The Lunar Review

Victuals and comestibles, food glorious food

Victuals- plural for food or provisions. Turkey and other savory victuals were served.

Comestible- an item of food. A fridge groaning with comestibles.

One can not think well, love well or sleep well if one has not dined well- Virginia Woolf

You are what you eat eats- Michael Pollan

There are people in the world so hungry that God can only appear to them in the form of bread- Mahatma Gandhi

Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart- Erma Bombeck

I often cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food- W.C. Fields

A fit, healthy body, that is the best fashion statement- Jess C. Scott

The reasons we make certain food choices can stem more from our psychological needs than our physical ones. Food gives us comfort, can act as our medicine, or be our downfall.   

One thing is for certain, when moderation is consistently cast aside, the body lets us know. It’s not only what is ingested, but how much, and most importantly, which emotions were swallowed along with the food and drink. 

The blissful sensation of a full belly harkens back to a time when we were infants, well fed and resting safely in our mother’s arms. Overeating may be a subconscious push to reconnect with this safety and contentment.

Comfort food offers a respite from boredom, anxiety and generally messy emotions. Fatty, salty, sugary, gooey and creamy foods contribute to feelings of satiation, pleasure and relaxation. Taking a short break from your pain is one thing but ignoring the needs of your inner self is another matter. Emotions, of all sorts, not just the deep and dark ones, need to be experienced in order to release them. Burying them under mounds of food only temporarily staves them off.

To feel more powerful, rooted and grounded in your life, add root vegetables to your daily menu. Onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, leeks and beets all grow in the dirt, safely underground, living in a quiet, dark and stable environment. They are rich in nutrients and potent with the strong, grounding energies of the earth. Eating them endows your body with the same qualities.

There are five basic flavors, or tastes, according to the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine. They include sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty. Each taste provides a special therapeutic value ensuring that food is not only nourishment and enjoyment, but medicine as well.

Organizing these tastes can shape your meals. Satisfaction and good digestive health result when they are properly proportioned. Sour foods such as pickles, sauerkraut and other fermented products help digest fats and oils. In Poland, where their is a heavy emphasis on meat, pickles and salad always accompany a meal.

Bitter foods like dandelion, parsley and bitter gourd increase digestive tract movement (peristalsis) and stimulate the production of bile. Only a small amount of bitter is necessary. In West Bengal, India, a couple bites of bitter foods, such as bitter gourd or fenugreek, are traditionally eaten at the start of the meal. 

The pungent taste is aromatic, spicy, and warm in nature. These foods such as mustard, wasabi, garlic and onion cause a drying, dispersing action. For example, the warm, moving nature of wasabi tempers the cold, damp nature of sushi, which is why the two are traditionally paired together. Cold salads would do well paired with a spicy dressing made from mustard, or even a dash of horseradish.

Salty and sweet tastes mix well together, in the right quantities. Too much of one, often set off a craving for the other. Sweet does not have to come from sugar. Many foods such as pork, coconut milk and carrots provide this taste. To satisfy a sweet craving, try baked sweet potatoes with cream poured on top.

Not surprisingly, a couple of the best sources of salt come from the ocean- nutrient-rich sea salt and sea vegetables. Another name for seas vegetables is edible seaweed. These green gems are natural sources of iodine, and help reduce inflammation by cooling the body.

Salt water also provides an ideal environment for the healing of cuts and skin conditions. Ever notice how after swimming in the sea, scrapes and skin abrasions look and feel much better?

Fiber is your friend when you don’t want sugar flooding your system too quickly. An apple, or any fruit, is better eaten whole, with the skin on. The fibrous material helps slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Juice, on the other hand, delivers a high dose of sugar directly into the bloodstream. If you do juice, instead of ditching the roughage consider putting it back into the drink.

Preparing a meal, sharing a meal and enjoying a meal are all beautiful, healthy ways to experience the horn of plenty, the cornucopia, the fruit of the sea, and the bounty of the earth. You may not always be able to eat in a perfectly balanced way, but you can always consume what you do have with calmness and appreciation.

Remind yourself to relax before eating. If your mind is full chatter, just take a few moments to stretch your hands, observe your food and take a deep breath. Loosening up helps your digestive organs work at their best. Being grounded helps you savour the flavor and enhance the experience of your meal.

Vanessa Vogel
Vanessa Vogel
Artykuły: 7