Raw, adjective: 1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot.

Seems the theme of the day is food, and so, it makes sense to take a second to talk about the reason I'm really here in the first place.

For several years now I've been buried in research on holistic nutrition, anti-medical-establishment healing and just general hippie-granola wanky vegetarian shit. I've always been interested in the politics of food, not only in terms of ethics and grand global schemes, but also in terms of more microcosmic levels of interpersonal relations and how food plays a role in them. Being in San Francisco has, of course, been a boon to that, and such a blessing on many levels, in that the Bay Area is such a progressive place in terms of organic and regional produce, healthy lifestyles and just a general foodie mentality. But at this point, I am really seeing the various elements of my theoretical and social work coming together in the form of what we put into our bodies, and why, and how that affects our daily lives (and the future).

I was first introduced to the "raw food" lifestyle when I was living in the UK and doing a lot of reading in my downtime. Then, when I moved to Southern Spain and was living at a sustainable community there, one of its primary emphases was raw food and the ways in which a raw diet can potentially assuage all kinds of environmental, economic, political and physical problems. It was still fairly new to me at that point, but I was an eager learner, and after returning to the States to be with my father during his battle with cancer, I obviously had a new impetus for researching this stuff further. So I read everything out there in the hopes of easing Dad's pain, and learning what I could do to avoid being in the same situation myself thirty years down the road.

Long story short - after so much research and simultaneously witnessing remarkable changes in my own body and mind after several years of living this way myself, I'm sold on this shit - and as an environmentalist, a feminist, a social progressive and just someone who'd like to be around someday to meet my grandchildren, I really can't imagine finding a more ideal solution to so many of the current micro- and macro- problems we're having on a global level. Obesity, poverty, resource depletion, Big Pharma, Big Food, consumerism, the sexual, race and class politics of meat and of food consumption...all of it seems set to do battle with this radical (or not so radical, when you really look at it) new approach to eating and to nourishing ourselves and one another.

I'll leave it there for now. I'm knee-deep in several projects right now that will do a much more thorough job of explaining the politics and the theory and the simple practical reality behind this notion, and I have to say, I'm reaaallly excited about them. First, an article on the sexual politics of food and how given the body of work on feminist-vegetarianism, raw foodism emerges as the clear cut option for enacting a praxis of personal and political social ethics in the daily life of anyone who's interested in social justice at any level. And second, an article on Buddhism, the notion of "ahimsa" (non-suffering), materialism and non-consumption, and the hungry-ghost realm that also considers raw foodism as a hugely appropriate means of living in the world. And a few more side projects, as well, dealing with yoga and embodiment and a look at the notion of "nourishment" in the light of current political and social crises. Mmm!

It's exciting to see a lot of this ostensibly macrocosmic social theory coming together in the very tangible realm of food and consumption. I'm seeing so many threads of "nourishment" cohering here: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, sexual, environmental, etc. And that feels inherently deviant in a culture that is so full of "empty calories," aka superficial bullshit that masquerades as deep or true or life-giving.

Anyway. More to come. In the meantime, a great book to look into if you're at all interested in the politics of food is "The Sexual Politics of Meat," by Carol J. Adams. A real barnstormer in the study of the sex, race and class dimensions of eating and who gets to eat what. We see this today in the connections between poverty, diabetes and obesity...and in so much more. Check it out.

Comments

molly said…
hm. one of my favorite things in the world is to pick something from the evergrowing garden in my back yard and make a meal. as im reading your blog for the first time im eating carrot bisque soup made of my cute squat, squarishly shaped actually, carrots. several of my harvests are cooked. though some i eat raw. im noncommittal. either way its planted in my dirt with my hands and nourished with the compost that comes from our kitchen scraps and leaves and i love it. and its healthy. but i actually started to comment on this to tell you that every year, in baltimore, there is a very large conference called Food as Medicine. tim went last year and raved and raved and i got to go to a dinner and let me tell you, fantastic. its all "holistic nutrition, anti-medical-establishment healing and just general hippie-granola wanky vegetarian shit" as you say. you should look into it.

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