News on the food front gets worse by the day. In December we were deep in the mad cow issue. Just one mad cow, its pieces sold over 6 states plus Hawaii and Guam, and next thing you know several countries put a ban on importing beef from the USA. That mad cow (poor cow, she wasn’t angry or crazy, she was just sick, and look how we treat her!) was known as a “downer.” Nice name. It’s employed to indicate cows that are so weak they fall down and can’t walk to the slaughterhouse. No matter, they get killed anyway and and then are sold to us as edible food, I bet ground up as hamburger meat, or hidden in hot dogs, when you really can’t tell what you’re eating.
Then we have the issue of genetic engineering. That is when earnest scientists manipulate the genetic material of plants and animals, mixing them up or changing them so as to impart “favorable” genetic traits — putting a fish gene in tomatoes to keep the tomatoes from freezing, or making sure soybeans can resist herbicides that would otherwise kill them when applied. Of course those who work in this field believe they are helping humanity — but they’d rather not test the GE foods to see what they do to animals, and they’d rather not label the foods because people won’t buy them. At this time, more than 60% of the soy and corn crops are genetically engineered. If you allow for unintentional cross pollination, it may be much more. In fact, some people say that the word “organic” is now meaningless in regard to the GE issue, as much of the world is now contaminated. That is of course very pleasant to the GE people, as now one cannot always make a distinction and so de facto one is consuming GE foods whether we want to or not. Then the labeling issue is moot.
We haven’t heard much about irradiation lately, especially since the organization “Food and Water” has pretty much folded – it was their pet peeve. When I checked online, I found that the major pro-irradiation website has not been updated for about 3 years. According to the CDC, irradiation (done to eliminate pathogenic bacteria) does not affect the food much. “The high energy ray is absorbed as it passes through food, and gives up its energy. The food is slightly warmed. Some treated foods may taste slightly different, just as pasteurized milk tastes slightly different from unpasteurized milk. If the food still has living cells, (such as seeds, or shellfish, or potatoes) they will be damaged or killed just as microbes are. (My emphasis) This can be a useful effect. For example, it can be used to prolong the shelf life of potatoes by keeping them from sprouting. The energy can induce a few other changes. At levels approved for use on foods, levels of the vitamin thiamine are slightly reduced. This reduction is not enough to result in vitamin deficiency. There are no other significant changes in the amino acid, fatty acid, or vitamin content of food.” Of course, killing the life in food does not qualify as a significant change.
Then let’s add all the processing, the thousands of chemical and artificial ingredients, colors, flavors, preservatives, and the negative energy of impersonal factories and cranky cooks, and it’s a miracle that we actually survive eating what the marketplace offers.
So what to do? If you read the foregoing carefully, you may feel like “it’s hopeless — there is nothing left to eat.” You may be right. I’ve just engaged in what could be called “awfulizing,” or what Eric Berne used to call the game of “ain’t it awful.” But you know that old saying — when God closes a door, he opens a window. I’ve wondered for years what we could do to defend ourselves against this tide of attacks on our life’s physical nourishment. The answer came to me years ago, and it is surprisingly simple.
I was in a class in 1975 taught by Hazel Parcells, where we learned to use the pendulum, and we also heard about how to cleanse our produce — by putting it in a Clorox bath, 1 teaspoon in one gallon of water. We learned to measure the “life energy” of the food with the pendulum, found that commercially (not-organic) raised food tested lifeless; and that when the apple or whatever was put through that kind of cleansing bath the pendulum would indicate it was now more energized and lively. Being kind of lazy, myself and others tested an apple, which came out “not OK,” and then we simply put our hands over it and sent it good energy. When we tested it again, lo and behold, the apple now was OK!
A similar take on this problem comes from a book by Sandra Ingerman, Medicine for the Earth. Sandra ran some carefully controlled experiments with a group of healers, to see if a spiritual approach could change the pH of polluted water. They added chemicals to deionized water so as to bring the pH to 12, which is highly alkaline and toxic. After chanting, rituals, and ceremonies, a few hours later the pH of the water had been reduced to 9, a significant change. Changing the deep nature of something has been called “transmutation,” and Ingerman has a chapter in her book called “Transmuting the food that nourishes you.”
In it, she suggests that preparing food should be viewed as a sacred ritual. “All food preparation is a ceremony,” she writes, “whether you are aware of it or not.” Being in a mood of love and compassion for those one cooks for — even if oneself — will improve the quality of the food. If the ingredients are less than perfect, she suggest you hold your hands over the food (just like we did in that pendulum class), and chant or think blessings and love. Most importantly, she says, “give thanks for the life sacrificed so that you might live.” She doesn’t specify, but I read that to mean both animal food and plant food.
It’s been done for thousands of years, in all cultures, this ceremony. In our culture we call it “saying grace.” Gracias, in Spanish, means “thank you.” Love, thanks, blessings — those feelings will imbue the food with nourishing energy. But if we think, “oh, this is really lousy food, I couldn’t get organic, and didn’t have time to cook, ah well, the hell with it, I gotta eat something” — let’s remember that such is the thought-energy we put into our food, and that is what we’ll eat. In a marvelous book called Messages from Water, Masaru Emoto shows a series of pictures of frozen water crystals. Those of clear streams look like jewels, those of dirty and polluted waters look ugly and irregular. What Emoto did later was to expose water to music: Mozart looked beautiful, heavy metal looked polluted. And then he put words and thoughts on the vials of water — and again the crystals changed! “You make me sick” showed a severely deformed crystal, while “Thank you” made the water crystals look like beautiful jewels.
Considering how much water there is in the foods we eat, it is clear that our thoughts and feelings will affect the food just as surely as pollution and grime.
To overcome the poor energetic quality of our modern food supply, while we don’t have the power to change the entire agricultural and food processing industry, we can change ourselves, and raise the energy of the food we eat every day by our loving attention. And it costs nothing.
Try this little exercise before your meals.
Short consciousness focus before a meal.
Before you eat anything, whether home-cooked, from a package, take-out, or fast food, stop a minute, look at the food, and think of how it got to be on your plate. Marvel at the blessing. Thank the earth, the sky, the waters, the growers and harvesters, the truckers and trains, the processors and cooks, and note how many people worked so that you can eat. Express your silent (or spoken, depending on the situation) thanks and appreciation to all, bless the food, and invite it to join you in your life. Chew well, and enjoy every bite.
Eric Berne, Games People Play
Masaru Emoto, Messages from Water
Sandra Ingerman, Medicine for the Earth – how to transform personal and environmental toxins
Marion Nestle, Food Politics
Jeffrey M. Smith, Seeds of Deception