this week I decided to detox. Raised consternation and raised eyebrows all around. “Why”? They asked. I replied “Just”. “But what for”? They insisted. I had no quick answer to that one. I could not very well tell them I went to the shops to buy some food and was overwhelmed by the cornucopia of stuff. They were there, all spilling over in abundance all bright and colourful and cheery looking. How are we going to feed the 7 billion they asked all year; they showed us pictures of starving and emaciated refugees going from country to country in search of food; give to charity they said. And then I see this obscene display of wealth. ‘It took my breath away’ in the words of the song. It is just a ‘me’ thing. I don’t mean to offend those folks who genuinely believe in celebrating the season with food and presents. I do too. But the sheer overdrive of the profit makers, pushing it up a notch further every year to keep their insatiable share holders happy made me feel queasy.
So that is why I suddenly decided to detox in my fashion. It is not what the therapists prescribe. My detox consists of no dairy, no wheat, no alcohol, no tea or coffee, no sugar, no soda or fizzy drinks. It means no bread, biscuits, cakes, ice cream, sugar and all processed food. For me that’s easy. I do not normally ingest many of these products. Besides, for the first 23 years of my life I went without all dairy products, all alcohol, all wheat products and even coffee and tea in the early days of my life. I also had no idea what processed food was. We had to buy sugar and salt from the shops. Everything else was grown or came from the fisherfolk or from the occasional slaughter of a cow. The fruit fell from the trees and the vegetables were picked as we required them. I must add we lived in a rural society.
But how did we go without drinks you ask; the lovely coloured sugar water that is served to us neverendingly in various flavours and tastes; the coloured water which comes in delectable bottles and cans which promise to put a spring in our step. I was innocent of all that. We drew our water from the family well, the purest spring water you could imagine. This was before the world’s water tables were polluted. Instead of coffee in the morning we had a special drink. My grandmother would serve us all food at night. Then she would put the remaining rice and curry in chatty pots and these she would hang from the low rafters of the kitchen to keep them safe from the night life which wonder through looking for food. The kitchen had no door. The rice, she would cover with water to keep it cool. In the morning the rice was drained out and the water was given to us to drink. Rice water, full of energy she would say. And we believed her, poor fools. But then, the rice was wholesome country rice straight from the paddy fields. It must have had some good nutrients.
So folks, coming from a simple background unspoilt by carcinogens, you can understand how every now and then I am overtaken by a sudden feeling of revulsion when all this abundance of overprocessed, glistening, fizzing bundles of food ready to explode with repressed energy is presented to me on the shelves. More so at this time than at any other time of the year. Hence my need to step back a bit, go into comfort mode and relish a certain amount of simplicity in my life. Besides, I am as human as the next person. All the nonstop pushing of food under my nose results in me buying more and more food until all my fridge space and larder space is taken and (I even have potatoes and tomatoes in the shed) I despair at ever being able to eat it all. I hate to waste food. I share my food with whoever comes to the house, but there is only so much you can share. My sister had the 21st century answer to that one. “Look Max” she said, “do what I do, just cook the food, because I know you like cooking, and then bin it! Simple”. Huh! Is that what the world has come to, when there is reputedly billions of mouths out there starving?#
Here I come to another of my reasons for taking just a week out to eat sensibly and cut out all that surplus that generally lines my gut. I owe it to decency to take account of the millions starving out there and cut my intake down just so I can appease my own karma. I admit my simple detox from a little of the much abundance we have is not going to make a blind bit of difference. But we do these things for our spirit, so our spirit may walk proudly. No one need know, like when I stood in my bare feet at the 11hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in silence to pay homage to the brave of people who died in war. There, I have said it to y’all now.