There’s an aspect to eating well (by ‘well’, I mean the kind of eating that keeps you healthy) that people will sometimes complain about. It’s the time it takes to prepare and consume real food. You’ve got to shop for the vegetables, and they only last so long. They need to be washed, chopped, cooked, and combined with other flavours to create an enjoyable meal. When your life is already busy, it could be easy to ponder shifting to a more convenient ‘instant’ diet. Sometimes you can even feel like you’re punishing yourself, when so many manufacturers offer you the easy options: liquid breakfasts, tinned meals you can just heat up, even tablets made of compressed vegetables to save you having to eat your greens. Why are you taking the trouble?
Well, perhaps that’s the kind of thoughts that run through your head while you’re peeling and chopping what seems like endless mounds of vegetables to make an (albeit delicious) vegetable curry, when you could have purchased a tin of the same dish to heat and eat.
But the processed foods are missing something that only real food can offer: Life force. It’s one of the underlying principles behind naturopathic nutrition: That somehow, the life force energy inherent in fresh, especially raw food, is somehow transferred to you when you eat it, providing an extra boost of health.
Maybe the best example of the ‘life force’ of food is in home prepared versus instutionalised meals. If you’ve ever been forced to subsist entirely on meals that have been prepared elsewhere some days ago and re-heated, you’ll know how good it felt to be able to enjoy a ‘real’ home cooked meal, fresh salad, fresh fruit. Ask anyone who has to travel frequently, or who has been institutionalised, how much they relish being able to return to eating fresh, home-prepared food. That’s the life force of food.
You’ll get extra benefits too from taking the time to prepare your meals from scratch. Not only will you become more aware of what you’re eating, but the process of chopping vegetables and cooking calls on you to step off life’s busy treadmill for a little while. Also, if you take the opportunity to eat that food while seated at a table with friends or family (mobile phones and TV put aside) you’ll have a chance to re-connect with the people you care about. You could actually use this process as a way to help yourself de-stress a little. And at the same time, by eating real food, you’re giving your nutritional well-being a boost. Worth it, don’t you think?