Can our food culture sustain our hearts, minds and bodies?

Once upon a time, I was married to an unconventional man who did not believe in the system of health insurance and was passionate about what we eat and how we feed our children.

The days we were raising our family in the City of Angels (L.A.), we grew our own backyard vegetable garden two crops a year and cooked every meal from scratch. Initially inspired, eager to follow my husband’s beliefs, I vigorously read up on everything I could on the relationship between food and disease or health, and learned traditional folk remedies from my Japanese elders. If I could not rely on the otherwise costly medical system, how else was I to keep myself and my family healthy?

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However, our home life in L.A. was unhappy with so many rules around what was right to cook, right to eat or do anything. The criticism, judgments and tension around the dinner table were not helpful to my family.

I have since come to believe there is such a thing as a balance and moderation. In the teachings of Aikido, a martial art, the word ‘chudo’ translates as ‘the middle path,’ meaning avoiding the extremes and finding balance.

Eventually, I came to value acceptance, appreciation, peace of mind and open-mindedness as ingredients for creating emotional safety and a more solid foundation in our home. Since those long-gone days, although our marriage did not survive, my older children now have thanked us for raising them without junk food. I like taking responsibility for the physical and emotional health of my family.

I like knowing where my food comes from, and consider our bodies like a microcosm of the planet; if our waterways and ocean are contaminated, that affects the ecosystem as a whole. When our bloodstream is polluted with artificial ingredients, chemicals, pesticides or hormones, this will create imbalance, disease and impact our overall well-being.

Today, I feel fortunate to be living in Lillooet, blessed with a salmon run from the Fraser River, and finding a wealth of fresh local seasonal foods and bountiful harvest.

I love getting up in the morning picking fresh raspberries; our raised beds grew a variety of vegetables and herbs. This past week, we picked and froze the last of our peaches for making smoothies, dried sliced crab apples in a dehydrator, air-dried mint put away for tea and processed some apple sauce.

Seeing an increase in local organic farmers, hops production, an organic bakery in town, a number of food security and sustainability initiatives such as Seedy Saturday, LAFS,

AMLEC and a winery growing in popularity, it feels like a Food Renaissance is happening in Lillooet.

I am grateful for the health smarts I learned during my first marriage, for the

community we have, enjoying the occasional party foods and feeling content with my

‘chudo,’ a more balanced middle path.

 

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