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Spirit & Food
Previous issues of Spirit-21 focused on the various meat, poultry and fish diets available in the culture today. This final article on choice of diet and what that imparts to the individual will center upon vegetarian, grain and fruit- eating diets.
A diet of leafy vegetables and herbs imparts to the person eating them the conscious archetypal personality or character of the plant from which the leaves were taken. These fall into three major classifications; leafy garden vegetables, culinary herbs and medicinal herbs.
A vegetarian diet consisting of mainly leafy garden vegetables offers a long term and fundamental behavioral ideal. Unlike the diet of meats, which works on instinctive behaviors, the diet of vegetables are mental in their effect. They alter the way we think about ourselves. Although the listing is far from complete, it can generate some understanding of the connection between the characteristics of a specific vegetable, and its long term use benefits.
LEAFY GARDEN VEGETABLES
This list includes only vegetables that require the killing of the plant on which they grew, rather than the "plucking". Once again, this as a main diet works upon the individual's "personality" and "mental states", henceforth valuable for altering one's inner nature and self-definition.
|ASPARAGUS||defines the self as delicate, tender, young and mild.|
|BROCCOLI||defines the self as hardy, strong, "heady" and "flowery".|
|BRUSSELS SPROUTS||define the self as unique, richly flavored, well developed.|
|CABBAGE||defines the self as well-developed, full bodied and mature.|
|CELERY||defines the self as upright, strong, crisp and resilient.|
|CRESS||defines the self as hardy, competent, vigorous and secure.|
|ENDIVE||defines the self as beautiful, cultured, "flowery" and mild.|
|GREENS||(spinach, mustard, chard, collard, beet and turnip greens) define the self as strong, young, vigorous, enduring and prolific.|
|LEEKS||define the self as Upright, private, clean, mild and pure|
|LETTUCE||defines the self as crisp, mild, bland, serviceable and inoffensive|
|MUSHROOMS||define the self as young but strong, protected, delicately cultured|
|RHUBARB||defines the self as careful, thrifty, clever and competent|
|SCALLIONS||define the self as vivacious, sprightly, tasteful and civilized|
|SORREL||defines the self as tart, acid, self-reliant and unique.|
Herbs are added as an accent to one's diet, rather than as the main event. In this way, they add a temporary "tone" or "flavor" to one's personality, useful for "spicing up' one's self presentation.
This section contains only those herbs used in leaf or root, as the bulbs and seeds will be incorporated along with fruits and grains.
|ANGELICA|| Refined spirituality, nobility|
|BASIL|| Serenity, richness, royalty|
|BAY|| Sophistication, distinction, and grandeur|
|CHAMOMILE|| Consolation, understanding, compassion|
|CHERVIL|| Delicacy, complexity, seclusion|
|CINNAMON|| Excitement, fun, playfulness|
|DILL|| Astuteness, judgement, alertness, discrimination|
|GINGER|| Security, benevolence trust|
|HOREHOUND|| Wildness, freedom, self-reliance|
|HORSERADISH|| Courage, daring, gusto|
|HYSSOP|| Cleanliness, purification, improvement|
|MARJORAM|| Sincerity, friendliness, equality|
|MINT|| Refreshing, honest, candid|
|NUTMEG|| Sweetness, harmony, attractiveness|
|PARSLEY|| Reliability, helpfulness, durability, strength|
|ROSE HIPS|| Virtue, honor, steadfastness|
|ROSEMARY|| Conscience, sympathy, gentleness|
|SAGE|| Nostalgia, love, closeness and caring|
|SAVORY|| Enthusiasm, vitality, "dash"|
|TARRAGON|| Exotic, desirable, sought-after|
|THYME|| Personality, style, flexibility|
|TUMERIC|| Caution, healthiness, protectiveness|
For convenience we also list here a few spices not used in leaf or root form:
|PEPPER|| (peppers, cayenne, and paprika) Adventure, sexuality, boldness|
|MUSTARD|| Determination, willpower, fortitude|
|VANILLA|| Luxury, leisure, richness, sweetness|
|COCOA OR CHOCOLATE|| Earthiness, sensuality, passion|
The use of medicinal herbs produces extremely far-reaching but short-term personality change, and the altering of one's characteristic attitudes. The list we include here is a sampling of teas one may use for such an effect.
|ALTHEA ROOT|| Soothes irritation, calming, overcomes volatile tempers|
|ALFALFA|| Peaceful, calming, promotes acceptance of change|
|BALM|| Maturity, stability and self-control|
|CALENDULA|| Calmative, relaxant; promotes non-judgement|
|CATNIP|| Eases emotional pain, promotes courage and enthusiasm|
|CHAMOMILE|| Eliminates fear, nightmares and worry; promotes faith|
|ELDER FLOWERS|| Reduces tensions, relaxes and settles the mind|
|GINSENG|| Vitalizes, encourages and stimulates; the "Herb of Youth"|
|GINGER|| Overcomes sadness and depression; comforts|
|HOPS|| Soothes nervous irritation, "acid disposition" and bitterness|
|LEMON GRASS|| Promotes grace, nobility, optimism and sociability|
|LICORICE|| Encourages passivity, durability, inner strength and "cool"|
|MINT|| Increases candor, self-expression and openness|
|PENNYROYAL|| Soothes temper, improves ability to deal with stress|
|RED CLOVER|| Eases impatience, improves enjoyment of routine|
|SASSAFRAS|| Eliminates bitterness, purges old pains, strengthens health|
|SLIPPERY ELM|| Tranquilizes the nerves; aids digestion|
|WINTERGREEN or TEABERRY|| Stimulates self-confidence and friendliness|
|YARROW|| Eases confusion and doubt, stimulates courage and acceptance|
|YERBA SANTA|| Encourages better self-image, strengthens expression|
One may wish to experiment through the taking of such a tea throughout a week's time and observe its effects on one's inner state. Once a conscious state is learned, one notices how one's desire for such a substance is greatly diminished. Herbs and spices generally are taken in small doses.
DIET of GRAINS
Traditional lore of astrological gardening puts forth the principle that all foods yielded as part of their reproductive cycle carry within them the raw potential for new beginnings, which can be absorbed by those who eat these foods. Subsequently, new beginnings of human experience can be nurtured through a diet that incorporates such produce. Are you fixed in your diet, and somewhat bored with your life? Try "seeding" more creativity through the three classes that follow:
|SEEDS|| nurture quick-sprouting but temporary new creations such as day- to- day plans, work concerns, and novelty in routine affairs. Included in this category are wild rice, sesame, caraway, dill and anise. This type of seed tends to create a more adventuresome and wild type of creativity…the more "wild" the seed, the wilder the ideas!|
|HYBRID COMMERCIAL GRAINS and NUTS|| nurture the already-established directions of life such as long term projects, creative careers and policy making. This category includes all commercial wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice, English walnuts, pecans and pistachios. This type of seed predisposes one to more "tame" and routine creativity. The ideas thus generated tend to be mildly original and comfortably initiated.|
|WILD NUTS|| nurture new long-term directions that are not yet at a conscious level of awareness or refinement, such as future lifestyle changes, impending creative projects and major self-evolution. This category includes pine nuts, native black walnuts, wild filberts, and chestnuts. These encourage more sober and thoughtful forms of wild ideas, leading to creativity in art, literature or similar serious endeavors.|
DIET OF FRUITS
This class of foods comes from many sources such as perennial fruit trees, annual vegetables and even animals. We choose this category as the rightful place to list such animal products as infertile eggs and milk products (not meats). They are given by animals as part of the reproductive cycle as food for their young (just as the pulp of fruits and vegetables are food for the seeds they surround). We divide this class of foods into three types:
|ANNUAL PRODUCE|| tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, squashes, all melons, fresh corn, peppers, peas and all other pulpy vegetables that contain seeds surrounded by a pulpy fruit|
|These foods provide the energy for physical or mundane realm planning and creative projects of long-term, conscious form.|
|PERRENIAL PRODUCE||apples, peaches, pears, avocados, cherries, berries, lemons, oranges, grapefruits, all tropical fruits and all forms of grapes|
|These foods provide the energy for long-term conscious evolution and creative work on the conceptual or ethical plane.|
|ANIMAL PRODUCE||honey, milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, cottage cheese and butter|
|These foods provide the energy for long-term creative evolution in one's emotional affairs and psychology.|
DIET OF TUBERS
This class of foods includes potatoes, yams, turnips, radishes, beets, carrots, peanuts, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, sweet potatoes and truffles, or any other food produced under the ground. The eating of these foods provides the creative urge and energy for major changes to emerge from the unconscious plane of creativity. It is the food by which the major changes of one's lifestyle and creative urges are nurtured and brought forth. Thus those wishing to cultivate new beginnings of major impact on their lives are encouraged to make this class of foods a standard part of their diet, without it; hopeful thinking has no food to grown on. On the other hand, too much of these foods can lead to restlessness.
One final area, to close our discussion of diet and the connection between the eater and the eaten, is that of the subject of FASTING. As the eating of food nourishes the outer self, fasting creates a communion between the outer and the inner person. The outer person comes in contact with the inner realms of idealism, philosophy, faith and divinity. Rebirth of the inner person, profound healing of the body, mind and spirit, and miracles of sudden awareness of truth have been attributed to Fasting for thousands of years. It is a means of severing bonds that bind us to the concerns of the flesh. Perhaps there is a clue here toward understanding the food disorders so prevalent in our culture today. Is the inner person lost in the materialism of the times, and is this in part what is being sought after through the denial of food?
Every time one lets the digestive system empty of food, a remarkable change comes over one. It begins with a feeling of "fragility" or withdrawal from the things around you. This feeling then leads to deeper introspection, and normally leads you to feeling drowsy or depressed. Most of the time, this is when one decides to eat again and remove the fasting state, the communion with the inner self. Soon the quiet withdrawn individual no longer feels detached from the world. But what if you had not eaten?
If you had not eaten, you would have progressed from the introspective level to one of deeper quietude, in which you may have experienced the often strange, enrapt state of poetic and mystical insight. Normally after a few meals missed, the individual begins to question and re-look their outer lifestyle from a new perspective. Who am I? What am I? What is reality? The hungry stomach asks questions that demonstrate the hunger for TRUTH. It is here that one might review the meaning behind getting "the flu", when one's appetite is diminished temporarily. The individual goes through loss of interest in eating, a fragility, a stopping of one's usual activities and a slowing down to re-enter only those things that are important…or to look at what really is important in their lives. Perhaps through conscious fasting, and communion with the existential forces of the self that drives each of our lives, one might avoid taking on 'the flu" to do that for us.
There are a couple of simple rules about fasting. Always drink plenty of liquids, with water and fruit juices generally recommended. Do not attempt any physical exertion. Find a fast that seems to suit you. It need not be a long one. A day is sufficient for some for periodic self-renewal. For major problem solving, a three-day fast is generally recommended, with lots of fruit juice and plenty of time to just get in touch with the truths you need to integrate. Always break the fast gradually, with some simple foods such as a banana or some cottage cheese.
On a daily level, the hungry time before a meal is often the time when a subtle but valuable insight is at your disposal. Not by accident have we heard of the greatest thinkers and creative geniuses who have "forgotten" to eat while working on some important invention or idea. Water and breath are symbols of the Spirit. Experiencing them as symbols of Spirit is most nourishing indeed!
This now concludes our discussion of the subject of diet in one's life. We thank our brother Khiron and his breath of Spirit for his gift of insight that provided the material for these articles in some of his unpublished writings.
We include here some of our favorite household summer standard recipes. A nice variation from traditional recipes, the Cole slaw is very refreshing, and the dressing for it can be used as a rice noodle or pasta dressing as well. You may want to make the full amount of dressing and use it on other salads of your own creation. Be inventive and use any vegetables you have from your garden, giving preference to those with a crunch!
Snow Pea Cabbage Slaw
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage (any kind will do…some like Napa, others like the usual green and or red in combination)
1-cup snow peas, cut on the diagonal
1 carrot. Peeled and grated or julienne
1 pepper (the red is pretty and tastes great, but so are the others)
1 cup spicy ginger lime dressing (as follows)
Spicy Ginger Lime dressing (2 cups)
½ cup nam pla (Thai fish sauce, available in Asian markets)
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup rice vinegar (cider or red also works)
2T. Brown sugar
2 tsp. Minced garlic
2 tsp. Minced ginger
2 T. fresh basil or 2 tsp. Dried basil
2-T. fresh mint or 2 tsp. Dried
2 T. fresh cilantro and stems
1 tsp. Chili paste (available in most supermarkets, and also at Asian markets)
1 T. vegetable oil
Now for one of our household standards, for breakfast or for snacks, with yogurt and seasonal fruit or by itself!
As You Like It Granola
Warm: 1 cup honey or maple syrup + 1 cup safflower oil
Pour it over the following in a large bowl:
5 cups rolled oats
Transfer to a greased pan or cookie sheet.
2-3 cups chopped or sliced nuts of choice (almonds, walnuts, filberts, pecans etc.)
1 cup each sunflower and sesame seeds
1 cup shredded coconut
(Optional) wheat germ or other bran or wheat flakes
Bake at 300- 350 degrees, stirring every 10-15 minutes or so until browned to your liking, taking anywhere from 30-60 minutes.
When out of the oven, stir in some of your favorite dried fruits, raisins, apricots, apples, cranberries etc.
Keep stored in an airtight container. In the summer, we keep it in the refrigerator. It is always gone before it goes stale!