Connecting with Nature
Food connects us with nature. We all eat vegetables either directly or indirectly. Eating a healthy plant-based diet is a direct connection with nature. On a meat-based diet, you are forming an indirect connection by way of consuming animals that have already consumed plants. In essence, food is a condensed form of our environment. By eating more plants, we become more aligned with our local environment.
What is a Healthy Meal?
A healthy meal should include a cooked grain dish like brown rice, oatmeal, or pasta. Additionally, there should be a separate vegetable dish. A grain is a seed and fruit merged into one without separation. So, grain is literally the beginning and the end of the plant kingdom combined into one and provides the most satisfying and balanced nutrition of any food. This is why it has been the principal food in all the world’s long-standing civilizations.
The vegetables are the parts in between the seed and the fruit, and when combined with the grains, allows us to receive the entire plant kingdom in a single meal: the seed, the vegetable (roots, stems & leaves), and the fruit. Additionally, soup relaxes and conditions our digestive system. This ultimately gets our bodies ready for the meal.
Soup is also a great way to gain common ground because most people enjoy soup. A savory soup with a mildly salty taste, stimulates the appetite and activates digestion. A sweet soup is more relaxing and harmonizing and can be very consoling and soothing as an added dish to a menu. Anything creamy has that effect in many forms of dishes, both cold or hot.
A healthy meal includes these three food categories. Every meal should include grains and vegetables. At least one meal per day should also include soup. A variety of other foods should also be added to meals to create balance throughout the day. For example, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
By setting meal times, we can reset and harmonize our biological clocks and circadian rhythms. Regular meal and sleep times regulate all of our body’s cycles, including digestion, hormonal, and blood sugar. It’s the difference between having an early breakfast or a brunch. If you wake up early, start your day with an early breakfast meal, the rest of your day will have a higher likelihood of being productive and on schedule. Have you ever tried to accomplish things after having brunch? It probably wasn’t as successful as if you started your day with an early meal. The reason daylight savings time throws so many people off is that it separates people from actual sun time. So, make sure to set your meal times and stick to them. For example, breakfast by 8:30, lunch by 1pm, and dinner by 7-7:30pm.
Develop Common Points in the Meal
If you’re the one who wants to eat in a healthier way, it is important to also identify the types of foods that your partner is likely to enjoy. That way your partner will be much more likely to eat them with you. Don’t just think about the ingredients of the dish, but also consider preferences for food consistency, temperature, and seasoning.
While it is understandable some people may not be willing to completely adjust their meals to match yours, there are ways to accommodate both of your tastes and preferences so that you’re equally pleased with the meal. If your meal includes the basic healthy structure of grains, vegetables, soup, or other healthy dishes, this could open the door to flexibility and acceptance regarding one’s habits. The goal would be to eat at least one healthy dish together at each meal.
Also, it really is important to be willing to accommodate your partner within reason. For example, if they enjoy more salt than you want to consume, it is okay to bring the salt to the table and allow them to season their food separately and maintain a more mild flavor for yourself. Or, if you like blanched cabbage, and your partner doesn’t, consider making a dressing for it so they are more likely to enjoy it with you.
In some cases, it may be too difficult to make significant changes to your diet and expect your partner to be just as enthusiastic about becoming healthier as you are. One option to accommodate your partner is by creating dishes that are solely intended for you or for them. While not ideal, this may be required in order to ensure that you’re both completely satisfied with the meal.
For example, if your partner wants a meat dish, it is better to encourage them to eat it together with healthy dishes than to eat a separate meal altogether. Or, if you want a fermented or pickled dish that your partner doesn’t enjoy, or that they might find offensive, it would be better to save that dish for a different meal.
Health Craves Health
Remember, eating a healthy diet is about adding healthy dishes, not subtracting unhealthy ones. Your goal is to change the percentage of healthy to unhealthy in your diet overall. So, eating together creates a physical and energetic alignment that brings people closer together and strengthens understanding. Talking together, being engaged in a conversation, and enjoying the time together during a meal supports a healthy relationship.
One healthy food automatically opens you to many more. Foods that are high in fiber aid in the transit of other foods through your digestive system. It can also help to eliminate some of the negative impacts of an unhealthy diet. Eating poor quality foods together with healthy foods, makes them healthier.
Additionally, one healthy food causes a craving for another healthy food. And, it works both ways, one unhealthy food craves another unhealthy food. If you eat a grain, you are more likely to be attracted to a vegetable. If you eat pizza, you don’t want to drink a mild tea afterwards – you’re more likely to crave a beer or soda.
From my experience, I have seen many people make small adjustments that result in very big improvements over time. The most important aspects are flexibility, understanding, and acceptance. Sharing your thoughts and feelings about why you are making adjustments can also improve your connectedness and bring you together through that communication as well as through the food you continue to enjoy with each other. To take this one step further, once you are open to adding healthier foods into your diet, you’re more likely to be open to healthier activity and lifestyle changes. Healthier people are often more motivated to walk more, spend more time outdoors, and create a healthier home environment. So, never underestimate the value of these small changes!
For more details about maintaining a healthy, well-balanced and varying diet, consider reading “The Ultimate Guide to Eating for Longevity.” You can also get a more specific plan designed just for you by calling 1-215-271-1858 to request a macrobiotic consultation appointment with Denny.