It still feels like Paleo season. In fact it’s more like a raw, peleo/vegan (not possible I know…yet!) gluten and dairy free, coconut fixated season. The more I get around to different foodie circles the more I feel like these tag lines combine. The more I think of it though the more its possible to realize that we all assume you are built and made the same way. The attitude to drink this, eat that and do gym funky things like me like this… I think devoids us of one critical message. What about me?
I have vivid memories of coming back into Australia on holidays during my 13 years of living in China. The thing that continued to strike me each time when eating out was the fast sweeping foodie trends within the food industry that used to trickle down through menus – particularly within the cafe scene. The media in Australia works effectively at penetrating our psyche, so fast that what is HOT and what is NOT changes very fast. Snapping beautiful looking food on a plate we all know skyrockets sales and makes us drool. We all love this, but all too often we find the health related boasts relating to the latest foodie porn snap telling us about this new kryptonite. I think its worth mentioning at this stage that what works for him or her will work for me to.
I used to give classes in China – workshops around the celebration and the meditation of tea. One question that became apparent with no clear answer went something like this: “Do you feel the caffeine effects from the consumption of green tea or black tea most?” What you will read online will tell you that either black or green tea has the highest amount of caffeine? The truth is, if I was a Chinese medicine practitioner attempting to answer this complex conundrum they would safely defer to your body type as to indicate ways in which your specific body type pairs and digests food types most effectively (or least effectively) and therefore the question would be orientated towards the botanical that is most likely to have an effect towards your specific body type. Not just caffeine but the complex mix and combination of trace elements that combine together.
What might appear to have the highest amount of caffeine using a scientific approach to analyze both these botanical samples is perhaps not the complete answer. Another way of asking this question: (Holding up a raw carrot and a cooked carrot as Sample 1 and Sample 2 respectively) “Which of these two food items contains the highest amount of nutrients gram-for-gram?” and then the second question: (Still holding samples 1 and 2) “Which of these two food samples is better for you?” Now ask that question centre stage Bondi, now ask that same question centre stage Beijing Ritan Park. I can definitively say that the answers will offer you opposing views. How can this be?
TCM practitioners will often use measures of the tongue, eyes and ears like a diagnostic map towards your internal organs’ health. These same practitioners will again be reading your pulse to gain an accurate measure of the health of the blood. At different times, different seasons for any individual we require a changing pattern of diet – in essence to work with the seasons. There is also the degree to which we are female or male, in our younger seasons of life vs. our older seasons of life and to our heritage. The notion of having food semi processed to make for easier digestion? The notion of nutrients taken in their natural form vs. boosted products with artificial amounts of healthy nutrients? In what concentration do good nutrients become toxic? Do we know?
This is why the notion to many of the answers you would find from sample answers in Beijing might indicate that not only is a cooked carrot healthier but also better for you? Despite all the hype around air pollution, the average age expectancy in Beijing is presently 82 years of age. Now imagine if the air was also clean?
I think the idea of simple and natural foods, both cooked and raw, meat and not, home cooked always best and in smaller quantities might be a more level and encompassing way to look at our food choices.