For years I have heard the same reports from many different patients. They repeated that when they visit Europe that can eat anything and feel good; but when they get home and eat “healthy,” they feel poorly. Well, after finally going to Europe, I can say, it is true.
My son is doing a semester abroad in Zermatt, Switzerland, where the Matterhorn is and we decided to visit for parents weekend (good thing we did, every parent came), so we made a 10 day trip in the Alps of France and Switzerland.
Our first stop was Annecy, France. We happened to be there on the weekend that there was a major festival, called the Alpage, a celebration of the cows coming down from their grazing lands in the mountains to the towns below. Crowds of people are singing and dancing and marching, and some dress in old-style clothing and come through the streets with their flower-strewn cows, geese, sheep and other animals. There are hand-made crafts for sale and lots of fresh food. There was fresh, hand-squeezed apple juice, homemade breads and cheeses, sausages, wine, chestnuts and more. I was led to have a taste of some blood sausage (I saw the guy fill an intestine with what looked like very bloody meat.) I took one bite and immediately felt it strengthen my kidneys, although I found it hard to swallow.
Food in Europe had vitality, it has chi, it has life force. They eat lots of bread and cheese and meat, but although they eat three times the saturated fats as Americans, they have one third the rate of heart disease. I figured out that they balance out their excess cheese intake with lots and lots of wine. The bread is real and takes a lot of chewing before swallowing. They must drink a lot of tea because I have never seen such a variety of bulk teas as I did in the tea shop in Annecy. When they drink coffee, it is often in tiny cups as big as a shot glass.
Food is very expensive there, at the end I was so tired of cheese that I got a burrito with a little rice, and paid $28 for it. But they spend hours at a meal. And strangers are put at the same table with each other if there are open seats. One couple we sat next to explained that small farmers are subsidized, to keep families on their farms (sounds better than in the US where we subsidize the corn, the mega-farms, and all the fast foods that are killing everyone).
There were two other foods that I noticed they eat a lot in Europe that we never eat here. One was chestnuts, in every city they sold roasted chestnuts on the street. There was one dessert I saw everywhere that looked like a soba noodles, but was pureed chestnut…very delicious. There were at least five kinds of chestnut snacks in the health food stores and chocolate-covered chestnuts in the chocolate shops. I believe chestnuts, which look like little brains helps the nervous system. The other food that I was surprised were eaten a lot was mussels. It seemed that every restaurant I went to, the person next to me always ordered the same black pot that was full of what looked to be at least 50 mussels. I think it helps the energy of the body and the sexual energy in particular. It is interesting to try.
When I got home, I was hungry at the airport so I got a chicken wrap from a deli. I was struck by the total lack of energy in the food, it had the vibration of a stone. I started tuning into why American food, even healthy food, makes one feel poorly. I started feeling that all the meat has the same feeling, like the animals are grateful to be dead because their noisy, smelly, crowded miserable lives are finally over. I think much of our food is being irradiated and genetically modified without our knowledge. I have a feeling that food that is labeled organic that is finding its way into the mainstream supermarkets is not as pure as it used to be.
When I got back to work I saw a patient that I have been treating for over a decade. In the testing it showed that although she was eating the healthiest food possible,it was still missing something…vital energy.
So I came up with four foods, that if added to her diet would give her that life force needed to keep her energy up for her busy teaching schedule. They were…fermented vegetables, kefir, miso and kombucha. They all have something in common, they are all naturally fermented foods that have billions of beneficial flora for our digestive tracts, which benefits our entire body. It is literally “living food.” I realized that everyone needs these vitality foods. So I contacted my old friend, Mary Rogers, an expert in living foods and she agreed to do a class for my patients. While all of these foods can be bought in health foods stores, they are so much better, and cheaper, and more satisfying if made at home (except perhaps for the miso).
So mark your calendars for November 21st, and call our office at 952-930-3575, to reserve your place for our living foods workshop on how to make you own cultured foods, including how to make your own kombucha (which may indeed save our culture!)
To Your Health,
Warren King, L.Ac.