Classes Forming in Ashland and Medford Now
A Simple Starting Point for dietary Change
Being of an experimental nature and needing my experience to prove understanding to myself, I embarked on the inward journey of dietary study. Knowing that myself in particular, has always had a great enjoyment of culinary tastes and flavors (was a chef for many years), I decided to “test” some of the teachings I received from my teachers and studies. As a chef, I was able to eat both quantity and quality of every kind of food, to my hearts desire, and let me tell you in all honesty- I have indulged, to a degree that only people in the culinary field have had the access to. If you have worked in the field them you know what I am alluding to...It all came crashing down one fine day when I went to work early (as I often did) to have an early meal before my shift. When you are around food everyday for long periods of time, your olfactory sense get warped, confused and you must eat before your nose interprets smells as “having already eaten”; smell can also be very filling to the mind and digestive sense. So, on this day, I was pondering what to eat and was having trouble picking something as often happens when you can anything you want, and I can to conclusion of what my great desire had lead me to and found myself making a lobster sandwich! OMG, when I came to my senses, I realized something was definitely “not right” (I wasn't even really enjoying it...wow, crazy), and so I began the slow trek to explore changes and detaching myself from my total desire-based relationship with nourishment (I know, kind of a long lead-in, bare with me).
I began by paying more attention to how I was attracted to foods and when, I noticed certain cravings and patterns and it bothered me that I really had borderline addictive behaviors; I felt weak to those cravings. I also noticed that foods that were “more dense” were favored and eating was only satiated when I was “over-full” and sleepy from over-eating. Most foods gave me a sense of tiredness except for certain ones but largely I had self-trained myself to over-nurtrifying myself. When we over-eat regularly, we tax the heart as more blood is channeled to the heart that is needed to digest the excess of food and not to the other organs and systems of the body. When we eat foods that the body interprets as poison, mucus is formed in the mouth and throat. Also eating excessive amounts of the same foods such as in the case of food-cravings, causes allergic reactions which starts with mucus and later more severe symptoms. Even water can be a poison if drunk excessively or any food that is considered healthy taken in excess. So the general guideline is of course moderation; easily said but in a world where access to any and all foods in relatively easy and cheap and self-discipline at an all time low (generally speaking), we find ourselves to be at the mercy of our own weaknesses and self-inflicting our own imbalances in one form or another. If this sentence angers you, makes you feel “not good” or invokes a series of mental justifications or blaming, just notice that and let it build....we all have the option to channel these type of feelings to change our current limitations. That is really all I am trying to say, no judgment here for I too know the struggle all to well to judge others for being caught in the web of having mostly anything we want, when ever we want it...very tempting to say the least!!
We live in the information age and so much is available on the subject of diet and nutrition- trouble is, all the opinions mixed with marketing and the newest craze and fad causes confusion and the hope that it will somehow, not be difficult or provide us with a short-cut...not gonna happen....least ways, nothing you won't pay a heavier price for or only be a short term benefit that will lead you back to the original problem. What seems to be the long road is in reality the short path and the sustainable way, my advice is to invest in yourself and the longer term growth and development process of your own self care.
Ok, off the proverbial soapbox and a simple beginnings...I was asked by some of my students to offer a recipe for what could be a morning whole food foundation, something that I eat very regularly in the mornings that fortifies nutrition, extends blood sugar, cleans the digestive tract and basically feeds the entire bodily systems that is “bullet-proof” on every level of health-balance...so here is my recommendation:
I use a combination of mixed whole grains, the ones I mention are not “the correct combination”, but more a reflection of the ones I have favor with or contain a food profile beneficial to me and my constitution. That being said, they are safe for all and perhaps could be viewed as starting point for adding/subtracting what works for you as you learn more.
- Depending on the time of the year (season), I put more or less of these grains and sometimes I roast the barley in the winter to boost the warming effect. For this recipe, start with equal parts, them perhaps study the food profile on them (qualities of that grain from both a Chinese and American perspective) and also learn about your own constitution.
Hulled Barley /White Quinoa /Red Quinoa /Kasha or Roasted Buckwheat / Rye flakes or Berries / Golden Flax seeds / Corn meal (preferably non-industrial)
In every case, we should seek organic grains or home-grown but for the sake of beginning, do
the best you can and keep moving towards higher standards.
3. In the case of fluid, good water is always basic but you may also use “last nights soup” as a base or finish with a scoop of miso to bolster the nutritional content. Some folks like their morning grains more savory and some like it more sweet; myself, I like both ways and together, just depends on the day, what I might have left-over and what my body wants/needs. It is a traditional method to put anything that creates nutrition into your morning “grain-soup or porridge”. Vegetables, meats, dried fruits, aromatic spices....it can be a “catch-all” dish that can have infinite variety to it.
Lastly, I finish my bowl of grain porridge off with a small amount of Almond milk and butter in it; thats what I like but it is not necessary if that is not your preference. Please think of this recipe as open-ended and feel free to experiment with it. I am sharing this with you in hopes of:
Stimulating more whole grain/food consumption as a dietary benefit
cleansing the digestive tract
extension of blood sugar
regulating food cravings
moderate over-all food consumption
These are just a few of the benefits of returning to a more whole food diet. It is important to take baby-steps and learn to feel the benefits as the greater support for making changes...I hope this is useful for those of you wanting to help yourselves in the area of diet...
Back to top
A Refinement Process
When we speak about “learning or re-learning how to learn”, we may notice, in many cases, that there is a feeling of sensitivity or uncomfortable-ness that comes with this thought. After all, we have learned things, we are not stupid and in fact feel pretty smart. This statement and the feeling you have (whatever it may be) is a useful point of reference. When teaching is observed, we can see many methods used to teach or guide others. Some work better than others (a vague reference), some we like how it was taught or the context more (a point for clarity, still pretty general reference). Some things we learn are hard or boring, or we don't understand why we need to learn whatever it is. As my teacher would often remind me:”Personal preference, NO GOOD”... (he didn't speak much english)
(We are observing 'feeling intelligence' in relation to How we Learn, in a more open way...perhaps with the interest of improving or including more learning abilities.) Too often preference (what we like or dis-like) interferes will learning even when we innately feel that it is necessary.
What we 'sense' is our primary or first place of perception. All of the senses, when activated or engaged (which is every moment), send signals to the heart FIRST. The heart relays the feeling to the brain and the brain interprets, translates, compares and files the information (filing is a reference to memory). This is “basic mechanics” of heart/mind union or lack there of. Re-learning how to learn relies on the correct alignment and agreement between heart/mind to maintain correct body/mind systemic rhythms; circulations,Prioritizing, discernment, boundaries, energy levels,moving through fears,consideration for others, timing, decisions...the list goes on, you get the picture. When there is injury from the past, anything that did not complete in the healing process, interference, limitations and/or stagnations with natural intelligence and bodily functions becomes affected and un-natural. Learning, development and regenerative capacity that is a natural process of continual refinement is now subject to finite or “box-like” interpretation. The possibility of stagnation, blockage, parallelization, imbalance, lack of connection, accumulation/residue and or a-rhythmic behavior exists depending on our own functional self-care and healing capacity. It is as simple as defining learning or development as “Break-Through Capacity”.This type of self-observation is required to unravel the Gordian Knot of the Past and the patterns that take from our life-force. Past Traumas usually are not spotted in the early stages because we have strong survival instincts that attempt to cover external showings of weakness , showing weakness is in direct conflict with survival instincts and we also have to deal with the Ego and how weakness also offends and/or diminishes our ability to function or act upon something.
Never the less, the signs are there, the feelings, not far off, and the intelligence to notice and begin helping ourselves is just waiting for a 'good road map', a context to identify the condition and a way to find the points of reference along the way....., our innate relational perceptions. If we can summon the courage and fortitude to consider this very deep level of return to our innate natural intelligence...on-going and until we achieve our desired result, we will experience a sense of general relief and an increase of consciousness related to common sensing and over-all intelligence. While considering all this may seem...somewhat abstract and confusing, it is really just basic to Heart/Mind union and functional ways to help ourselves, have flexible relationships and consider the environments and effects of our thoughts, words and actions. We leave ourselves “clues” all day long as to what is still needed to heal from our past, dysfunctional patterns that could evolve, lack of consideration for each other and environments we share and pollute. Actively wanting to change ways we create problems is based in sincerity and the ability to see things from a more neutral perspective. Making choices or course changes requires a more whole perspective and a lack of bias or attraction/repulsion to have clear discernment.
This is the Internal essence of Lineage Tai Chi practice and the basis for personal healing, adaptive nature and evolutionary development as it was shared with me....it is also my personal experience after 35 yrs. practice that started in a skeptical framework of hope and disbelief....There are direct methods and in-direct methods....what we like and dislike....it all works in learning if we let it....
Michael Vasquez, Instructor Transformation Arts
Back to top