Live Superfood

I remember being an accidental vegetarian at six years old.   Not that I didn’t eat the occasional meat – I remember enjoying venison and red fish, oysters and crawdads, and my mother’s liver and onions – but I always preferred fruit and vegetables.

~ ~ ~

By the time Yoga entered my life at eleven years of age, I was eating a diet richly influenced by my grandparents home/farm where I could feast on juicy red tomatoes and firm green ones fried in cornmeal, ears of sweet corn, crunchy raw okra, stalks of sticky sugar cane, yellow and green squash, white hominy and buttery grits, sweet muscadines and finger staining blackberries floating in fresh milk and sprinkled with dark sugar.  My childhood includes memories of picking field peas, black-eyed peas, and eating Hoppin’ John, of climbing trees to sit suspended above earth, enjoying hard green apples, and so many pecans that we walked on a carpet of them.  Memories flow like cool lemonade when I reminisce on the taste of moist and sweet cornbread, mustard greens with spring onions, pawpaws and persimmons that send juice down the chin and arms, buttermilk with a whisper of honey, sweet potato pie and cobbler in a rainbow of colors.  Then, being in Texas, there were the Mexican delights, like poblanos with queso blanco, chocolate with chilis and cinnamon, rich and dark Mole Amarillo or de Cacahuate, quesadillas and sopes flavored with epazote, guacamole and fresh cilantro, sweet guava and papaya, tart tomatillas and steaming hot tamales.

~ ~ ~

Which no doubt explains why I always smile softly when people – upon finding out I’m a vegetarian – exclaim, ‘But what do you eat?!’

~ ~ ~

By the time I was living on my own – alternating between office jobs, Yoga classes and ashrams – I was a regular at local ‘natural grocers’.  I don’t know when I became a vegetarian or even if I did, because it was never really a conscious decision, just a matter of no longer eating meat because it never was a mainstay in my diet, nor was it my first consideration when hungry.  So by the mid- to late seventies and into the early eighties I hung out at health food stores in Texas and later Colorado, because this is what social networking looked like back then.  When health food stores had two departments: produce and bulk, and shopping meant bringing glass jars that were weighed before filling with bulk nuts and seeds, floors and honey.  Likewise, bringing cardboard boxes and large Mexican woven handbags to carry home produce bought fresh from local farms.  Akin to the country grocers where my grandmother would take me, these stores were vibrant centers of education and exploration.  These stores were religious and spiritual convergences of health, alternative living and inner reality – true counter culture chakra points.

~ ~ ~

It was in this sort of environment that I realized I was a ‘vegetarian’.  In this sort of environment I discovered and danced with the Hari Krishnas, brimmed in abundance with wheatgrass, wild harvested living foods and fermentations.  Navigated the currents of holistic health, palm healing and acupuncture, and dove into raw foodism, and the ideas of fruitarians and breatharianism with the vigor of joyful discovery.

~ ~ ~

My foundational knowledge of Yogis, Essenes and Hippies grew exponentially during this time, namely through association and/or affiliation.  Similarly, other philosophical ideas like George Ohsawa’s macrobiotics, of sustainability, of body ecology and the expansion of consciousness through what we eat became part of my life paradigm.  It was during this time that I first read the Bhagavad Gita and the Raja Yoga sutras, likewise I was influenced by the writings and/or life of Diogenes of Sinope, St Francis of Assisi,  Henry David Thoreau, and the Upanishads (notably, Isha, Aitareya, Chandogya, Kena and Mundaka).  Interestingly, during an extended stay at an ashram, a Swami noted that I reminded him of Annapurna – the goddess of nourishing care – a cook whose food brings knowledge and enlightenment or the means to best realize their destiny.  Notably, a few books that I acquired during this foundational period are still with me today:

-Swami Sivananda’s translation and commentary of the Bhagavad Gita (1962 edition),

Truth is God, by Mahatma Gandhi, and his

The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism (both, 1969 editions),

-Swami Vishnudevananda’s The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga (1969 edition *), and

Love Your Body: Life Food Recipes, by Viktoras Kulvinskas (1972 edition).

~ ~ ~

To be clear, I am not establishing myself as an authority on any of these subjects.  I am simply musing about being an old school health conscious Yogi who in her 51st year is turning a keen eye to where she has been and what she is doing now.

~ ~ ~

In all .. I am but one leaf on a mighty oak,

a drop of water in a vast sea,

a single snow crystal upon the face of Kailash.

And this essay is but fleeting glimmer of my story,

a mere facet upon That which is Self,

but one thread in the tapestry of who

I have become based on the decisions

I have made during this incarnation.

Part Two of this lifeway will follow.

~ ~ ~

(*It was this book that started me on my Yoga journey when I was eleven, in 1970.)

Advertisements

Live Garden

Don’t use chemical root enhancers or growth promoters.  Be wild .. use whats already in nature!

~

Willow is truly Mother Natures ‘medicine cabinet’, not just for humans but all life.  Every part of the tree can be used.  Ever part.

~

To make cuttings grow, for example, take some small willow branches and shave them (like shaving a pencil).  Add crushed leaves and pure water.  Let it sit for an our or 2.  The mix will thicken a bit.

~

Dip plant cuttings in this and add some of the willow mix to the soil where the cutting will go.  Whatever is left over, pour around the base of plants to fortify them.

~

De-toxify your life.  Use less chemicals in all things.