Appreciating Healthy Food


A Dialogue taken from my favorite book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman:

“I wondered about Joseph. “Is he a warrior, like you, Soc?”

“No one is a warrior like me,” he answered, laughing. “Nor would anyone want to be. Each man or woman has natural qualities. For example, while you’ve excelled in gymnastics, Joseph has mastered the preparation of food.’”

“Oh, you mean cooking?”

“Not exactly. Joseph doesn’t heat food much; it destroys the natural enzymes needed to fully digest the food. He prepares natural foods in a way you’ll soon see for yourself. After a taste of Joseph’s culinary magic, you’ll have no tolerance for fast food joints ever again.”

“What’s so special about his cooking?”

“Only two things, really—both subtle. First, he gives his complete attention to what he does; second, love is literally one of the primary ingredients in everything he makes. You can taste it afterwards for a long time.”

“Wait a minute, Socrates. Eating isn’t really a problem area for me. I’m slim, I generally feel pretty good, and my gymnastics proves I have enough energy. How is changing a few things in my diet going to make a difference?”

“Your present diet,” he said, glancing up through the sunlit branches of a beautiful tree, “may give you a ‘normal’ amount of energy, but much of what you eat also makes you groggy, affects your moods, lowers your level of awareness, and interferes with your body’s optimal vitality. Your impulsive diet results in toxic residues that have a long-range effect on your longevity. Most of your mental and emotional problems could be minimized by simple attention to proper eating.”

“‘How can changing my diet affect my energy?” I argued. “I mean, I take in calories, and they represent a certain amount of energy.’

“That is the traditional view, but it is a shallow one; the warrior must recognize more subtle influences. Our primary source of energy in this system,” he said, waving his arm to indicate the solar system, “is the sun. But in general, the human being–that’s you..

“‘Thanks for the concession.”

“… in his present state of evolution, has not developed the ability to make direct use of the sun’s energy; you cannot ‘eat sunlight’ except in limited ways. When humanity does develop this ability, the digestive organs will become vestigial and the laxative companies will go out of business. For now, food is the form of stored sunlight which you need.

A proper diet allows you to make the most direct use of the sun’s energy. The ensuing store of energy will open your senses, expand your awareness, and sharpen your concentration into a slashing blade.”

“All that is going to happen by eliminating cupcakes from my diet?”

“Yes–by eliminating cupcakes, and a few other odds and ends.”

“One of the Japanese Olympic gymnasts once told me that it’s not your bad habits that count, but your good ones.”

“That means your good habits must become so strong that they dissolve those which are not useful.” Socrates pointed ahead to a small cafe on Shattuck near Ashby. I’d walked by there many times without really noticing it.

“So, you believe in natural foods, Soc?” I said as we crossed the street.

“It’s not a matter of believing but of doing. I can tell you this: I eat only what is wholesome, and I eat only as much as I need. In order to appreciate what you call natural foods, you have to sharpen your instincts; you have to become a natural man.”

“Sounds positively ascetic to me. Don’t you even have a little ice cream now and then?”

“My diet may at first seem Spartan compared to the indulgences you call ‘moderation’, Dan, but the way I eat is actually filled with pleasure, because I’ve developed the capacity to enjoy the simplest foods. And so will you.”