About two years ago I returned to vegetarianism, after reading Jonathan Safran Foer's book - "Eating Animals". Actually that's not entirely true - it wasn't just the book that persuaded me to ditch the bacon, I also had two friends who had been quietly sowing the seeds for about three weeks before I finished the book...
I had been vegetarian in the past but in that former life, I had been a lazy vegetarian... Largely, unaware of the insidiousness of factory farming and the ramifications to billions of animals each year (animalequity.net). Yes, you heard right - we kill and eat 56 BILLION ANIMALS a year!
[And by the way, that figure does not include fish! wtf?!]
There will be another time and place for me to unpack my misgivings about the meat industry and the desperate need for us to change the way we consume animals, if not for the ethical concerns, then for the serious ecological impact of eating meat and the adverse effects it has on longevity and vitality... Today though, I a focusing instead on the fresh intention with which I set about this lifestyle change.
This time around, it was about nourishing my body better. Giving it cleaner energy to maintain the extensive travelling I was doing and to mitigate the effects of professional stress. And I wanted to shift my relationship to food; until that point food was something I consumed unconsciously. I ate out of conditioning and necessity, with no appreciation for this perfunctory activity we do three times a day.
Like many people (I think), I had a very limited diet and almost-zero competency in the kitchen. I knew about vegetables and legumes and grains and pulses, but they weren't part of my food discourse - food was meat, dairy, breads and pasta, fruit and a smattering of salad. Whilst my parents had diligently encouraged me to eat wholegrain and unrefined versions of these, the latter was my food universe.
So vegetarianism became not just about compassion for the other creatures on this planet, but also about embarking on a journey into an expanded understanding of food. And for the first time in my life, I'm actively cooking and researching it.
A few weeks ago I discovered Thank Goodness Food and Beverages at The Oranjezicht City Farm Market in Granger Bay. This is a company that was started by a trio of Scottish siblings, who live between Cape Town and Europe and whose passion is sharing delicious, wholesome, natural meals.
One of the trio, Aisha, has been in food for over 15 years... Her extensive experience includes being a restaurant-owner, celebrity chef, food writer, food stylist, recipe-developer and teacher. She has a MA degree in Languages, Diploma in Nutrition and is currently studying Naturopathic Nutrition & Energetic Healing. Here in Cape Town, the fort is held down by the thorn amongst the roses, Razzaq.
Their innate talents and accumulated knowledge and passions were formalised into this business in late 2014. "Thank Goodness" is both their food and life philosophy; thankfulness in life is integral to a life well-lived and sharing wholesome, natural, delicious, healthy meals is just as important. That philosophy speaks to me!
The more I chatted to Razzaq, the more I was inspired by his family's relationship to food... They were practising organic and self-sustaining farming principals, way before these became buzz words. So over the next four weeks I will be sharing some of their treats with you and how these specifically nourish and care for your body...
Food should be about longevity and vitality, yet somehow we've made it about excess/gluttony or privation/starvation... But that doesn't have to be the dialogue or the relationship we have with our food and it starts with awareness!
Look out for my post later this week on their delicious Keffir!