Wow, it's been a long time since I’ve posted. I’ve noticed that I go through phases of hybernation where I’m just not very social, creative or, well, into doing a whole lot of anything outside of drinking wine. Maybe it's my version of seasonal affective disorder, but without the depression. I apparently get more active in the summer, when it’s nice and warm and the sun is shining down through bright blue skies.
Despite that, this past year has blessed me with a new love for cooking. Being on a shoestring budget is a large motivator, especially since both Rick and I like to eat well, and by eating well, I mean a wide variety of whole grain, non-GMO, free-range and organic foods – a bit of a challenge on the aforementioned shoestring budget. For me, this is two-fold. It’s healthier all the way around, removing things like added sugars (corn syrup is terrible for you, unless you believe the corn industry, who is trying to SELL you something … reminds me of the doctors PG&E paid for, and we know how that ended up), preservatives, hormones, etc., and it’s also satisfies my moral and spiritual ethics a little better.
What I mean by moral and spiritual ethics, as it regards to food, is what I’m supporting and enabling with my food choices, ie where does my food come from? How is it grown? What kinds of fertilizers and chemicals are used? How does this food’s production affect the environment? Are the animals I’m eating being treated humanely? Are they being fed the diet nature intended, or the one that is cheap but makes them sick unless they’re shot up with antibiotics? How are the animals processed after slaughter? What chemicals are used in the processing (labels don’t have to disclose those because they’re considered part of a process, not an ingredient – but it still ends up in your food!)? I could go on and on.
There are so many disgusting things that go on behind the scenes, none of which are apparent in the grocery isle where it’s all neatly packaged and displayed. Think about that beef when it was on the cow, standing knee deep in excrement and shoulder to shoulder with hundreds to thousands of other cows. Sound appetizing? Sound healthy? As a consumer, what happens to my food before it reaches my stomach is important to me.
As a spiritual being, the energy inherent in that food, and the energy I am sending out into the world as a result of purchasing and consuming that food is also important to me. That energy can’t be all that great if it comes from a chicken who has never seen the outside of a cage, or one of those cows in the above paragraph, or wheat that’s been grown with toxic fertilizers which cause ground water pollution and into which is Round-Up genetically engineered. How can I say I honor Mother Earth and her inhabitants if I’m financially supporting their destruction?
Pitting all of that against a restrictive budget, what is one do? Well, I became an informed consumer. The more you know, right? In my case, it’s making the choice to learn how to cook meals in a way that is friendly to my time allowance (I work 10 hour days) using affordable ingredients that satisfy our nutritional, moral and spiritual goals. So, certain things I spend money on, certain things I don’t, it depends on the processes behind them. I cut out some things, limit others, and spend the majority on the rest. I’m not perfect, but I balance it out and do my best.
As a result, I’ve become a pretty decent cook! I was always okay, but I am so much better now! And I learned that I actually enjoy cooking, who knew? I enjoy trying new things. I enjoy being able to put a meal on the table that feeds us in all ways, body, mind and spirit. I enjoy being able to cook in a way that promotes sustainable practices. It’s one more way in which I can respect Mother Earth, her inhabitants, and all of her gifts … by appreciating and cherishing them, rather than abusing her abundance.
And don't forget, I am truly lazy, and this doesn't take away from that whatsoever.