This morning's breakfast: Small organic
apple, 1 piece organic whole wheat seeded
bread, 1 piece cheddar cheese
My doctor wants me on an organic Mediterranean diet, due to multiple illnesses that would benefit and because I am allergic to a wide range of chemicals, pesticides and additives commonly found in the American diet these days.
When I told a friend that I was going on a "fishatarian" diet, meaning an organic vegetarian diet supplemented with fish (when I can get it), she nearly shrieked when she said, "That's so EXPENSIVE!"
The expense of organic food depends upon the degree of refined and/or premade food one eats. If one relies upon canned soups, frozen dinners, boxed dinners, etc., then the expense really IS huge, but, if you eat like a monk and eat very low on the food chain, with measured portions of protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts and seeds, you can eat an entirely organic diet that is LESS expensive than the customary American diet.
Take a look at my breakfast, pictured above. It cost less than $2 and was delicious! The apple and bread were organic, but the cheese was not.
Cheese is a manufactured item, and is thus, by nature, an expensive item even when not produced in an organic fashion. I will not eat the fake "cheese" - the so-called "American cheese" that was the staple of many lunches of our childhoods, however. We all remember the gelatinous thin slabs of congealed fat and artificial coloring called American cheese.
Neither do I eat non-fat cheese. There is no such thing as a cow that gives non-fat milk. Nature produces food that has a perfect balance of nutrients, fats and proteins. If we disturb that brilliant balance, the manufactured item that results is not food, per se. It resembles food. It won't kill you if you consume it. Whatever calories are present may be absorbed and used by the body, but at what cost? Just because one can consume an item without actually dying from it does not qualify it as food. Think about a penny, for instance. Unless it gets stuck somewhere in your system, it passes right through. It's not food, though.
As for me, I do not eat "non-fact" concoctions, otherwise I become terribly ill. I might as well have taken poison. I spend a lot of time in the bathroom for 24 to 48 hours. Non-fat dairy products contain a much higher percentage of lactose than natural milk, and if one has any sensitivity to lactose at all, non-fat milk will send your guts into overdrive. I do not, however, have any reaction to hard cheeses or cultured products like yogurt. My gastrointerologist told me that this is quite common.
So, going back to my original point, the less a food is fiddled with, the less expensive it is and the better it is for one's health.
I find it interesting that the way I eat is very close to the traditional monastic diet that one could find in many convents and monasteries prior to the industrial revolution and the invention of these frankenfoods to which we have become so accustomed.
Simple, wholesome and natural are the requirements, while I also am watching my serving sizes. Consequently, I have lost more than 40 pounds since bearing down on the diet.
I do not cook very much any more. If you were to look into my refrigerator, you would find very few prepared sauces and dressings. I make my own, when necessary, with the exception of mustard and mayonnaise. The onset of serious illnesses and my inability to stand for long periods of time have contributed to my move away from cooked food and towards salads and sandwiches. Once again, my disabilities have proven to be a blessing in disguise.
(When I go to a restaurant to eat, all bets are off, so to say, and I will eat whatever appeals to me at the moment. A restaurant meal is so rare, it is usually an occasion of celebration and a natural reason to let go of the monastic diet.)
Fasting is a well-known and recommended spiritual practice in many religious traditions. Simplicity and restraint with regard to food, in general, is common to many religious traditions. One of the nuns in the Hindu convent used to become enraged when I got too creative with the meals and would leave me nasty notes on the prep counter. She was right, of course, but her method of communication left something to be desired.
I have often thought about writing a book about convent cooking, but if I wait long enough, it will be unnecessary, since my cooking is becoming more and more elementary over time.
If any of my sisters in hermit life would like some ideas about recipes for the simple life, outlined above, please contact me and I will blog about it.
God bless us all!
Silver Rose Parnell
Copyright (c) 2016