Everyone who approaches eating with a high degree of intentionality seems to like to label themselves– perhaps because the way they eat is not just about scanning a finger down a menu and choosing one thing rather than another, but it can become a whole way of life. I’m thinking here of vegetarians, vegans, raw foodies, etc. Over the past five years that we’ve been married, my husband and I have been on a gradual path towards becoming quite intentional about what we eat, but we don’t fall into any of those categories. We’ve been drawn, for a variety of reasons, towards becoming “traditional” eaters.
Traditional eating, for our Catholic family, means that we try to:
- eat foods that have fed and nourished humanity for thousands of years.*
- purchase food that is local; grown in a sustainable and traditional manner
- prepare said food in a traditional way–maximizing not only its nutritive value but our understanding of meals as the gift and fruit of labor
- ponder in ever-greater depth what it means to eat if our God has become Incarnate; if he asks us to take and eat of His very self.
*The fascinating findings of Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist who travelled all over the world and observed the eating habits of populations that had been isolated from industrial civilization are well-chronicled elsewhere. The short version is this: he observed diverse populations– from the Inuit in Alaska to isolated mountain-dwelling Swiss villagers to Afrikan tribes– and found that their health, not only dental but all-around, was excellent. He compared these isolated peoples to members of the same racial/cultural groups who had begun to eat the foods of industry– white flour, white sugar, white rice, concentrated fruit juices, among many things–and saw the industrial eaters suffering from a great many more health problems as well as physical and mental debilities. Although we have joined the Weston A. Price Foundation– a group that encourages traditional eating and publishes an interesting a quarterly journal on the subject– I must make a caveat here that I do not wholeheartedly endorse everything this group says and does, for reasons I am feeling out slowly and will discuss here as time goes on.