One of my grandfathers worked as a butcher; the other grandfather worked as a doctor. Food and healing are in my family story. Since my grandfathers’ time, the predominant food and healing systems in the US have changed dramatically, shutting out the local butcher and the family doc.
I finally watched Food Inc. last night. If you, like me, missed this film when it was released last year, now’s the time to watch. It confirms everything you think you already know and much more about our food production system, the chemical industrial complex that we are consuming with each bite.
Praise to the farmers who are doing the best they can to do right by the earth they tend, for each other, and for all of us in the face of crushing corporate power. Honor to the families who have been devastated by unhealthy and contaminated food and still fight on to change policy and make other families’ children safe. Gratitude to those who are sounding the alarm on the dangers to health and earth.
I like to joke and tell stories about the vegetarian co-op (yes, even though my grandfather was a butcher) where I lived in college. We had long, late nights of consensus-based decision-making — including heated political discussions about what foods to choose for the community and what to plant in the garden, among other things.
That was over 20 years ago, and even with a slight whiff of privilege and idealism, I still think we were on to something. Or maybe we were part of something. Something that has built and grown and gathered momentum out of necessity.
It takes a long time to make sustained, healthy changes in our personal habits, like starting and maintaining a dedicated yoga asana or meditation practice. It takes a long time, persistent efforts, diligence, and dedication to make lasting structural and cultural changes.
I believe that there are signs of change in many corners, personal and structural. Not the latest quick fix; instead a return to, or perhaps reinvention of, creative, sustainable, life-scale, and holistic practices.
I started this blog to write about yoga. Consider today’s post to be about the yoga of food. It’s an invitation to ask yourself, perhaps for the first time or perhaps again and again: Not only which practices support your individual health and well-being but also which practices support our collective, environmental health.
Our well-being is inseparable and interdependent. Namaste.