Open to Nourish
Food and sex are similar in a few ways, but not in a very important way. You can be sexually celibate your whole life, but you can’t be nutritionally celibate for long. Ergo, food is more important than anything else in life and yet Merkins expect it to be cheap in every way.
The Tao of Chow is about my journey to find answers to questions that were not asked. After years of research and self-awareness, I actually have answers for my health food questions that may help to inform you. All my research has been conducted on me. I was Macrobiotic, I was vegan, I was Atkins, I was Paleo before it was a ‘thing.’
This book was researched from 1970 until I wrote it down in 1997. At that time it was so far ahead of its time that only a select few were open to it. I published it as a copy-book and sold 200. I have a few fans. They love the book. Evidently it is written in my sassy voice, which is a good thing. It was self published; not a great plan for an author with no talent or ability for marketing. There it sat. In the meantime I have revised it and updated a bit.
A century ago everyone ate butter and lard and heart disease was almost unheard of; cancer was rare. WWII brought us soybean oil, which smart marketers sold as health food and margarine was born. The grandparents called it ‘oleo’ and I was born into it in 1950. That date is so far away now. It used to feel quite youthful. I thought, “That date is close and and so I am still young. Some day it will be far away like the grandparents’ dates; 1895 and 1900.
Soy, A New Tradition
For decades we ate soy products made from the oil that was originally squeezed for machine parts. Yes, really! A corporation bought some scientists who told us to eat it, they had studied and concluded. They wore white coats and smoked cigarettes with conviction, so we had to believe in them. But soy was never GRAS for food stuffs, only for cardboard box preservative.
“GRAS” is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognized As Safe. Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive. http://www.fda.gov/foodingredientspackaginglabeling/gras
We went through a period of eating no fats. We went through a period of eating no carbohydrates, no grains, no this no that, but in the long run none of these trends have served individuals. I had to ask, “Why don’t we know the studies that proved the opposite of the current commercial catechism?” Those studies do not serve corporate sales for products supposedly designed to improve our state of health.
Nutrition for Profit
Not until recently has a new trend surfaced. This new trend tells us of the poisonous chemicals in our foods and medicines that are causing irreparable harm to our bodies. The final step toward enlightened dining is waking up to animal cruelty in the form of wrong feeding, heinous overcrowding and normalized abuse in the factory farms. The list of abuse for profit goes on, and it hurts us all.
Life is not a race. Soak your grains and allow the yogurt to ferment. The ultimate cure for what ails us will be relationships. From within our giant collectives we must make peace with our neighbors and grow food; raise animals with right diets, giving them merciful deaths.
The dark is not your enemy. Death is not the enemy; suffering is.
I started writing this book in my head around age 10 to help my mother get well. I intuited that she needed a different diet; that something she ate on a regular basis was hurting her. Schizophrenic and Bipolar, my parents were poster people for the ‘Days of Wine and Roses’. Well, my dad wasn’t really. He was a simple and loving enabler. We didn’t talk about mental and addictive problems in those days. We just said ‘those people’ were wrong and bad, and we left it at that, which is why they would not cop to their issues. They ‘partied on’ until it got to them and they died six weeks apart in their fifties. Mom first, then Dad; because he felt responsible for her and could not leave her crazy ass for strangers to care for.
“They wouldn’t be nice to her, Julie. You know how hard it is to deal with her.” Sadly I did, because I was her errand girl and nurse maid from 10 on. After she died my dad begged me to buy him vodka and sit with him while he died of alcohol poisoning. At age 32 I was not equipped to care for him in this way. My shame was too great. I took my father to the VA hospital where they cruelly cold-turkeyed him from booze. He would have died of his leukemia soon, but that was just mean. He had known it before hand. Obviously, that was why he wanted his comfortable basement death while regaling me with the stories I had heard since the day I learned to speak English. I was too immature to do this for the man who fathered me; who loved my voice like a ‘tinkling bell.’ I was raw, desperate and angry, for the so-called deprivations of my childhood.
During the 60s, Valium, Darvon and martinis were Mom’s usual fare. Poor dear; and I must confess that I was angry with her and really hated her for many years during my young adulthood. She hated me beyond all reason. My brother and father commented to each other about ‘why mom hates Julie so much?’, but neither one of them did anything to improve the situation. No one knew what to do. They couldn’t help her because the word for her condition wasn’t yet invented- Schizoaffective Disorder. While she got electric shock every few years, I got to go live with my Granny, who never said a mean word about anyone, much less me. I would have been content to stay with my grandparents, but like all good things, that ended. I had to go home to look into her dead eyes while obeying her orders. I Believe ‘sharing is caring’. So I share.
Between medical incompetence, culinary convenience, personal habits, we make incorrect choices that perpetuate our misery. The food we eat for the very first time in our lives will train our brains to want that forever. So what do we give babies? Saltine crackers and canned baby food. Hmmm. So much for well balanced adults. Refined flours are essentially the same as powdered drugs. The product is far from its original source, thus rendering it toxic. So mom ate her preferred diet of drugs, white bread and commercial ice cream.
We thought my mother was stubborn and mean; she was. But she was also addicted to the things that self medicated her condition; some drugs and some foods. Between those two things, she finally crashed and burned at age 54, choking on her vomit on a basement couch, on the eastern edge of Kansas. It took me twenty years to feel sad about losing her.