I do one Facebook post a year, entitled, “Further Evidence I’m Not Dead Yet.” It’s a way to thanks folks for their birthday wishes and take a photo to chronicle my vitality.
I’m immensely grateful to be this healthy.
My mother was a health food nut and worked hard to feed us well. She was a disciple of Linus Pauling and I remember being in kindergarten taking my 500mg of vitamin C every morning at breakfast. They were huge robins egg blue and I was proud I could choke it down without complaint. We got our eggs from Harry and Edna Dietrich, who lived over the hill and unpasteurized milk, before it got picked up by the dairy, from another neighbor up the road. Our food came from the garden or the local farmer’s market and the meat we raised on the farm or bought from neighbors.
Living in the ashram, I was fascinated with the relationship between diet and consciousness.
I became macrobiotic, inspired by George Ohsawa and Michio Kushi. I joke that as I became more grim I became macro-neurotic and finally, for a period of time, a fully blown macro-psychotic. I led group fasting retreats for years at Kripalu Center, did a six month immersion into the living foods diet at the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico - nothing heated above 112 degrees. In my studies I’ve done high colonics, panchakarma retreats, had my tongue read, my nails interpreted and taught people how to analyze their poop.
Part of my good health is genetic. I take after one side of my family in particular. They are tall, skinny folk who, as my dad used to say, ‘Have to be nailed in their coffins.’
Part of my good health is lifestyle. I try to listen to my body and what gives me energy.
I’m a lot more relaxed about what I eat, though, than ever before.
A turning point for me was a time in the ashram when I was particularly grim and fanatic about diet. I was frustrated how the kitchen was falling short in providing us the purest foods possible.
I laid out my case with one of the directors, complaining they needed to seriously up-level their offerings.
“Let me ask you just one question,” he said. “What do happy people eat?”
I paused and after a few moments said, “OK. I get it. I’m done.”
When studies revealed the French were healthier than Americans even though they ate more fat, alcohol and sugar, no one could figure out why. Maybe it was the wine! They isolated resveratrol, a chemical in red wine and started marketing that as a supplement.
No one thought to measure happiness while eating and the fact that French meals were eaten over a long period of time in a relaxed setting. As my friend and fellow ashram-mate Marc David, founder of The Institute for the Psychology of Eating says, “Food is best consumed in a state of celebration.”
That seems to be the key.
Happiness leads to relaxation. Relaxation leads to moving out of the linear confines of the mind. Moving out of the linear mind opens us to new possibilities and to what is actually happening.
From that place, we respond rather than react.
A votre santé.