Not processed. Not from an animal penned for life. If we look to the natural diet of the great apes in the wild today, we will have a picture of very early man’s diet as well.

Image result for vegan moroccan meal

And our ancestors moved a great deal more than we do.  In fact, they trotted most of the time. And they stood or squatted, rarely sitting. They were largely foragers, gatherers far longer than they were hunters, and then quickly evolved to farming.  And the amount of roughage ingested along with the scant animal proteins was cleansing to the long, winding, dark, narrow intestinal tract that we share with other hominoids (like primates), in stark contrast to the short, large intestines of carnivores.

We can argue about the necessity of animal product consumption to the development of homo sapiens and the brain as an historic fact, scientifically verified.  I would contend, if this were a more analytical and scholarly piece here, that other factors (bipedalism, standing upright to navigate, seed-eating with our prehensile grip, and others) — no longer present in modern society — were just as instrumental in producing man today.

But this is clear.  We don’t eat like our great-grandparents and grandparents did.  Post industrial revolution food production has drastically changed western diets.  Exponentially so, post WWII.  We are now eating many times the amount of unhealthy fats, refined sugars and toxic salts in processed, packaged items than we were designed to handle efficiently and safely. It has been pushed on us by lobbyists. Our food “experts” have been bought off and the unwitting public has been thoroughly brainwashed. Con Agra anyone? And, I can say with confidence, that our meats while tender are tasteless.  If you have ever eaten beef or chicken in countries where farm animals spend their lives walking in fresh air and feeding naturally, you know what I mean (Switzerland, Holland, Brazil are among many examples).

The average under-40 American looks and usually feels pretty good. But by 50, most are overweight (if not obese), tired, stressed, anxious, depressed, with multiple illnesses and loosening teeth. If you were to open the usual medicine cabinet of 95% of American homes, you would see a small pharmacy that attests to this point. The first 40 years of poor dietary and physical practices is largely responsible for the second 40 years of increasing woes.  It catches up with us eventually. Not only physically, but in every way.

Do people believe they love the meat and dairy laden meals they are eating? Oh, yes! And there is a medical term for this: dysgeusia (taste perversion).  It is the result of habit, reinforced by other emotional factors associated with eating, meals, and a full stomach starting when we are born.

Eating cooked flesh of any creature is not beautiful, nor is it necessary for modern Westerners.

Fruits and vegetables are like flowers: they are beautiful to behold and exquisitely nourishing on all levels. They are environmentally safe to cultivate and just the savings in efficient land use alone would solve this planet’s hunger cheaply, effectively, and humanely.

They are like good music: immediately appealing when properly prepared and created, and they are enduring in that same way.  I can listen to the same dozen or so composers and artists for a lifetime, and each time I do, I derive more pleasure, strength, happiness, understanding, and healing.

Food should and can be the same.

Images: 123rf.com, thefoodalmanac.com, foodrepublic.com, features.peta.org, wallpaperuniversity.com, inalu.eu, eathealthytip.com, hobbyfarms.com, taste.com.au, goodhousekeeping.com, masalazone.com, en.wikipedia.org, tripadvisor.com

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/take-it-from-me/

Here are some other posts on this topic that are relevant and interesting, from members of this community:

Paul wrote about this, and his success with losing weight, this morning! What a great post.

Another friend I follow is eliminating sugar, which has always been my biggest weakness. I admire her!

Here are some wonderful changes my good friend Vera has made in her life, illustrating the step-wise approach we can take to improving.  It doesn’t have to be cold-tofurky, in other words, LOL.

Look at what Kellie is doing — gorgeous!  I am doing this for July 4th.  Thank you Kellie!

Just this morning, a cherished member of this community, JM, posted this and it is worth a read. We always forget that there are people in this world who would be thrilled to eat even 1300 calories per day, much less, per meal.  I need to remember this whenever I feel sorry that I must work on weight control more and more, the older I get. Thank you for your entire blog, JM, dedicated to fitness, inside and out.

 

 

36 Comments on “Bach to nature

        • They definitely do! And, we support local small, independent farms and their families that way.

          We have an egg supplier (because we give our animals eggs) whose farm is near enough that he invited us to see it and the magnificent conditions for the chickens, who are raised and cared for solely for eggs.

          There is another farmer who gives us beet greens, which we cook like spinach. They are delicious and people want them removed from the beets and discarded (which is crazy!), so he saves them for us.

          We get our honey there and all sorts of things like organic soaps and orchids. It’s such a pleasure to shop there, save money and support local producers at the same time.

          We are on the same page, Jim! 😀

          Liked by 2 people

  1. This is the clincher: “The first 40 years of poor dietary and physical practices is largely responsible for the second 40 years of increasing woes.” Even my parents, who grew up eating closer to the earth, have adopted the N. American revisionist diet since coming to Canada in the late 1950s/early 1960s. Yet they seem reluctant to embrace the organic natural wholesome approach to food which you tout. I’m with you, Beth. Thank you for this comprehensive post and gorgeous photos. I’m reading in the morning, have had my fruit with hemp hearts breakfast – otherwise I might be salivating…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh I know what you mean Vera. While my mother is totally on board (but still eats chicken on occasion), my dad refuses to even discuss it. He once accused me of being almost a communist because I said I don’t eat cooked spinach, due to its oxalic acids, and prefer cooked bok choy or beet greens, chard, etc. He is a chemist and considers himself an expert but knows little about nutrition. They do have a garden in their yard and he is a good cook but it is his generation and ego that gets in the way. Meanwhile, he has had by-pass surgery already. Hmmm — you would think he would change his eating habits!

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  2. Thank you so very much, Beth!!
    I appreciate your listing me as one of the people who joined to be your impetus for writing about better, healthier choices in what we put into our bodies.
    I apologize for being late to the healthy party here on your blog, Beth. I worked (I am not kidding!) 11 hours yesterday and missed most of my grandson’s baseball game. Never mind blogging or reading posts. I had written one about my work as an activities director and like that wordpress allows you to ‘schedule’ ahead of time.
    I am off to my Mom’s where they have ONE computer in the area called the Pub. I like the tables to play cards or poker, also the pool table and they give residents with permission from their doctors, glasses of wine or beer. The wine will cost me $3 but it will be nice to have with dinner tonight.
    I find fresh is always better. I am unable to give up sugar but my brother insists I need salt due to the heat in the warehouse. His doctor said, “Sugar is the ‘new salt’ problem.”
    Which means sugar is far worse than salt on our body. Something about the crystals. I am sure you have included more information than I know, so please don’t mind me if I come back to read it once I get up to Mom’s. Hugs and more hugs, Robin

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin, I know you are a busy person, so you never need worry that I will be unhappy that you commented late or at all. I am thrilled when you do, given all you are juggling, time-wise.

      I agree about salt — both salt and sugar are weaknesses of mine and I have cut way back but not completely. I think salt is necessary in hot climates but of course, we get a lot of it in foods we eat without realizing it, so I never add it to anything any more.

      I cannot drink coffee without a little sugar. I have tried for years and cannot do it and I love coffee in the morning, so that is one place I am struggling.

      All the rest, I have done increasingly for over three decades and am quite happy about it. But there is always more one can do, as we didn’t come with an owner’s manual and have to discover all this by trial and error!

      I am going to go see what you have been up to, on the chance I have missed something. Apparently my Reader/E-mail notifications aren’t perfect and I do miss things people have posted.

      Hugs Robin and Happy Friday!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth, I am happy you included a beautiful plate of greens with wild flowers upon it. I also found your brilliantly colorful photographs capturing and holding my attention. I agree with what you mentioned about all the companies (and food “experts”) which seem to boggle and confuse the general public.
        I came back to add an important note to become part of your powerful essay. I hope public education with schools getting government funding continue to strive towards healthy meals. Feeding little ones’ tummies along with their precious minds needs to be a priority of all nations. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          • My girlfriend and hubby had me to dinner tonight. She made a polenta salad with small cherry tomatoes, fresh torn spinach leavrs, purple onions thinly diced, celety, cilantro and feta cheese. I will be staying there while they head west to see Mt. Rushmore and other beautiful sites. I will still work but they hooked me up with their WiFi and computer. Cat-sitting, flower watering, koi pond with baby frogs and “fishies,” too. Makes me think of Three Dog Night’s song, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” and how it goes into a chorus of, “Joy to the World.” 🙂

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            • Robin, that does sound like a joyous place! What a wonderful salad, too — sounds delicious. I might try putting something together with those ingredients. I love that song and in fact that group! I think I have that one on my iPod. Have fun. Great to have good friends – they are lucky to have you, too! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  3. You know, a “food photographer” is a very valuable commercial skill. Just scrolling
    down your entry was a visual delight. Once again, a new talent surfaces. Thanks
    Beth. Healthy eating is a real “issue” today. And you’re ahead of the curve on
    making us aware. .

    Liked by 3 people

  4. So nice of you to say all this Bob. I cannot take credit for these beautiful pictures other than to say that I have eaten exactly this way — as they depict — for decades and it has truly been a joy to do so. I think if people got away from animal products for awhile, they would realize how much better a non-animal diet feels and tastes!

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  5. You’d be proud. I bought a veggie burger mix the other day. Mixed it up, baked it. But I didn’t put it on a burger, yet. I broke the patties up, put them in a salad. That way I didn’t have to be disappointed it wasn’t a burger.
    Since I’m out of the country much of the time, I haven’t run across the Bach Flower Remedies for quite a while. But love them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Good for you!! 🙂

      If I were living anywhere abroad, I would be eating what the natives eat, sans-flesh. Isn’t finding a decent veggie burger difficult there? You can also make that stuff into a “meat ball” or crumble it into marinara sauce to make a faux-Bolognese pasta dish.

      Here we have a line of products made by a company called Field Roast. They make “ground beef” alternatives that can be formed to be meat loaf, meat balls and ground meat. The stuff is delicious and completely vegan, of course. They also make Italian “sausages” and breakfast “sausages” that are fabulous. But you might not be able to get that line over there. Here’s the link: http://fieldroast.com/. I like their products but who knows if anyone ever really makes a healthy meat substitute.

      I also like Garden Burgers but have seen critiques of those as well.

      I think the key for me is not to try to fake meat at all but just leave it out altogether and eat ethnic food. American food is pretty poor without its animal anchors.

      I’ve lived without any animal flesh for over 30 years so it can be done, but it might be hard where you are!

      Thank you though, BF! I know it is hard to understand let alone be a vegan — yet.

      😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • The brand I tried is from the UK, called Sharaf, and states: “Probably the best vegetarian burger you will ever eat.” The spices were actually very tasty. Did not taste like meat at all. So I’m with you–just don’t even try to fake meat. Eat other stuff, there’s plenty of stuff besides meat.

        And no, it’s not hard for me to understand, I was an absolute strict vegetarian for a couple decades. Then I shot a deer (worst day of my life). So I figured if I did that, I had to eat it—karma. Now, I eat meat once or twice a year. Or not. It’s not a moral issue for me, it’s a health issue. I poop using only peristaltic action, no force (sorry, too much information?)…I’m just saying my colon is in really good shape, not clogged with anything (like six pounds of putrified beef).

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        • I am loathe to trust any of these brands too much, and the primary reason is that they get bought out or sell out. The big food cartels see to it that any attempts to build a successful natural food company are thwarted. It is just another outrage of the haves tyrannizing the have nots. So, it is probably wise to read each ingredient each time we buy a so-called natural product.

          If you think about it. Who would put meat in a dark, 98F moist chamber and leave it there for four days? That is our large intestine on meat. Vegans smell better too.

          I think hunting is craven, but you could have guessed that. Another whole huge topic for me, but one that so upsets a lot of men, that I avoid it.

          We do what we can, in baby steps. But I am clear that humanity will view meat eating and all that leads up to it as primitive and backward, in the not too distant future.

          You are way ahead of the pack, BF! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          • I hear exactly what you are saying. You can’t trust nobody these days. And just so you know, I got cramps after eating that burger mix. Well, it is mostly beans. Dried beans.
            Hunting—not for me. It’s a long story I’ve tried to write. Can’t finish it.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay, I am now going to eat dinner and listen to some classical music!
    Seriously, I stopped eating beef ages ago. Only eat fresh veggies. I do eat frozen fruit cuz I make smoothies (I know, I know). But have also learned to make veggie burgers from beans and they’re YUMMY! I live on salads mixed with good grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc…) during the summer and make gazpacho, too – enough to share with neighbors.
    No kidding, I really am hungry now. 😀 Happy eating!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s also a whole lot cheaper! We have gotten to the point that we rarely want to eat out. Not only do we hate spending the money, we don’t trust the stuff they serve! I like the idea of smoothies — my problem is they make me sleepy for some reason. Probably a blood sugar issue. I love quinoa — now there is a great source of both fiber and protein and so easy to make. Gazpacho! Now, you are making ME hungry.

      Thank you Susan, another area where we think a lot alike. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. As always, there is so much sense to what you write, Beth. I was talking with my husband about this recently although we started off on recycling! You know how these conversations go. I had recently gone for the first time to the local recycling centre to drop off additional, larger items. Usually his job. And I was horrified at the amount of waste – flat screen TV’s and whatnots – things that shouldn’t already be of no use; the whole planned obsolescence package. It drives me crazy.
    I left the place feeling really sad at what we all contribute to the landfill sites and the environment as a whole. The visual of so much waste got to me.
    That then tied in with a video I had watched (I think it was here on WP) on the amount of land required in the raising of cattle to supply our needs/demands. I had been mulling over how much meat we, as a family, consumed on a regular basis and how to alter that simply by reducing the meat section of the plate with more veg and grains and replacing the protein a couple of times a week with something else.
    We’ve traditionally been locked into the meat and two veg diet for the most part as our main meal with variations on a theme.
    I’ll need to be inventive to substitute and ensure what I cook still gets eaten and arm myself with more knowledge than I currently have on alternatives.
    Posts like this, Beth, go a long way in providing the motive and the information. I could eat every dish above with relish – the clours in that market stall alone knock me for six. Luckily I’ve not long eaten – smoked salmon pate, oat cakes and salad. Everybody else had chicken! Think I might need to start writing some new menus. :/

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    • I was raised on a typical English meal: meat, potato, bread and butter, two vegetables (boiled or steamed). Every single night. Until I woke up in secondary school and decided I liked ethnic food and didn’t want animals in it. My parents were shocked, then my mother came around because she had been to a slaughterhouse once and was horrified. And that was before factory farms, which are even worse here in the US.

      I honestly think if everyone just got rid of beef and pork, sooooo many problems would be solved at once! Then everyone could transition to wild salmon and the northern small, oily fishes like sardines and the like.

      If we all ate a Greek or Scandinavian diet (minus any meat) we would be healthier and this planet would be too. It has taken me over 30 years to arrive at being a vegan. It can be done gradually. It’s a bit cheaper, too.

      It is nice of you to be so supportive, Anne-Marie. Especially since men are very hard to bring around (what did it for Geoffrey was keeping his weight down — he’s been great about it).

      😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Frank thought I was taking his rattle from him when I suggested it! I had to reassure him he wouldn’t go hungry. It’s definitely a legacy from our parents. I like to cook a variety of ‘foreign’ food but I always remember the first time my mum presented my dad with a plate of spag bol. He ate it and then asked where his dinner was! No tatties! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think it is a problem of us all being used to being stuffed to the gills when we push away from the table. Westerners just eat too much heavy food, imho. Especially Americans. This is a very fat nation.

          Geoffrey was afraid he wouldn’t be full, but we eat multiple small meals when we are together instead of three big ones, the way most people here do. We eat about five per day and so we are never hungry.

          It takes getting used to, but I think it is a better plan.

          Funny, your dad! He’s like mine (only mine is Irish — married to a Brit).

          😀

          Liked by 1 person

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