HAWMC: Open a Book

For the month of April, I'm participating in the Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge from Wego Health. Each day I'll be writing a health-related post based on the HAWMC prompts, aiming to challenge myself as a writer and health activist. Thanks for following!

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Then an old man, a keeper of an inn, said, Speak to us of Eating and Drinking.

And he said:

Would that you could live on the fragrance of the earth, and like an air plant be sustained by the light.

-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

 I was given this book by my mom on my 18th birthday with the inscription: "Enjoy Life! Live Juicy!" It's one of my absolute favorites and always provides words of wisdom when I need them the most. I wasn't brought up in a very religious household, so I guess The Prophet is like my Bible. And how fitting, the page I turned to above!

Our health issues wouldn't exist if we ate and lived simply. Of course, that would also mean the non-existence of the modern world, technology, industry, life as we know it. But the passage above is a wonderful reminder of the importance of getting back to the land.

Each day, we're faced with thousands of choices, especially when it comes to our food. One of my rules of thumb, a Bauman-ism, is to focus on eating S.O.U.L. foods: Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed, and Local. This goes hand-in-hand with the concept of eating whole foods: unadulterated, simple foods that are as close to nature as possible.

For example, I could buy a raspberry-flavored juice, or I could eat some raspberries. I could pick up a jar of tomato pasta sauce, or I could put together 3 or 4 ingredients and do it myself. Making those lateral shifts ensures we get those important nutrients found in real food while still enjoying those flavors we crave.

I'm not a farmer. No one in my family was a farmer. I could devote my life to learning how to run a farm, grow my own vegetables and raise my own animals, but I don't think I have those skill sets! Instead, I can support the people who know what they're doing and do it with love and care. I can visit my farmer's market, go directly to the farm, or pick up the locally grown produce at the store, and make sure the experts get the recognition they deserve.

Next time you're faced with a food choice, ask yourself which option gives the greatest benefits, both to you and your local growers. Even if it's a sandwich at a cafe: does it include vegetables? Whole grain bread? Organic ingredients? Local produce? When was it made? Where was it made? A quick mental checklist before you grab your next meal can make a big difference to your health.

Even in our overstimulated modern world, it is still possible to eat simply.