What does “I am on a diet” mean to many? Restriction, fatigue, difficult portion calculations, are often associated with discomfort and attachment to seeing a number on the scales. In fact, diet is a way of life.
Choosing to make our own food, choosing the best and as little processed food as possible, clean food from chemical pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. Consume as many organic products as possible. Being cognizant in which region our food comes from and by what means it has been cultivated / grown and the correct and fair distribution are some of the things that are a set of habits. Everything matters, and beyond the moral satisfaction one can feel having made the fairest possible choices, supporting small local producers, it is a way of reminding ourselves of the place and the time we are in.
It is very important to know the products of each season. The variety of products of each season also regulates digestive enzymes. From these enzymes arises the variety of the intestinal microbiome and we give the body time to “crave” some food, and the taste buds to look for new flavors that suit every season. For example, delicious hot soups in winter and cool fruit salads in summer, are choices made in connection with the external environment and the needs of the body. Respectively, there is no reason to eat cherries and watermelon in January. If we do not have this variety and we eat constantly the same foods, intolerances and allergies to food that we consume often or daily are created.
Every food we choose to enter our body has a whole journey until it is decomposed and finally the body absorbs as many nutrients as possible. The quality of the raw material is what matters until the final stage in which each cell finds the trace elements and is nourished properly, converting food into pure form of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate).
The exceptional quality and ability we have to combine food with memories, automatically leads us to distinguish when it is time to consume everything. The images that one might have from the village climbing in the fig trees to find the fresh figs in August, makes it clear that then is the season of fresh figs. And when this time of the year comes, we often remember and combine the taste by describing a story. Which works on multiple levels. We must taste and enjoy everything, with balance and inner connection. Understanding for every ingredient if it benefits us or if it bothers us. Highlighting and choosing the right combinations in order to meet our physical needs based on our daily lives, and the need for variety in taste options.
Nutrition is more than just calories and minerals. In some practices such as T.C.M. and Ayurveda, food is divided into its energy, into something more yang and therefore warm and into something more yin and therefore cold. The choice of food is based on the temperament of the individual, and the season. A more Yang type of person in the winter needs a different diet than a Yin type of person. Practically this means that the Yin type is someone who will have a distaste of the cold and will want to be warm, with blankets and holding a hot cup of tea, while the Yang type is the one who can be dressed with short-sleeved during winter. For the first type e.g. a mushroom soup in the winter will be a suitable choice, and for the second type a mushroom risotto. Let’s not forget the changes our body goes through with each age, per period of our lives, even if we exercise more or less, our work and all our habits determine our nutritional needs. In T.C.M. the most essential part of the food nourishes the quintessence and the sperm (in both man and woman), so the best and purest part of the food is directed and becomes the most valuable treasure of the body. Let us consider e.g. the habit of eating junk food often, how this translates into ancestral energy, this means for the western perception oxidative stress, poor blood circulation in blood vessels and accumulation of toxins in the blood and organs.
It is time to remind ourselves of these simple but also so important things and not to lose the motivation for self-care. It all comes back to the way we treat ourselves first before we think about our relationships, roughly, if I have the appetite to take care of myself then I can ask for it from another person because I know what I want. With respect for our uniqueness, our mental mood but also with awareness, we can choose at any time what we need. We have the gift of choice. The key word is balance.