eatomology's blog

Is Bleaching Your Face Really A 'Proactive' Acne Solution?

Is Bleaching Your Face Really A 'Proactive' Acne Solution?

We usually prefer to be skeptical.  It feels powerful and triumphant and requires a minimum of risk.  So, why are we not skeptical when it is suggested that what we eat has nothing to do with how our faces look?  It is even more peculiar when we realize we have long digested (ahem) the idea that what we eat certainly has to do with how our bodies look.

A Case Study In The Mood of Food: The Inner Peelings of Artichokes

 

An artichoke heart is actually a flower bud we choose to not let blossom, so that we can make it into our food. But long before we find it pickled and pasteurized in a glass jar somewhere, it had a life, a character and a mood of its own -- to which many a pricked finger can attest.

We generally regard food for its value as a nutrient or as a stimulant for the palate.  Often ignored is the food's character or mood.  Take for example, the artichoke.  It is beautiful and complex, enigmatic in its application as an ingredient, and mostly feared.  This is why most know it only in its finished form as an ingredient.  Our first encounter normally finds it already dismembered, its heart pickling in a glass jar.  It would be far more rewarding to meet it in its wild, raw, self-possessed form defying its status as an object – inviting us to consider its mood.

Mood is commonly understood to refer to a particular state of mind, a temporary internal state.  With regard to our food, mood gives us a context for fully appreciating the complex interaction between the consumer and the consumed.  Our experiences, history and movement on this plane determine our mood.  So it is for our food.  It is not just an object to be consumed but also a subject, a character that will inject itself into our experience.

Have We Stripped Our Food Of Its Story?

Have We Stripped Our Food Of Its Story?

Food has lost its story. Stripped of context, meaning, and reduced to its molecular composition, ancient recipes for health and joy long to be recovered.

Recipes are ancient prescriptions for health, loved and labored into being by our ancestors.  Responding to necessity and a primordial desire to experience pleasure and satiety while doing so, those who came before us perfected their edible relationship to their land and their culture. The result: codified combinations of nutrients, tastes, smells, modes of preparation and sourcing, which we know as recipes, and without which we would not be here, alive today reflecting on the subject.

If food, as Hippocrates said, is medicine, knowing and applying the proper dose and combinations – the recipe – will make the difference between a food, a dish, being healing or harmful.  In this sense, recipes are prescriptions.  In fact, the first literal use of the word 'recipe' was in the 1580's when for the French it meant (and still means) medical prescriptions. Handed down initially through oral tradition, recipes contain information no less fundamental to our well-being and survival, than the DNA within our genome.

ORTHOREXIA: The Wrong Way To Eat Right

ORTHOREXIA: The Wrong Way To Eat Right

Sadly but perhaps unsurprisingly we humans misuse our capacity for opinion .  Opinion, it seems, routinely grows from glib, divisive listening.  What we take in is parsed into I agree or I disagree; into I like this or I don't like thatThat's right is pitted against that's wrongAlways do this. Never do that.  How did we arrive here?  How did everything we think and do become partisan? Maybe it has risen insipidly from the loam layer of our humanity, where fear resides.  Our fear of death, of the unknown and unknowable and our fear of losing control points us on this path?  All of our manifestations of control are a response to feeling that dizzying compulsion to take back our fate. 

Products of our enculturation, we work, raise families and navigate relationships mechanically without mastery. All we have left to control is what we eat. We see this manifest itself innocently in children who go through food jags and refuse to eat food of a certain color or texture or food that touches a food they dislike. These are the initial stirrings of our pretending.  So great becomes the pretense that we believe it to be true: we do command our destiny.  The filtration process begins to penetrate our way of experiencing our food and eating.

Reductionism: Dinner Goes To Pieces

Reductionism: Your Dinner Goes To Pieces

We say nothing essential about the cathedral when we speak of its stones. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900 - 1944)

It was Aldous Huxley who described the brain as a "reducing valve".[i] The mind, exposed to a theoretically infinite number of experiences, breaks down and synthesizes chunks of the infinite into intelligible thoughts, words, and memories. In fact, the central function of the brain, purported Huxley, was not to expand consciousness, but to keep it from spinning off into limitlessness by reducing its awareness into much smaller, more manageable fragments. The brain, therefore, is not that which makes expansive consciousness possible, but rather that which limits it.

And so, we distill a piece of this infinity -- lest we be swallowed and digested by it -- into an ego, whose main role, is to deny that we are more than this illusion of finitude.  Humans, perched both preeminently and precariously on top of the food chain, must reduce other things, or be reduced by other organisms. Digest or be digested;dominate or be dominated.  These laws of survival infuse cultural patterns with unnecessary and misdirected behaviors, however.

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