What does really hold body and soul together? I am passionate about the links between environment and consciousness, between nutrition and mental health, and the preservation of the environment through ethical food production. Modern science identifies many elements that promote a healthy body and a healthy mind. In my earlier career as a Naturopath and Homoeopath (1970s to 1998), I focussed on the needs of the body, and this knowledge continues to inform my work as a Psychotherapist (1990 to the present day).
There is a great disjunction today between how food is produced, and the health of both our bodies and environment. Factory farms have no regard for the earth which they exploit, nor any regard for the consciousness of the people who will consume this food. Instead, both the earth and our bodies become commodities, to be persuaded to produce - or spend - for profit. This situation creates a poverty on many levels; spiritually, environmentally, socially, and in lack of health of body and mind. The statistics supporting these statements are abundant and discouraging.
However, I know we can change all of this, one step at a time, one conscious act at a time. The power of one is a mighty power if we all believe ourselves to be the one, the one who counts. How I dispose of my garbage, what products I buy and why, what food I consume and from whom, what food plants I nurture and grow myself, with respect and wonder for the miracle of growth. The satisfaction I have in choosing food and other items which have not come into being because of the exploitation of any part of life. Everyone can do this, one step at a time, one choice at a time.
So, why would I, a psychotherapist by profession, be interested in publishing recipes, giving Fermented Food workshops and the like?
Many reasons: Everyone needs to eat.
Food is what connects us to others, through the chain of production (we ARE connected to whoever grew or manufactured our food), and socially through who we eat with.
Food should provide a daily pleasure. The right food nourishes body, mind and spirit.
A poverty of food leads to a poverty in body, mind and spirit. I'm not talking here about the millions who starve in third world countries and that particular tragedy. I am talking about Western malnourishment in the midst of affluence, or relative affluence. I'm talking about mental illness and poor nutrition and how this can be turned around through our use of science to guide us into sophisticated knowledge about nutritional values. Often this sophisticated knowledge leads to simple solutions. An example of this is learning how to make and use fermented foods at home, to reestablish optimum gut health, which leads to improved immunity, better absorption, reduction of many auto-immune and inflammatory processes as well reversing degenerative diseases.
My particular interest is in how our feelings of wellbeing and our overall mental health can be improved by changes in diet and by individualised dietary considerations. I am not saying that diet alone will heal all mental illness, far from it. But our physiology, with the remarkable individual microbiota which supports us, must be in good shape for us to feel well and vibrant mentally and emotionally.