I sometimes wonder what cave people ate. I mean, they would've had the ultimate healthy diet, would not they? It would have had to be completely free from any artificial, packaged, processed or chemically altered foods. Eating healthy would not have been a concept to them, they would have just … ateen, and by the very nature of what was available, it would have been fresh, local, and seasonal.
I'm sitting in a restaurant in Inverness. Glancing down the chic menu, I note five, no six separate options that focus on wild food themes. They include a chanterelle omelet, loin of venison, salad with wild berries, and even one with a nettle reduction. I am stuck by a strange irony that these dishes are notably more expensive than the others. And this wild food (sometimes with the exception of the meat), in theory, is free for the taking! I am drawn in by the lure of something so fresh, so primitive, that it can be called "wild." Even though I was walking through the woods that very morning, gathering edibles, I order the mushroom starter and I can not resist trying the nettle reduction.
I often find myself musing how we live in such strange times. A vast number of us, in the Western world, pay large sums of money to sit in an artificial created environment, and eat something that epitomizes nature. We spend large quantities of time sitting at computers, then pay to use a gym for exercise. How did we get so far away from a simple, healthy lifestyle?
I live in an intentional community in Northern Scotland. The reasons for moving here were numerous, but among them was my intense yearing to live cleanly, simply, and healthfully. Even here, it is easy to fall into the all-too-familiar cycle of work too much, not have spare time, pay someone to do outdoor work & child-thinking, etc. But I am here for a different way. And so I push through the fatigue, strap my baby daughter on my back, and begin hoeing in the garden. She is involved and soon the rhythmic movement lulls her to sleep.
Back at home, I begin washing some freshly harvested carrots to make a soup. My daughter wakes while I am chopping, and I sing a song to her. She is entranced by the carrots going into the big pot. She giggles at something I do not see. I feed her while the soup simmers, engulfed by the sweet earthy richness and herby fragrances coming from the stove. Lunch is as simple as it gets, a carrot and fresh herb soup straight from the garden, accompanied by a chunk of fresh bread that a friend made. I feel satisfied, content, healthy.
Not all days are like this, of course. This is one of the good ones. It's one of the days I've wanted to create in my life for so many years. More of my days are like this laately – I'm love all of them to be, but I'm still working on balancing my Western mindset and upbringing with living a truly simple lifestyle. Healthy eating and living incorporated all of this. I am aware that my obstacles are in my mind, as much as they are entrenched in society. And so I plug on, driving to manifest more and more simplicity in my life.
When I returned from a walk on the beach yesterday, I found a council tax bill waiting for me in my mailbox. Oy, another £ 800 to pay, just for the right to live , it looks. Some days I feel the temptation to pack it in and find a corporate job. But then I shake myself awake, count my infinite blessings, and take a deep breath. The Universe will provide. It always has. Later that afternoon, I receive a phone call from a friend. She's ready to begin eating healthy, and she would like some assistance. Could she hire me, she asks, to teach her to cook healthy food for her family, and stock her freezer with nutritious dinners? She's got it all planned out – the number of sessions, which days would work best, and how much she'd like to pay me over 4 months – £ 800.
Yes, living a simple lifestyle and eating healthy on a daily basis IS possible. It seems to me that the more I believe in it, the more true it is. But then, is not that the way with everything in life? I remind myself every day to keep breathing, keep cooking, singing, keep living with passion and with love. Because, simply put, there is nothing else. Now I've realized that, it just feels simple. I feel clear. It's the healthy thing to do.
copyright Stacie Whitney, 2010