HOLISTICPEDIA FOOD: Nourishment. Sustenance. Power. Medicine. Pleasure.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1.9
I almost feel shy. How long has food been around? The dozen years I’ve been studying holistic nutrition are swallowed up by timeworn wisdom. Of grandmothers who labored in love in the garden and kitchen before we let machines mass-assemble our meals, of indigenous cultures that have known what foods serve their makeup, of the friends and teachers in the vanguard of my journey who have taught me so much. Meaning, nothing I say is new and neither is any recipe out there. But I’ve learned much since my nutritionally unconscious days; there must be a place for what my kitchen offers.
The table I set for my son is the outworking of some honest struggles in an effort to feed him right. What was…right? My study of food became very purposeful when I became a mother but along the way I discovered that what makes a kid’s gastrointestinal order happy will please any more mature digestive system. You want to nurture – not challenge – small organs, and adult organs will appreciate the same TLC. Because we are not only what we eat, but ultimately what we digest. Your ipseity will present itself sooner or later. When I speak of eating healthfully, I mean aspects broader and deeper than those of calories or the injunction that you have salad with your daily protein. I mean the preparation. The combination of ingredients. The selection of animal and plant, land and sea produce that will help pull you back to center, because we are all off kilter to varying degree. Each meal calls for balance within itself, too. A harmony of color, texture, shape.
I find God amazing in my son everyday. It takes my breath away having watched my baby thrive into his own person. He has depended on what I put in his mouth to develop his brain, muscle, bone, synapses. We give less thought to the indispensable function of food for ourself because we have developed. We’re as tall as we’re going to get. But nutritive food is no less useful or vital to us. With what are we going to fuel our brain, clean our blood, strengthen tissue — if not what we put in our mouth? That is, real food, nutrients intact? When Adam and Eve felt under the weather outside the gates of Paradise, they didn’t pop Tylenol or even a vitamin capsule. They drew from the resources of the earth to balance their bodies. All to say, my goal as Tennyson’s personal caterer and health care provider has been to maximize the nutrition from whole foods. Chef and Dr. Mom, one and the same.
Anyone can make anything taste good with the help of sugar and dairy. Since you’re here on a site that serves you meal suggestions apart from these tantalizers, you likely are familiar with the pandora’s box of trouble they can be. In addition to the gluten, sugar, cow dairy, yeast that my recipes forebear, what is unique about my cooking is its nutritional alchemy. I build food from the level of nutritive chemistry, keeping in mind food combinations that digest well – which often means simplicity. Very important for kids’ growing bodies. Paul Pitchford teaches that the greater the number of ingredients in a meal, the more they tax and confuse the gastrointestinal system. The gluten-free world seems blissfully unaware of the liberty it takes with the sugar as well as fusion of ingredients that burden digestion – often mixing meat, dairy, flour in two or all three aggregates to produce what appeals to the palate.
I aim also for balance – of nutrients, shape, texture, thermal nature of foods – within each meal. So elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy and the Macrobiotics practice that borrows from it infuse my recipes. To condense over 2000 years of TCM as only a well-meaning neophyte would attempt: the body is a holistic reflection of energy within as well as without. Health is balance of this energy and therefore harmony with the laws of nature that govern macrocosmic life force. Different foods drive energy up, down, in, out of the body; and like our environment, are cooling or warming. Macrobiotics, which simply means long life, applies these principles with fare that balances each meal for optimal vitality – that is, ignition potential – of body, mind, and spirit. The cornerstones of the practice are energy, synergy, and harmony of foods. TCM in particular is old and deep far beyond my ken. All I can do is bear in mind some of its most elemental wisdom.
So welcome to my holistic table. Holistic in the consciousness that we each are an individual embodiment of the universe and that eating in accordance with principles of nature offers the sweet fruit of health. The table I present family and friends is my labor of love – to bless, nourish, rejuvenate. I invite you to my place of fellowship. The science and art of cooking to heal and revitalize stand as a hallowed privilege for me.