I like the PPK idea to move MOFO around the calendar a bit to get a different seasonal take on things, but it putting it in November makes it tough for those of us who also like to try our hands at Nanowrimo. But amateur noveling aside, November is a good month. There is an abundance of fresh produce available, some of it spannng both the warm and cold seasons. And Thanksgiving provides a great oppurtunity for creative and fun cooking.
But I’m taking a diffeent tack.
Not celebrations, not plant based athletics, but a three pronged experiment in traditional Asian healing and medicinal cooking traditions.
Part 1: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Part 2: Macrobiotics
Part 3: Ayurveda
All three use food and cooking as an impotant part of therapy for an individual condition, as well as including more general instructions for maintaining health. I’ve long enjoyed some macro recipes, particularly the traditional Japanese style recipes. I can remember when most people’s perceptions of “health food” were based in Macrobiotics instead of Paleo. I’ve practiced Yoga off and on for years, and Ayurveda is the sister for developing and regaining health, so it will be interesting to see what similarities there are in the practices. Lastly, is TCM. I learned some acupressure as a kid, and got a brief and confusing intro to the philosophy. But in the last couple of years, I’ve had great success treating some injuries with acupuncture. I’ve also learned some Tai Chi and Qigong. I’ve studied some books recommended by an acupuncturist, and experimented with some TCM guidelines with success.
So MOFO will consist of dividing the month up into three equal parts to try following the guidelines for cooking and eating as best as I can for this season to see what happens. As well as studying each particular approach to nutrition, I will also practice their particular approach to exercise, and even meditation, if I can discover it via my limited research.
But wait, this is VEGAN Mofo, are these approaches compatible?
I believe they are. While some like to argue that a vegan diet is unnatural because there are no truly vegan traditional diets, these three philosophies are definitely plant based, with a very low animal product intake and are very critical of the animal based Western diet. In the case of Ayurveda, a veetarian diet is encouraged as that is part of the Hindu ideal of ahimsa. But they do like their dairy, which I believe can be easily omitted. TCM simply catalogues the powers and properties of different foods, animal included. One’s actual diet varies by individual constitution, and that can certainly be vegan. Historically, Chinese Buddhist monastics, such as the famous Shaolin, should have been vegan. Finally, Macrobiotics is often practiced as a vegan diet, though historically small amounts of animal food, usually fish, were allowed on occasion. It seems to me that most Macro folk these days are macro-vegan.
At the end of each period I’ll reflect on what I learned or noticed while trying each philosophy, and again at month’s end in total. Do these traditional approached have some wisdom that Western science and medicine hasn’t caught up to? Or is it a bunch of culturally biased habits with no scientific grounding?
First up, cooking with Traitional Chinese Medicine