A Food Idea
This is a subject I've had on my mind to post about for some time and seeing Waitrose today trending on Twitter and finding out it was to do with new signs they have put up in their stores encouraging people to buy plant-based alternatives to reduce their carbon footprint compelled me to finally do it. It was pleasing to me to see many comments pointing out there is often nothing natural about plant-based items. For years I've always wondered how the people who push this stuff can't see that it's more artificial and processed than the items it's supposed to be substituting. The first time I encountered soya milk, back in the 90s, was through someone I knew from New Zealand who I used to write to, who couldn't digest normal milk. The idea of soya milk then made me gag and gradually it got more and more popular throughout the 2000s here in UK supermarkets so I began looking at the ingredients in these things. A few years back I considered giving up cow's milk and trying almond milk after reading an interview with Brandon Flowers of The Killers, where he talked of having it on his cereal for breakfast. Sounded like a good idea... almond milk sounds appealing... but when I checked the ingredients I was surprised to see 2% of the product was almond milk, the rest water and a bunch of chemicals. That killed that idea.
My main reason for considering giving up cow's milk is because I am a singer and I do find dairy products tend to clog up the sinuses, producing phlegm, which can inhibit the singing voice. It's a common problem amongst singers and I know certain singers avoid cheese, eggs, milk, etc... The two that are most noticeable to me are eggs and yoghurt. If I eat either daily, after a few days I feel it restrict my singing voice. Not majorly, but just feels like I have to work harder to produce the same sounds.
I've experimented with cutting out milk altogether but I always end up coming back to it because there just isn't a cost-effective alternative. Last year there was a period where I was having soup and toast for breakfast, which I enjoyed, but I couldn't afford to keep buying tubs of soup on a daily basis.
When I went through a major spiritual awakening/transformation in 2007 it changed so many things in my life automatically and one of them was the way I eat. Prior to 2007 I used to eat some form of meat each day, a chicken curry one night, spaghetti bolognese another, spicy chorizo with rice, mince and tatties. I grew up with it being normal to eat some form of meat for tea (dinner) as everyone around me did. After 2007 this began to change and not out of any ideology or ism, I just didn't feel like meat so much. Like my body felt it was too heavy and wanted something lighter. We got a steamer around that time and began having rice and steamed vegetables. Then through reading about the life of U.G. Krishnamurti he turned us on to tomato pasta, which has been a staple of my diet ever since. Basically, garlic, onions, peppers/mushrooms (optional) fried in some oil, some spices and either tinned tomatoes or fresh ones for the sauce and any kind of pasta, topped with grated cheese. This meal got us through our Europe adventures in SoulJahm... whether in Italy, Budapest, Germany or wherever its pretty easy to find those ingredients. I still eat it regularly today. From 2007 onwards, I rarely had meat other than when we ordered an Indian takeaway or got some fish and chips.
I'd find that naturally I could sense when my body needed or felt like some meat and I'd honour that and it might be months before I feel like it again. I never called myself a vegetarian or stuck any kind of label on myself, I simply listened carefully to what the body wanted and tried to honour that. That's pretty much how I still eat today. Obviously, budget also plays a part. At different periods things have been tighter financially and other times a bit more relaxed so what I'm able to afford changes and my diet corresponds. If I could, I'd eat organic fresh stuff always. It has always amused (and disgusted) me when I pick up vegan and plant-based items in the supermarket and check out the ingredients. I wouldn't touch that stuff. I'd rather not consume milk or meat at all than replace it with some artificial version.
I've always been fussy about food but only in the sense of artificial ingredients. I like most foods but I like them to be natural and organic if possible. If I pick up anything and see excessive stabilisers, gums, emulsifiers, and so on I stay well clear. I'm fun to be around when choosing ice-cream or chocolates or biscuits because I won't touch stuff with excessive chemicals! The only ice-cream I eat is either Haagen-Dazs or Yeo Valley because even the other so-called natural ones have a lot of chemicals in them. I used to like Kettle and Tyrells crisps but now have to stick to either salted or cheese & onion because all the other flavours list 'Natural Flavouring' in them, which years ago they never did. Why do crisps need Natural Flavouring?
Most of the foods I grew up with as a child I no longer touch. I used to eat all the usual brands of crisps, chocolates, juices but now I have to search out more natural alternatives. If I ever have a soft drink, it might be something like Cawston Press Sparkling Cloudy Apple. I won't even have their other flavours like Rhubarb because of the ubiquitous 'Natural Flavouring', which seems to be a generic term for sneaking something artificial into a natural product.
Its clear to see that the vegan thing is politically motivated, not really to do with eating healthy and of course, that's why there is so much chemical processed crap in plant-based alternatives. I would be much more sympathetic to the vegan cause if it was actually about eating well (I know not all vegans are like this).
I do occasionally eat stuff with artificial ingredients, mainly because it's so hard not to, but I try to limit it as much as I can. Just before my awakening back in 2007, I got gifted a bread maker for Christmas and so I never buy processed bread from the supermarkets anymore. It amazes me that I can make much better tasting bread with 4 or 5 basic ingredients when the stuff in the shops is filled with a list of unpronounceable chemical compounds. When I am without the bread maker I try to get fresh, natural breads from the shops (Germany was always good for that!).
During the last few crazy years, with lockdowns and so on, we could no longer get into supermarkets (refusing to wear a mask) and so started ordering from local, organic farms (East Coast Organics and Whitmuir) but that was not a long-term viable thing for us as too expensive and limiting. We tried growing some peppers in the window along with herbs like basil and parsley and that's definitely something I'd like to get into more when I'm living in a more suitable environment. If I could, I'd grow everything myself but alas, I don't have a garden.
One of the things that I have noticed eating like this for many years is how much I can taste that is bland to others around me. Whenever we have tried to introduce our way of eating to family and friends around us, they can't take to it because they are so used to eating rich stuff with lots of sugars and salt and all kinds of other flavours. I find the opposite to be true now. When I have a pasta sauce from someone else it is often too rich, too many flavours going on for me to enjoy. If I have too many takeaways in a short period of time I'm longing to get back to more simple flavours.
Another thing is I've always distrusted microwaves ever since my mum first got given one back in the 90s. The only thing I ever ate out of them was the odd baked potato and those McCain micro chips, which is ironic, because this was in the 90s long before I discovered David Icke and heard about the microchipping agenda! I didn't even like being in the kitchen when the microwave was on cos I could feel something coming off it that made my head feel uncomfortable. I had a similar experience when I first got given a mobile phone back in the late 90s. So, instinctively, I stayed away from both. Needless to say, I avoid food cooked in a microwave as much as I can, which is tricky sometimes when you go into a shop for a snack because you never know when they are gonna stick stuff in the microwave instead of heating it up properly.
In my world, in a sane world, we'd all have enough space and resources to grow our own food if we wished, or exchange natural resources with each other, and have no need for all this chemical crap we are forced to eat through mass-manufacturing.
Here is a link to U.G. Krishnamurti's "Cook Book", which I came across many years ago. I don't follow all the recipes myself and he himself didn't recommend this diet to all but I think its worthy of posting here because the principles behind it are valuable - basically, that we should forget all ideas about food, from experts or anyone, and simply eat what is right for our particular body: