Thursday, April 12, 2012

You Are What You Eat!

You Are What You Eat
I'm writing this on the 6th day of Passover, thus I find myself thinking a lot about food! The conscious choice to eliminate all things leaven for 1 week (7 or 8 days depending on your tradition) and to make sure to eat matzah each and every day is something that stays with me, both in my mind and my tummy! It's not without purpose. Eliminating leaven and eating matzah is supposed to remind us, in a most primal sort of way (you can't do much without food) that eliminating the "puff" and getting back to the most basic of things, can help us not only center our own lives, but make a difference in the lives of others too. But this being day 6, after 144 chametz-free hours, the visioning of all things leaven kicks in. Food is on my mind, but am I being mindful about it? Only another 48 hours will tell.

The first time I actually ever thought mindfully, I mean really mindfully, about food was when my first child was born.  Up until then, I never truly understood or behaved in a way supporting the notion that the food I put into my body was more than something to immediately satisfy my palate and its various cravings.  That the food I consumed could determine not only of my own, but my children’s health on all levels (physical, emotional, even spiritual) completely escaped me up until that point.  A light went off (as I imagine it does for so many) when, while nursing my son, I realized that if I chose to eat something made primarily of "ingredients" that ended in "ide", "ate",  "ose", or frankly of anything more than 2 syllables, my son would be "nourished" by that same "stuff."  And regardless, something that requires that many "quotation marks" probably isn't ok.  So, I began to seek out whole, organic produce and protein sources for my family.  Through that experience, I realized something else: that the food we consume actually impacts the health and balance, not only of our own bodies, but of our local community, and even the larger world as well.  When we make choices to consume locally produced foods, in-season, we assure that our local food economy is sustainable.  When that happens in each community, sustainability becomes possible all around.  People are healthier, and happier as it turns out. 
The downside: organic produce and protein are expensive.  It is not something that everyone can do.  But it doesn't have to be all or nothing either.  Even making small choices makes a difference.  Puchasing locally produced, in-season produce intentionally, once a week, is a great start.  Planting your own garden is another.  Another great idea is to support a CSA. 
Starting this Summer, my synagogue will be the delivery sight for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) through Angelic Organics.  By purchasing “shares” of vegetables and/or fruits, local family organic farms harvest and then deliver organic fruits and veggies to be picked up. 
Supporting a CSA is a great idea because it helps provide local farmers a secure market and in turn, you receive tons of organic fruits and/or veggies in season and as fresh as they can be – literally from farm to you!  It is an easy and great way to support those who literally live off the land as well as get in tune with how, when and what the land actually provides. 
If you go to NSCI or live near it, join my family in this.  A half veggie share (meaning a box delivered to NSCI every other week from mid-June through October) costs only $340, which you can divide in two payments of $170 each.  Full veggie and fruit shares are also available, as are extended season shares.  To get started, just go to:
They'll even give you $20 off if you use coupon code NS20. 
If you don't live near NSCI, you can search local CSAs in your town on the internet or check out your local farmer's market.

You know, Passover also marks an ancient agricultural time for planting. It precedes the major harvest that occurs 7 weeks and 1 day later on Shavuot. Tomorrow or Saturday night, Passover will end. But the work of the land will just be beginning. Our ancestors travelled to Jerusalem on Passover and Shavuot to pray and give thanks for a bountiful harvest that would sustain them and the entire community for the coming season. Perhaps their ancient ways can inform our choices and actions today.

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