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Monday, July 29, 2019

Do You Want A Healthy and Fulfilling Life? Start by Making Toast or Frying an Egg

The permutations and cultural preferences in food preparation are colourful as the people of the world. Every corner of the planet is full of uniquely regional ingredients. The way to prepare ingredients for a meal also uniquely developed with, and lead to the way people are living and working in a particular area. Our cultures, tastes, rituals and preferences developed around our food and meal habits. 

The best way to maintain and celebrate our identity is thus with our people’s unique foods. Our food not only feeds and nourishes but also directs our mental state and determines our physical health.

Catalysts


There are two ways we can grow or change. Either, life does it to us, or we do it to ourselves. In both these cases, a catalyst is required to get things underway. A catalyst is a person or thing that precipitates an event that leads to a change in circumstances or behaviour. If you want to have a healthy and fulfilling life, with good friends, you need a catalyst. 

There is ample evidence that because of the relationship with our food, we as humans developed into the uniquely dominant species that we are. When we prepare food, we learn, we share, and we make friends. When we are involved with our food, we are more likely to eat better, and as a result, live healthier and happier lives. Unfortunately, in our “modern” world, this involvement is fast becoming a casualty as the majority of people are losing the opportunity or the interest to cook. 

In this blog post, we are making the case that it is time for us to start cooking again. Our food is the catalyst for our health, fulfillment and we are likely to have more good friendships. It is as simple as starting with making toast or frying an egg.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 


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Make It


Our development and evolution are directly influenced by our relationship with our food. Consciously or unconsciously, a lot of what happens in our lives still have some connection with what, how, when and with whom, we eat. It is evident from the amount of information published about our diets, and about the ongoing conversations, we have with the people around us about what we choose to eat. Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Meatatarian are now commonly used houshold terms and pops up often in day-to-day conversations. This blog is not about defining our relationship with food, but rather, making the case that our food is the catalyst for a whole lot more meaningful living. Let me walk you through the logic.

Our unique approach to nourishment turned us into responsible learning organisms. The best learning we can do is to discover how to feed ourselves. Knowing how to hunt, grow, prepare and enjoy our food was always the basis for our survival. Unfortunately, this knowledge is increasingly in short supply in a society where it became easier to UberEats or HappyMeal than to crack an egg or fire up a grill. Heaven forbid we find out where eggs actually come from or visit a pig farm for bacon!

Our fulfillment as human beings suffered when Google Search replaced hunting, opening the fridge replaced foraging, and the submit button on a takeout app or the on button of the microwave replaced food preparation and cooking. When we are no longer directly involved with what we eat, we deny ourselves the most primal and uniquely human opportunity for intellectual development - learning about our food and how to prepare it. Our chance and ability to learn through sourcing and preparing a meal is lost, and with that, a whole lot of personal value eliminated.

Yes, we are learning organisms. Our position in the food chain and dominance on planet Earth came about because of the energy we've put into building our intellect around food. It also influenced the development of our social structures to help us source and maintain our food supply. Even our physiology developed to make our minds our most dominant survival feature. Instead of physical strength, speed, or agility, our best tool to survive and evolve became our ability to learn, reason and remember how to stay safe, what to eat, where to find it, and how to prepare it.

To have a more fulfilling life, we should cherish the opportunity to learn about our food while preparing a meal. It starts with something as simple as making toast or frying an egg.

Share It


Our species' first priority for our intellect was and still is, to learn how to survive. Our survival depends on how well we can procreate, protect and nourish ourselves. We quickly learned as humans that we share this as a common goal with those closest to us. We learned a long time ago that it is easier to cooperate with those that have the same needs. It is more valuable to do it with those we care for most, like a spouse, parent, child, or sibling.

With this as a priority, our intellect developed to enable us to maintain and benefit from cooperation. The way it started was with our need to eat and survive. To meet this need, we learned to foster relationships and cooperate. The way we relate and interact with others followed a similar logic. It means that when we forage together, prepare and share a meal, we are more likely to have things in common and successfully cooperate as a result.

We are better able to foster meaningful relationships with those that share in the task. It satisfies another of our critical primal urges - our need for acceptance. It is how good friendships start and is maintained. People that cook and eat together are more likely to develop and foster healthy, meaningful relationships.

Love It


Preparing food is work. Not knowing what and how to prepare food makes it even harder work. Yet, herein lies the opportunity to learn and discover what makes each one of us healthy and unique. We have to eat. We may as well eat with a purpose and do it with the people we love.

The permutations and cultural preferences in food preparation are as colourful as the people of the world. Every corner of the planet is full of uniquely regional ingredients. The way to prepare ingredients for a meal also uniquely developed with, and lead to the way people are living and working in a particular area. Our cultures, tastes, rituals and preferences developed around our food and meal habits. The best way to maintain and celebrate our identity is thus with our people’s unique foods. Our food not only feeds and nourishes but also directs our mental state and determines our physical health.

When this alignment is violated, a delicate balance is destroyed with dire consequences for society. It has health consequences and ultimately contributes to the disruption of culture and identity. For example, societies not accustomed to high carbohydrate intake and sugary foods become diabetic and obese. It's been happening all over the world. The best model can be found in the Pacific Islands, where diabetes became an epidemic because of the change in the food supply. Where dairy isn’t a staple, people are lactose intolerant. This is the case in some Chinese populations. Yet, they are consuming more and more dairy because it became more readily available, and in some cases, even fashionable regardless of the health consequences. The biggest offender of them all, processed foods, introduced carcinogens that destroys unique and essential gut bacteria. Our gut bacteria help with digestion, and it has been proven that it also has a link with a person’s mood and mental health. Processed food leads to increases in the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders like gluten intolerance, autoimmune diseases, and even depression. The Inuit needs their seal blubber not only to survive, but to be healthy, and to be Inuit. The same with the Bushmen hunting in Africa. They need their meat and to celebrate every hunt. It is who they are.

It is far too easy for us in our global convenience-driven societies to abandon cultural and meal conventions. Many of us cannot remember what and how our people used to eat. We have to revisit the cookbooks of our forefathers to rediscover our preferences and tastes. These conventions developed over thousands of years. It made us what we are physically, mentally and culturally. By abandoning it, we are not only risking our health. We are risking our mental state and who we are. It is becoming quite apparent that we are unfortunately too eager to embrace new meal conventions, and there is a price to pay for doing it.

The bottom line is, regardless of the improved availability of all kinds of ingredients and foods, thanks to globalism and large multinational food producers, we remain captive physiologically and culturally to what is our diet. If we violate this accord with a BigMac or SugarySlurpee, we risk physical and mental health.

When we prepare our own food, it is easier to pay attention to what is good for us to eat. We can source the right ingredients and cook it in a way that aligns with our preferences, cultural identity and, with our physiology. Not only will we be eating better. We will also be healthier and happier as a result.

Observations


I started this blog post with the statement that a healthy and fulfilled life, with good friends, begins with making toast or frying an egg.

It doesn’t have to be toast or eggs. What it should be is a daily dedication to source ingredients and prepare meals to share with those we love. The result will be a lifelong learning experience as we learn not only how to prepare our food, but also how our food brings our friends and family together for healthier and more rewarding lives. It is what we’ve been doing for thousands of years. We should do it again. At our very foundation, it is who we are.

Hendrik
Cooking Cowboy

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Photos


Camp Cooking

Thirsty

Pork Chop

Foodie Friends

Food Love and Dedication

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