Gratitude & Why Food Matters

I used to do a Gratitude Friday post here, but I think I’d like to try starting the week off with a gratitude post, instead.

One of the guided meditations I’ve been listening to and practicing, includes this wonderful section:

The breath is flowing in and out of the heart – for a moment, feel that the breath flows in with a sense of gratitude.

Gratitude for your life.

Gratitude for the people who’ve loved you.

Yesterday, the whole world here was coated in a layer of ice, and I woke up to a call from a neighbor saying that our horse was out running around the neighborhood.  Not my favorite way to wake up, but he came back in quickly and easily.  Ben has some sort of achy cold, but luckily while the baby napped, I was able to go outside and mend the gate that had been busted down, and string up new wire along the top of the fence to try and deter more break-outs.  As I walked along the fenceline, stringing wire, weaving among icy branches and mud puddles, that really is how I felt – grateful for my life.  Grateful that my husband and children were inside, safe and warm and alive.  Grateful that they love me, and that I try my hardest to love them.

I also couldn’t help but keep thinking about how food matters, and what we feed our children and their minds matters.  Organic, nourishing foods – mostly vegetables, pasture-raised animal meat and  fats, lacto-fermented foods, sourdough breads, reduced sugars, raw milk – these things matter.  If it’s not enough to scare your pants off that 1 in 4 Americans will now get cancer, and that 27% of Americans currently have diabetes, maybe Newtown is scary enough.  In all honesty, I don’t listen to the news, but I’m pretty confident that no one is talking about nutrition as a factor in mass murders.  And why not?  Mental illness and behavioral disorders are hugely affected by diet – give lab rats a diet based mostly on refined carbohydrates (like white flour and white potatoes) and sugar/corn syrup, and they literally go insane.  People do too.  Families with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder and other behavioral issues/mental illnesses are proving again and again that pretty simple diet changes have life-changing, life-saving effects.  So why are we not even talking about something so simple?  Why do we feed schoolchildren the dregs of the industrial food system?

I don’t talk usually rant about organic foods and nourishing foods here, partly because I guess that a lot of my readers are already on board with them, but maybe some of you aren’t.  Maybe some of you don’t know that you’re unknowingly feeding yourself and your family GMOs every time you eat non-organic diary, eggs, meat, corn products, soy products, and sweets.  If you haven’t made the switch, please think about it today.  Take the money you were going to use for those last Christmas presents and set it aside.  Your children, your family, don’t need more toys, or dance lessons, or soccer games as much as they need nourishing foods.  You don’t need a fancy car, an Iphone, a faster laptop, a vacation, a remodeled kitchen . . .

Your body and your brain do need proper food in order to function healthily.  When you sit down to do your budget for 2013, please put organic foods in your budget first, and then work in your other numbers.  We need to stop fooling ourselves that what we eat doesn’t matter very much.  It matters in so many ways, and this week, remember Newtown and how it matters what we feed our minds.  And, it’s not that expensive.   As Joel Salatin said, “If you think organic food’s expensive, have you priced cancer lately?”  Have you priced mass murders?

I’m not saying that gun control isn’t important, or that support and care for the mentally ill can’t be improved.  But I am saying that without sound nutrition, your body and brain DO NOT WORK.  Period.

Thank you for thinking about it, friends.  If you need help getting started, I suggest Nourishing Traditions, for a lot of good background information.  You can search here, too, for recipes and meal planning.  And if you have questions, I will do my best to help you.

Thanks for sharing this space with me, friends.



16 Responses to “Gratitude & Why Food Matters”

  1. 1
    Holly Malinowski

    Adrie,Thanks for the morning message,its totally right!!!!Since last year when I started living 60% on your beans and grains,fresh fruits and veggies from my land only,and raw milk ,my cancer has gone into remission .Doc says there is no other reason he can see other than that!!!I am also very lucky,I can afford these things,and I am blessed with ALL my children,who make everyday worth fighting for!!!Your family is beautiful,and so are you!!!We are both truely blessed!!!!!HUGS,Hol :):)

  2. 2

    Amen to that Adrie. There’s been a lot of discussion in the UK recently about food and poverty, and I have been shocked at both how little some people spend on food, and at how much some people spend on things to eat which are not, in my opinion, food. It seems like the real poverty around food is not so much monetary, but in skills and knowledge – people have forgotten how to nourish themselves.

  3. 3

    Very well put, and my thoughts exactly!

  4. 4

    I look forward to rereading this one and giving it a think. I sit here, 1 week away from moving out of state. The neuralgia I retained from getting shingles earlier this year is flaring up as a result of the stress, and my diet hitting the fast food drive-thrus this week is abysmal. I look forward to better living in the new year.

  5. 5

    Thanks, Adrie, for approaching this tragedy from a different perspective. Nourishing Traditions has been a most welcome addition to my cookbook collection. Though I still struggle with a love of all things sugary, I am reminded that I am not a pleasant person after a steady diet of this crap. And, if I’m honest with myself, I feel like crap as well — more prone to impatience, petty outbursts towards those I love most, and even feelings of depression/lethargy.

    This is all to say, of course, thank you for reminding us of the importance of wholesome, nourishing foods…

  6. 6

    Hey Adrie,

    I agree with you about the importance of whole foods and believe that they are important for sound mental as well as physical health. However, I think that serious mental illness is real and has causes deeper than what could be fixed by eating whole foods. We do not know why murdering psychopaths exist, and even worse, our society is not set up in a way to help them, or to help prevent mass murders. Your advice is good on a person to person level, as in, every person will benefit themselves and their families by eating better. But that isn’t going to stop horrific events like Newtown. I think we need to get our government to take mental health as a serious issue and to do something to help those people.

    Keep up the good work, please!

  7. 7

    Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement – I added a bit to my post, to make it clear that I do agree that more support for mental illness is necessary – I’m mostly trying to add a thought to this issue that I know most people won’t be bringing up.

  8. 8

    Great points! Thanks so much for your encouragement.

  9. 9

    Wishing you luck in the new year!

  10. 10

    Thanks so much Zillah! I have literally had customers tell me organic food is too expensive, and then get into their Lexus and drive away. Sigh. I think you put it beautifully, that the real poverty is skills and knowledge.

  11. 11

    What wonderful news! So many blessings, indeed, and thank you for sharing here!

  12. 12

    [...] attachment villages and also about nutritional deficits, and she sends me an article by Adrie at Fields and Fire who says, “Mental illness and behavioral disorders are hugely affected by diet – give lab rats [...]

  13. 13

    Thanks Adri – YES I totally agree. My brain DOES NOT function right when I eat like crap (excuse my language). Any kind of sugar, even honey or maple syrup, and I am depressed within a few hours, in a place that I just don’t EVER go when I don’t eat those things. I tend to yell at my kids more, have a very short temper, and just feel awful and down. Everything appears bad and hard. Just like Emily commented above.

    I am blessed with an amazing farm life, amazing family, time to think about what we want to feed our kids, and enough organic local food that we can choose not to eat at restaurants that serve GMO foods (which is most of them, but THANKFULLY not your bakery – that’s the only place we eat out now). But we choose to vote with our dollars, and choose whole, organic foods, and spend a lot less than people who buy prepared stuff. And we are more balanced and grateful because of it. You are what you put in your body. There are a lot of resources out there, but Nourishing Traditions or the GAPS diet are great places to start, even just to learn about what’s ideal, then make SMALL changes from there. Nice to hear someone talking about this, thank you!!

  14. 14

    Interesting, very interesting…and debatable.
    When something as horrific as the recent mass murder occures, we as a society tend to rush and look for the culprit, the easy and obvious one. In this case gun control and health care. But too often we ignore the root of the problem and, should I add, what nourishes it’s roots! It’s too complex,, the results seem too distant, uncertain.Then each of us has our personnal beliefs that…complete our view of the situation, some will say the anwser is in education, some will say it’s in religion/spirituality and others will see it in nurishment. Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree with you but I’m frustrated because I don’t believe one angle with help anything. Our modern society needs to be cured as a whole; I believe you are very right to speak up for surely good healthy food is a part of it, maybe even a big part of it for the ramification of nutritious food for all would transform society in depth.
    So what can we do? I really don’t know. Thinking about the reasons and the solutions is a good start, speaking up about them is even better (thank you), taking action in correspondance with our beliefs at our own levels, is in my mind the best course of action (you are a bit of a role model for me in this domain! : ) ). But above all working together, combining efforts is imperative as there are many angels that are worthy and I think not one approche is absolute. Too often we do not listen to each other nor do we accept that the angels that others choose are as worthy as our own. Our petty disputes lead us away from what got us all motivated in the first place, finding a solution, curing the problem from it’s roots and ensuring a heathy growth from hense forth.
    Sorry for writing so much today but you really got me thinking! My “cheval de bataille” is also nutritious food and education as Zillah pointed out “skills and knowlege” are sorefully lacking nowadays!!! I just need to remember to listen and work with others who arn’t necessarly on the same page as me but arn’t wrong either. Thank you for getting me thinking!!
    Happy Holidays!

  15. 15

    Thank you for sharing all your thoughts! I agree that it’s very complex, just wanted to add another dimension to the discussion :)

  16. 16

    Thanks Sarah!!

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