As a non-fisherman/woman, I had this thought this morning: When you go fishing and catch a fish, how does that fish die? Just from being out of the water? Does he suffer? Is there a kind way to fish as opposed to a less kind way?
When I fished as a child, I never gave any thought to how that fish actually died. I never gave any thought to any suffering that fish might go through. I’m not saying we should not eat fish; I’m just saying that it is interesting how we sometimes do things without thinking about them at all.
The very least we can do when we eat a fish or an animal, is to give thanks for it and be grateful. I know we usually don’t do that. We eat mindlessly. I know I do most of the time. If we cooked with thought and care, and ate with thought and gratefulness, would we be healthier? Eat less? Eat better food?
I think we would be less inclined to eat processed, junky foods because we would stop to think about what we are eating. I read once about a doctor who would eat two Egg McMuffins in his car on his way to work in the morning and two Big Macs for lunch in his car on his way back to his office.
His nutritionist said he could continue to eat those things, but he had to take twenty minutes to eat them with the car parked. He needed to enjoy them slowly and sensually, and breathe deeply before, during, and after his meals.
After two weeks, he realized he hated Big Macs, and he had to smother them with ketchup to get them down. After slowing down and eating thoughtfully, the wisdom of his own body kicked in, and he couldn’t eat the same way anymore. He didn’t need to use will power; he just needed to learn to relax and savor his food.
Is our main diet a mix of sugar, white flour, chemical flavorings, and unhealthy oils mixed in with some factory-farmed meat or fish and anemic vegetables doctored up with butter and cheese to make them palatable? Or is it freshly picked or dug from the earth? Does it come from a local farmer or food producer who respects the earth and living creatures? If our bodies are containers for our spirits, it must matter what we put into them.
It takes time to grow and prepare food or to shop for quality food. It has to be a priority though, or we and our children and grandchildren will pay a price – we already have. We need to pay attention to what we put into our bodies. Not that we have to become extremely fanatical; we just have to become aware of what we eat and learn to slow down and savor food.
It might sound like that will take away some of the pleasure in our lives, but once you get used to the crunch of bright green, fresh broccoli or wonderful spices cooked with lentils, onion, and garlic or just-picked herbs mixed with fresh greens, heirloom tomatoes, and colorful carrots, and you can feel the difference whole foods make, you learn what real pleasure is.