Being 21 doesn't appeal to me in the slightest and when I realised that NOVA was marking its 21st year this month, it got me thinking. Specifically, what would I like to say to myself at 21 in relation to the world of whole and real foods, and eating in general, and when I could hardly see the wholefood mountains I wished to climb in my future and the journey I would set out upon. I think it would be something like this:
It's me, your higher self, in the unique position of being able to travel back in time (very Fringe-like) to share with you, which is unbelievably cool. I'm here and I've got so much to tell you so listen up.
Your love and absolute need for all things pure, beautiful, real and true is going to find its full expression in motherhood, love and then the world of food. But specifically the kind of food that can heal, nourish and delight. It's going to be quite a journey and I'd like to help you shorten that if I can, you will be so much happier. This is what's important:
Right now, you're looking for a way to express that the way we grow and produce food is not real and true; it does not honour nature and when not honoured, food cannot grow and nourish a healthy human body. This is why you are so enamoured with the vegetarian movement - it is a protest movement.
When you look deeper you will find that this has, perhaps, not been a well thought out understanding. Indeed understanding may take some more living. Look deeper and you will find that we learn not from the latest "in" diet paradigm or bestseller, but from generations and cultures that have actually lived with robust health and happiness. You should start reading Weston A Price's book Nutrition and Degeneration now! Stop mucking around with that fractionalised nutrition you are studying - you're not going to find the knowledge you are looking for there. It's going to take some time to get your head around, so start now.
Rather, look to real life. Look at your own family and the understanding of how to eat handed down through the generations. Take notice when your mother says to you "that child needs meat" (and she did and still does).
As you read Weston A Price (and others of his generation) you will understand that the human body is an exquisitely amazing thing and that it can grow a truly beautiful body and thrive on a broad variety of foods. Some will eat butter and grain, others blood and milk, others oats and fish, others meat and three veg like the older Australian generations.
Find out about Ayurveda sooner if you can. This might be a little tricky, as it doesn't come back into the world till the '80s! Never mind, I will organise a guardian angel in the form of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's right hand man (promise he will be gorgeous) to come into your life and teach you to meditate (and thus be introduced to the world of Ayurveda), love you to bits and help you to connect to your true self. As you begin to understand Ayurveda, you will see again that there is no one way of eating and lifestyle for all. You will also begin to understand the energetics of food and how important they are.
I know you're never going to make bread, that's fine, but learn now about how important a healthy gut ecology is. Meet Holly Davis earlier (not sure how I can orchestrate that one) as she knows what you don't and vice versa - you are a whole, a bit like different sides of a brain. You don't know a lot, Holly does and she can help you understand now about pro and pre biotics. Made at home. In real food. Not in tablets.
Be prepared to question everything. Don't get seduced by the latest in buzz, namely soy. But I think you will be okay here, you do have a healthy dose of scepticism. Remember, look for what is actually working for humans and follow that.
You're on the right path in regards to fats. Learn about their chemical make up and how they work, because it's going to take you years to fully understand. You'll know why processed vegetable oils are dangerous - and it's because they are less saturated with hydrogen. This makes them chemically very, very vulnerable to oxidisation from heat, light and oxygen - this is where free radicals come from. You didn't see your mum using any oil other than olive did you? And even hardly then because she didn't like the taste of it. She used butter, lard and drippings. So did just about all healthy generations and cultures but they had some other goodies like ghee and coconut oil. All saturated. All stable. The cholesterol in the animal fats built wonderful hormonal systems, was an integral part of their immune systems and kept their brains working.
You have an amazing journey ahead, keep on following your instincts and listen to your common sense. I think you will be okay on this one.
As you do all this, you will find your foundations sooner - and that is for food to nourish, heal and delight it must come from nutrient-rich soil, be prepared in a manner that the human body can understand and be delicious. Preferably eaten in company. It goes without saying that chemicals and pesticides aren't optimal for that human body.
With much, much love and excitement that you can become all you want to become and express earlier, Jude
Truly, it's been a deeply fulfilling and amazing journey, and I love the place I am now. Having experienced most aspects of an ideology, I can find the place to stand that I believe to be true. It's a wonderful place to be. And when big birthdays come around, or a mountain is climbed, a cake should be present. A deeply delicious chocolate cake I think, but not too sweet or too rich. Happy birthday NOVA!
Jude Blereau is a wholefood cook and writer based on Perth. www.wholefoodcooking.com.au