Food is consciousness. The act of choosing food is consciousness, as is eating it or not, digesting it or not and excreting it or rotting it within. You may think about food, your body may feel how it feels to digest food, you may become what you eat today. Food is all things. Food is one thing. Food is consciousness.
With food you can think/feel your discernment in choosing it (what emotion, reason, conditioning, social/economic structure, goal) guides what you do. With food you can think or feel your digestion. Your excretion. The place that excretion goes. How that excretion comes back to you or into someone or something else.
Sometimes you don't think about food. Sometimes you are so engaged in something else - flowing in a different direction - you forget it exists. You are at at a dinner table, restaurant, counter, outside - but you are engaged in thinking your thought, expressing it, adapting your thought to the feedback you are getting, judging, listening, observing, scheming, loving, distracted by a noise. Not in food.
When I'm in one of these places. When I'm flowing with something someone else is saying, flowing an idea around my head, flowing an idea out of my body - I forget food is there. I don't eat. That's expedient. That comes naturally. That serves my flow.
Because I do this and because what I do requires me to meet new people, usually mid-way through the ritual of eating the conversation stops. A person I'm with looks at my plate and notes I haven't eaten. I, then, often start eating to be polite. If the flow is too strong - if the idea or feeling coming in or out is too strong - I burst back away from food. But I have noticed that the act of eating changes things. And different food changes things in a different way.
Some food- for me it's a steak, pasta or beans - starts to drain that flow I was going with. I can digest them. I'm not allergic to them. Give me some time to nap or rest and I'm Ok with them. Even if they are in the form of fast food. I can come back from them eventually. But right there. At the moment these foods are engaged, they drain my flow. I can't help but feel what they are doing to my body . I'm thinking/feeling the fork, my chewing, my manners. My stomach starts firing acids, my glands hormones, my heart beats differently, my tongue, throat, stomach, intestines awaken.
Some food. Some drink. Alcohol. At first explodes my flow forward and in all directions, then as I keep drinking it (to keep whatever flow I want to keep going), it pulls back and starts to drain me, it used to be to the point of a blackout, a blackout I would awaken from, feeling like shit, but strangely, often flowing with a new mellow focus. That's why I used to abuse alcohol. I liked the initial thrust to my flow, in all directions, fuel and inhibitions gone. Possibilities of thought and action open. I liked the extinction in unconsciousness that was my night. I liked and used to function in the best way I knew then, the mellow focus of the next day.
Sweet fruit, bread and bad coffee. Simple carbs a word, I learned from Dave Asprey, antinutrients/mycotoxins. Energy up, emotional and mental roller coaster, crash into burning hunger, mental fog, and depression. Like clockwork? No. Most of the time. Yes. Most of the time. It depends. But most of the time.
Given this and what I have learned to see and feel this year co-producing and co-directing the documentary Blood Berries or Butter, I now make choices as to what I eat based on rough estimates about my flow needs at the moment and my future flow needs. How I want to think and feel at the moment, how I want to think and feel tomorrow, how I want to think, feel and be for the rest of my life. I trust myself to make the right choice. You see, I have 37 years of accumulated experience, for the short term effect. I kind of know what can speed up/make more likely death or disease, I've listened to a lot of good information this year from people who have not only researched and digged into the rabbit hole of information, they have tried it on themselves, they have succeeded, they have taken arrows from skeptics, they have written books, built communities, come up with aides. They have inspired others with their insight and example.
I have a brain, a body, a soul, common sense. people I can talk to. The internet common sense. Mariel Hemingway put it best, in our July interview. Paraphrasing: I've realized that the answers are within me. That they are not that complicated. I'm okay with being wrong about the choices I make. It's now become automatic. I don't think about it much. I just kind of do what's necessary to keep flowing.
Now. Food is not only fuel or sedative. Food is not only health or disease. Food is not only business or construct. Food is consciousness. This is what this post is about.
You are thinking, feeling, receiving, giving, living so many things in your flow. They interconnect. They work, distort, change each other.
Laird Hamilton, in our interview in August, said one thing that i first I read at face value - and that I now think/feel different about. Paraphrasing: If you are kind of working out hard, if you are outdoors, if you have low stress, if you have balance in your life, etc. and you eat at McDonalds once in a while, you are probably better off that if you ate clean and are super stressed, miserable, judgmental about it. (Gabby Reece in her interview later that day. Echoed this thought, which is important.)
Then, I reasoned. Ok. If you work out like a beast and everything else is going fine and you eat that double cheeseburger, supersized fries and a coke, you are kind of burning out those calories. Even the bad effects of low quality stuff on hormones, I continued to reason, it's once in a while and this guy is built like an Ox, works out hard, is in nature. If you work out hard, in balance you'll be fine. 80-20 rule. Etc.
Now I see it differently. I see that. Yes. But I see something else. Laird is getting his nourishment out not only food, but everything. Again, what's fueling Laird (it's my thinking/feeling) is not only what he puts in his life but all things in his life. Literally. Calories in, do not equal calories out. Food is not the only thing fueling your organs, glands, muscles, brain. The guys who stare at the sun and don't eat, are getting nourishment not from food. The faquirs and yogis, very little food. Even Laird (who incidentally believes in eating the best quality food) eats consistently less calories than he burns. And that guy is not burning away in bones. He is a truck. Top-performing athlete. An author. An ox. (Incidentally, Laird eats the best food he can. For him, like most of the people we interviewed, it's about quality and not quantity.)
The flipside. SuperSize Me. The guy not only ate McDonalds for 30 days (I'm not taking away that food quality and fat affect how we feel and our body, they do). The guy dedicated 30 days to making his life about eating McDonalds. No surfing. No outdoors. No balance. Eat McDonalds. Film it. Eat as much McDonalds as possible. Be relatable. Make a very important, intelligent and entertaining film with a clear narrative and focus. But Supersize Me guy made an experiment with a single variable. Our life is not ruled by a single variable (we move, we feel, we think), our body is more than a single variable, our body is controlled by much more than a single variable.
The scientific method requires that we test hypothesis, hopefully, using single variables. It tests single variables. It draws conclusion by what the data is showing for that single variable. You add what the single variable experiments, constructed in a particular way, funded/or not funded for a particular reason, reported or not reported due to a political agenda, economic interests, inertia, laziness, complexity... show, and you vomit a way of life.
You vomit out a way of life, piecemeal. Each day, the news soundbite/ the article... new data shows, this or that. Fat is good. Then, fat is the devil. Now fat is good. We can now measure more obesity. The food pyramid is the standard. The food pyramid (built on ingenuity and bad science) is making us fat and ill.Carb load before an exhausting athletic event. Don't carb load. Organic? what is that? Organic is good. We need organic. It's just more expensive. Cholestrol. It's about keeping it down. It's about the ratio, some of it is good. Is it? This causes cancer. Not now. This causes cancer again. Confusion, dissonance, contradiction, revision, piecemeal information, discovery, resulting from a single variable experiment, scientific, mindset. The specific. What can be reasoned. What can be shown. Stories that are expedient to tell.
The guys in the white coat know some important stuff. Don't ignore them. But ask questions, know their limitation, you really know what's good for you or can find out, feel it out, really. Listen. Ok. But let your brain and body. Your logic, experience and common sense be guides, too.
The guys in the white coat, mostly - I think, are approaching food from the perspective of the nutritional value that can be shown. They are breaking up what food is into nutrients and numbers, building equations on what their data indicates about the quantities and ratios you need to consume of this nutrients to keep you away or cure disease. This is good food. This is bad food. Eat the good food. Don't eat the bad food.
If food is this. If food is the chemicals that compose it, the percentage of water, fat, protein, magnesium. Fine. We have the answer. But food is not this. Food is more. Food is consciousness and consciousness is connection and consciousness is changing. Food as consciousness is nuanced and relative, not static. It's many variables (quality in studies about grassfed beef and fat, how food affects not only your body but your thoughts, how one food can be awesome when you are flowing a certain way (flowing with pleasure and connection), but not at others when you want to or need to flow with health.
Lets get back to anecdote, not conjectures to express this thought to you. Mike Gehardt, 4-time Olympic participant, 2 medal winner, nutritional coach, who we interviewed in San Francisco.
We met him for a pre-interview on a Saturday morning in a yuppie health-eatery close to Pacific Heights. He wore a yellow shirt, board shorts and brought with him a grocery paper bag with breakfast. We were to eat in the somewhat overpriced yuppie hangout, but we were not to eat of the yuppie hangout.
Mike said casually, that the bag came from a community owned San Francisco market that was amazing (the name escapes me now; but it's close to Mission and the 101 and for this stories sake my thought to that at the moment was: maybe we can shoot and get some sexy b-roll of natural stuff, talk to a natural food supplier, etc..)
Anyway. Mike brought breakfast to our breakfast. We sat. He started taking things off the bag. A bag with with some weird dried berry type thing he said were called schizandra (sp?) berries, walnuts, small apples, uneven and mostly pale in color and shape, some grey-black-brown seed like thing that tasted like everything, exploding all types of flavors - tingie, bitter, salty, sweet, spicy, grounded tea leaves. He also took out paper plates and cups for all. He started pecking on the berries putting a bit of each thing in his plate and invited us to do likewise. A picnic, I thought. A bento box without a box. Cool. A little mound of each (if you care to look it up, it's in my October facebook album somewhere) . As we tried things out, Mike casually - organically - the complete opposite of a book/record/movie selling author/celebrity/ selling the latest thing in late night TV, Good Morning America or Larry King. Super organic stuff. This wasn't some calculated-stunt, they guy knew we were bootstrapping the project, and he brought breakfast and shared it (and the knowledge of its what and why) with us.
Mike first spoke about the apples. He said they were uneven, small, with seeds. He preferred them that way because they were the apple before the hyperbred apple of today - that is lush with even red, big, juicy, sweet, it lasts longer, without the nuisance of seeds - came. I tasted the apple and they were, as stated, not as sweet - their flavor was subtle. It reminded me of the difference between drinking cheap coffee to Single source, Arabica, light or medium roasted, coffee that is full of nuance. The different between the cheap wine at 9 dollars the gallon and the better ones.
Next came the schizandra (sp?) berries. Their flavor I forgot. I guess they tasted Ok but were not memorable. Mike explained that the schizandra berres were a superfood from China (or Tibet - correct me in comments) that it had all this micronutrients and cool properties. Cool. Schizandra berries = new superfood. I made a point to research further. Never did.
The black grey thing. These things - as I mentioned - above were as a friend says "the bomb". They were the bomb because they literally exploded in your mouth, they were all over the place, I have never tasted anything like them. They weren't any one pleasurable thing. But my tastebuds came alive. Mike said it's name (again, didn't write it down but will ask Mike for it or google it sometime for a repeat) and said that those were really cool because they were full of the usual suspects micronutrients but also they stimulated your taste buds. They were nutritional content, yes, but also an experience.
Mike spoke about alot of things. He spoke about food timing, a topic Dave Asprey and the guy who runs the Lean Gains blog introduced earlier to me. However, he spoke about a different aspect - apart from intermittent fasting and whether carbs are better at night or in the morning. He spoke about a chronobiotic approach to things - the right foods based on the angle the sun hits whatever you are eating. Leaves in the morning. Fish and yucca at night. He also said that he recently started drinking coffee with a bit of maple syrup in the morning following someone's advice and that he has been really cool. Mike spoke about almonds - we should look for the most wild one we can get - if soaked overnight in water with intention - drinking the water and softened almond in the morning - one for each pound - may help you get there. He spoke again about the apple - and how beyond it being organic (it was), the apple had seeds, it was fertile, able to carry and transmit life. Vital. Alive.
I suspended judgement for a while. I was flowing my attention to other things. I loved the experience of breakfast - not as cereal, just bulletproof coffee or eggs or toast - but as a picnic. The sampling of different things was cool. The black grey seed thing was awesome. .
My mind was not really into he was saying (we would capture it in the interview, I thought), it was in all other things surrounding the experience -- this guy showed up in a restaurant with his own picnic-type breakfast to share.
When judgement came in light inevitable waves throughout the day, it came in the form of a personal reflection. I thought about my education and past work experience. I had been trained to think, to discern, to question, doubt, reason, find evidence, corroborate, define. To not be duped. To double check. I knew about the power of charisma, of suggestion, of how ego needs distort things. What came to mind was the TV show Myth Busters or those experiments where twins - each tries one thing - and see which one comes ahead. Twins (the same genetically was assumed) were the constant, the thing to be tested or refuted the variable.
The choices in my head were: dismiss it, fact check later, take it with a grain of salt, go with it.
The first two were pretty simple to follow. The grain of salt could start a slippery slope, believing it at face value, I reasoned, was throwing away all that training - maybe being irresponsible as a filmmaker - unless I caveated the info, or presented it as a question. Those were the waves of thoughts that came and went that day, as...
I was feeling absolutely awesome - my focus and energy where through the roof - I was seeing all things and no thing. Listening. Between the waves of reasoned and dominating the flow were other things I worked out mentally, experiencing San Francisco as I never did before, living the day in a complete new way. This wasn't normal. Not since my second day of bulletproof coffee fasted had I felt like this. My mind was clear, I was present, I was happy. Was it the superfood's vitamins and minerals? The timing of it? That was really the only variable of the day - food. No? Food as not only fuel, nourishment or medicine, food as aphrodisiac.
I spoke with Tomás, co-producer/co-director, of the project about all this stuff. What was the conclusion I was to draw in the day: use reason, use experience. Doubt or believe. If I doubted, test/evaluate/use/dismiss. If I believed, I knew now food as a collection of chemicals, as fuel, as nourishment, as medicine and and aphrodisic was the thing. Eat superfoods easy to digest that stimulates your senses at the right time. But, you know, I don't think it was that. The most powerful influenced on my wellbeing and feeling of awesomeness that day had been - Mike. Mike flowed. He had been flowing all day. From the moment he came in to the yuppie eatery to the moment he said goodbye after cooking/feeding us dinner, he had been flowing love, his beliefs, his life towards us. Food flowed with Mike towards us that day.
You see. Food is not fuel. Food is not nourishment. Food is not medicine. Food is not its nutritional composition. Food is not business. Food is not policy. Food is not choice. Food is not diet. Food is not whether you are a vegetarian or paleo or fructarian or lover of junk food. Food is not a belief system. Food is not what sustains or enables the biological processes within our body: the calories, nutrients, validation we need to live. Guys who stare at the sun for nourishment live this. Yogis live this. Laird and so many other people I saw this year live this.There is no contradiction or riddle in this. Because food is not our fuel and nourishment.
Food is consciousness.
Thus, the documentary we are about to launch, Blood, Berries or Butter, is not about food. Not an attempt at a sticky way to tak about vegetarianism, paleo diets, wild/bulletproof diets in one place. It's not about extending this to different types of exercises and explaining how they work. It is not about what athletes, activists, celebrities you have heard of - and the ones you haven't - are telling us is there way they have found to be happy, to perform, to make money, to connect, serve.
Blood, Berries or Butter is a presentation of the journey I took in 2013 with my co producer and co director Tomás Reyes, co producer Morgan Buehler through ideas, people, stories, conjectures, nature that frame food as consciousness; movement as consciousness. In Darin Olien words, to see, feel, think, experience food, movement, spirit, your health and body "as something amazing, you should honor." Food and living as flow, process, light, sun, opinion, cycles, you, them. Food as consciousness, because I now believe food is that. And thinking/feeling of it this way had changed my life. The choices I make. For the much better.
For those who share this view, want to see this view... share whatever struck you with us in comments, with your friends, or help us have the tools to present this in the most compelling way possible by pre-purchasing the digital download, DVD, donating.
Thanks so MUCH!
(Note: English is my second language. I'm limited in time in post-production of project, if typos/grammar annoy you and you want to help, point out the errors for me and I'll fix them.)