Friday, August 13, 2010

Thoughts, nearly two years later.

The food system is broken because my body is broken. I am mending my body. The food system will mend, and I will be a part of it. I will live to see a healed, sustainable, and nourishing food system. (July 30, 2010)


What sustains me cannot be sustained around me. (July 30, 2010)


I was overweight and underweight in a span of five years. (July 30, 2010)


My mother has always told me, "Balance. It's all about balance." (July 30, 2010)


If it's anything that will live beyond us humans, it will be bacteria. As I sat down for lunch earlier today which consisted of fish, raw & fermented vegetables, and loads of spices, I couldn't help but notice and cringe a bit at the cobwebs, grease, and multiple smells throughout the house. I stepped outside, and my body immediately coalesced with the sun's warmth. My mind found ease and clarity. The food on my plate was heavenly. It was loaded with good bacteria, enzymes, and nutrients surrounded by what seemed to be the bad bacteria. I am still feeling its nourishment even two hours afterwards. I can't help but constantly think that what I breathe, how I live, and what I put into my mouth will save me from day to day.

This makes me think about rural farmers. Their farms and houses may be perceived by the urban rich as the dirtiest things imaginable. Rather, it is the dirt that is allowing the food producers to be as immune as possible to the natural environment. "Getting back to the land" has entirely new meaning. It's more than "working the land" and "farm to table". It's breathing the fresh air, indirectly "eating the dirt", and being mindful of how their existence fits in with all the plants and other animals. It makes me think about a beautifully-set table glowing with delicious food. All of this surrounded by a "dirty" house and to be eaten by "dirty" hands. In the end, these farmers will be more immune than ever, nourish themselves with good bacteria, and may live longer than anyone else.

This makes me think about my family in Vietnam. Dirt poor. Rural. Little opportunities. However, if it's anything that will save and make them happiest, it will be intricately and thoughtfully prepared foods through the day. It if these "elaborate" meals with the right protein, fat, and carbohydrate balance that will save them. I want to learn more about this balance to save me and each other.

It's crazy and cool to think about my future and the fact that I need animal proteins and fats to nourish and sustain me. It certainly makes the life I've lived and the life that I will live interesting. It's also crazy to think that I'm genetically modifying myself. GMO issues aside, it's outrageous that I consume fish from Alaska, fish sauce from the Arctic, and coconuts from the Philippines. Not "local" at all. Although, I'm fortunate to have nearby grassfed beef, lamb, bison, pork, and vegetable sources. There's controversy in the last sentence because cows may not be native to California. I'm realizing that what I'm needing to survive here in California are decreasing in sustainable numbers, getting more expensive on the economic market, and may be changing my genetic make-up. I'd be interested to see what it'd be like to go back to Vietnam for a while and subsist entirely on my homeland itself. (August 10, 2010)


Overeating is Hunger's bane.

It makes me think about my parents' and brother's voyage overseas. I'll ask them what they ate when they left and if they ever felt hungry. Even today, my parents want me to eat like no other. Maybe because in their past, there was a time when they had nothing to eat.

I started having some blueberries today, and my mind felt clearer than ever. Sweetness is my weakness. I had to stop after two handfuls because my back teeth were exclaiming, "No more!" as if the sugars in the berries were mining themselves too deep into the crevices. On another note, I can't help but contrast nutritional equivalence of Vietnamese foods to foods grown and found in the local foodsheds here. For example, when I have those blueberries, I think about lychee. Sweet corn reminds me of baby corn. Beets remind me water chestnuts. Peaches, apricots, and loquats remind me of pineapples, mangoes, and cherimoyas. I just noticed that these are all more sweet foods. Ahh, sugar!

I also started fermenting coconut (with flesh and juices). The taste is more sour and less sweet because of the sugar conversion to lactic acid. Any fermented foods, especially coconut and fruits, go into my bloodstream much slower and doesn't raise blood sugar. It's a noticeable difference between fresh coconut and fermented/cooked coconut. There are good recommendations and I've noticed recipes/trends in Nourishing Traditions to 1) ferment fruits because of the amount of sugar, 2) bake fruits (like baked apples) to lower sugar content and 3) cut off fruit and vegetable rinds because they're harder to digest.

Now that I think about it more, I can think about many instances in which fruits and high-sugar vegetables are cooked/infused. I've been to a lot of Mediterranean restaurants where they'll cook figs, dates, etc. with the meats. Coconut-chicken stews in the Caribbean. Cooked coconut milk mung beans in Vietnam. European meat stews/soups with starchy root vegetables in the winter time. Maybe there's a scientific reason why desserts are cooked/baked with loads of fat (butter).

On another note, I think meal-course "order" is fascinating. I've always wondered about appetizers, main courses, and desserts. I assume that appetizers like soups and salads with a drink (water or a lacto-fermented food) helps to get digestive enzymes flowing in the mouth, stomach, and intestines. Main courses with animal fats and proteins are the main nourishment. I assume that sweet desserts are last because they're better digested if the body has sufficient proteins and fats. Eating dessert, sugars, fruits, and high-sugar vegetables on their own cause a spike in blood sugar much higher than if they're combined with protein and fats. I hypothesize that they help stabilize the sugar found in desserts. Growing up, I went to "Bo Bay Mon" - Vietnamese restaurants that would serve seven courses of beef. Courses 1 and 2 would be light, 3-5 heavy, and 6 and 7 light. Dessert would either be cut orange slices or a sweet rice/bean custard dessert with cooked fruit in it. I've noticed similar patterns at Mediterranean, Brazilian, Italian, French, and African restaurants. This meal course order is in "American" restaurants too, but they're full of the wrong proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. (August 12, 2010)

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