I’ve been reading a book called the Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff. It’s a relatively old one (published back in 1983), but a good one. It explains the Taoist way of thinking by using the characters from Winnie the Pooh, making it a pretty amusing read. In fact, Taoism in general seems to have a slightly cheeky side. The translation of the classic Chinese text can be found here, and is called the Tao Te Ching. But for now I want to share some things I liked from the book, and naturally some that also relate to nutrition.
The book talks about Inner Nature, which is what makes everybody different. No two bodies are the same, inside or out – no two minds are the same. Here are three ideas about Inner Nature.
1. Things are as they are – just accept this. The more you try to be something you’re not, the less real you will actually be. Do you know where you belong? Are you at home in your job, your marriage, your life? Don’t think too much – trust your feelings and respect them.
2. Know your own limitations; recognise your own strengths and weaknesses. You don’t have to necessarily accept them, but acknowledge them and work with them. Overconfidence is not a good thing. Accept yourself and find ways to turn negatives into positives.
3. Instinct is a powerful force. Sometimes it’s more powerful than science. Go with what you feel to be right, don’t label or over-analyse, it’s not necessary.We don’t need to know everything. We can work with things as they are, by being attuned to nature – ourselves and our surroundings.
All of these build up to a theory known as the Wu Wei. It means not going against the nature of things and instead, you could say, going with the flow. When we interfere with the natural flow of things, mistakes are made and are not easy to un-make. Instead we should give up fighting against our own inner nature and instead operate on a principle of minimal effort. So stop trying too hard! How good does that sound?
How can we apply this to nutrition? First of all – know yourself. What is great for one person may not be so good for another, because their bodies have different needs. An example – I was drinking green smoothies for breakfast in winter and was wondering why I was always so cold. I naturally run cold – so the foods that are the best for me are warming ones, especially in winter. Someone who runs warm could probably happily drink green smoothies all year round. Your body will often tell you what it needs – but beware of your brain which will interfere! What I mean by this is that it is the brain that is receiving and interpreting messages from the outside – perhaps delicious smells, or images on a cooking program etc. Can you block these out so that you can perceive the messages from the inside?
For today’s recipe – what is my body telling me it needs right now?
Ice cream of course! No seriously, I have had a nasty toothache for a couple of days now and solid foods are off the menu so I came up with this quick, healthy and delicious treat to ease my pain.
Blueberry Blender Ice Cream – Serves 2
2 cups frozen blueberries
1 avocado, peeled and deseeded
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Place all ingredients into your high speed blender and blend until creamy. Eat it before it melts!