As human beings, when we are aware of our health, we strive to center and balance our lives. We do meditation and yoga, as well as other equalizing activities. Strict and brutal martial arts teachers demand balance of the body, mind, and spirit. Yet when we go home and crack open our refrigerator, what stares us in the face? There are temptations such as copious amounts of sugar extracted from plants, and an abundance of salt from red meat and fish. For young adults, especially, there are plant derived drug temptations, such as alcohol, stimulants, and hallucinogens, which have strong effects on the nervous system. When you imbibe these plant derived, fast-acting pleasures, you tilt the balance of your diet toward desires of animal products (and vice versa).
These plant by-products are called expansive foods; they are on one end of the spectrum of a human’s diet. These foods include sugars, sugary syrups, tea and coffee, wine, beer, spirits, marijuana and other drugs. They are called “expansive” for two reasons; one is that they are usually made of the most expansive part of the plant (the fruit, juices, blossoms, or leaves). The other is they have the most expansive effect on the nervous system. The products I have listed are the most extreme of expansive foods. Getting more toward a middle ground requires healthy plant foods. The protein to carbohydrate (P/C) ratio is from 1:9 to 1:20 with vegetables being the lowest of carbohydrates.
The opposite end of our spectrum has contractive foods. Contractive foods are called such because they are concentrated vegetable energy. When animals have a diet of grasses and grains, it becomes their flesh. Five to ten pounds of vegetable protein create one pound of animal flesh. The most contractive food available is red meat, more than poultry (including eggs), and then milk by-products are slowly toward the middle, with milk being the most neutral of these animal derivative foods. High protein can be found in vegetables such as beans, nuts, and protein, with a 10:1 protein to carbohydrate ratio.
So where is the balance in here you might ask? Most experts will tell you that the only food we eat in our lives that is completely healthy, having all of our vitamins and a P/C ratio of 1:7, is human (mother’s) milk (cow’s milk is 1:2). We are only supposed to breast feed an infant until a bit under a year. So what do we do? Surprisingly, the closets P/C ratio that matches human milk is derived from grain. Grain and starch products are considered, in most cultures and religions, the foundation of a healthy diet. Our American food pyramid calls for more servings a day than any other food.
All this is not to say you should never eat meat, or never have sugar or other such produce (in fact it can be good), but it is important to keep your body, mind, and spirit in an equilibrium, and the easiest way is to consume more neutral foods, because if you keep your foods on an extreme, you will have extreme emotions. When you eat expansive, your behavior will be as such. When you eat contractive, your behavior will be as such. If you eat natural foods, you will be more natural. Alien foods cause alienation. Fatty foods block your energy flow, reduces sensitivity and vitality. Overeating results in reduced sensitivity, vigor, and attractiveness. Remember the proverb, you are what you eat. So be happy, be healthy, and be balanced.
Written By: David Haralson