Monday, August 21, 2017

SAVORING LIFE & LINKING TO YOUR SENSES








Food, glorious food… more than lyrics from Oliver Twist but food is easily one of the world’s top ten four-letter words!  Yeah people… this is another long one… grab some FOOD and sit back, this read is going to take awhile. 

I will start off by saying my personal relationship with food has been a sensual one.  While I do not remember eating ‘baby food’ as a child, I do have the earliest recollections of sitting in the front compartment of a grocery cart at about two years of age, handed what would become a life-changing moment.  

The grocery store with a local organic farmer’s market where my mother shopped in Southern California’s South Bay area was attached to this little family-owned shop where they made homemade tamales and tortillas.  One of the owners handed me a soft, warm homemade tortilla laced with dripping butter, which was rapidly oozing all over me as I slowly savored the comforting mouthful of nothing I had ever tasted before.  That first luscious bite was like a slow-motion vignette replay in my head repeatedly, as I continued to enjoy the present moment.

Do you have an early childhood memory of food that set the tone for how you would embrace your tasting and savoring senses for the rest of your life?

LINKING our earliest ‘recall’ to life’s simple moments can be extraordinary when we examine our life today.  How we begin unfolding of our own connection with what we establish as a pattern or as a relationship to how we process the idea of ‘enjoying moments’ is key to creating balance within our everyday lives.

Most people will say they love food.  However, how many people say they enjoy food or appreciate the nuances of what food actually is?   

Food is designed to nourish our bodies.

However, it is the experience, which is designed to nourish our psyche, our soul, and our being.

How you savor each bite you take each day, not only applies to enjoying your life, but your higher consciousness of your senses beyond the salty, sweet, bitter, sour and Umami senses.

Food has the power to transport you, take your spirit and soul on a whirlwind world tour and literally escalate your heart-thriving moments into absolute culinary nirvana if you so choose.

This is the way food has been for me most of my life.  How has it affected yours?

What you may not realize is that how you LINK to your senses – in tasting, savoring and cherishing what food is, can actually become a thread in your life tapestry to how you connect with your everyday living as well as your leisure/pleasure and joyful activities.

This also works in reverse, if you are utilizing food solely as a pleasure center for your well-being rather than for your healthful being and much of this is connected to the mind-body relationship of the LINKS between your mind and heart. 

But hang on…  I will get to this in a second.  Our mind-body wellness is charted on this course of sensory experiences and our earliest relationship with our life essentials.  The journey-to-destiny life map is created for purpose and reason beyond our surface consciousness.  Sometimes, we just do not realize it at the time. 

CELEBRATING LIFE IS ESSENTIAL TO SAVORING LIFE (WATCH VIDEO)



 
I will demonstrate with my own Linkronicity example. 

With war-generation parents whose teen years were in the U.S. Japanese internment camps, I did not grow up eating many plant-based foods, except mostly when my grandmother would cook.  For my parents, both native West Coasters in California and Seattle, who were oddly dumped in the Midwest after the war, food changed.  Both of them grew up on local organic farms, and healthy diets of fresh coastal seafood, but somehow this Midwest dumping survival thing caused them to adopt a few alternative unhealthy ways of cooking (sorry Midwesterners… no offense intended here, this just happened to be a fact).  

However, after losing everything post-war, food was more about keeping the human vessel alive, perhaps not in the healthiest way, as commercialism and convenience became part of their child rearing generation.  Being a child of the 70s and teen of the 80s, to a mother who reluctantly had me at 40 when she thought she was done having kids… she was tired and food was ‘something to get out of the way.’ 

Worse?  My mother stopped ‘celebrating’ life…meals, anything…. And I believe this actually started her decline in her health with Alzheimer’s, Breast Cancer, Asthma and everything else. 

Could she have found a way to savor what she loathed and considered a chore (cooking)? 

In retrospect if we were to apply food here as a tool, and nutrition was integrated, the ‘mindful meals’ and daily dishing up as a task, could have been healthfully applied in productivity as part of her task-mastering psyche relationship to food here – rather than an afterthought.  This is more of a clinical observation, not a judgmental one.  Moreover, I share this with YOU so you can understand how this might work in your own journey.

Moving on… 

Luckily, for me this unconscious awareness (I was too young at the time) is what GPS pushed me to cook, eat, and take on a sideline interest in food as a passion-infused soul. I would later become a Chocolatier, work catering events, sous-chef, and promote food festivals - both unhealthy indulgent fairs to 'a taste of_____insert city'; to promoting USDA Organic clients at the Natural Food Expo West.

WHY?  Because I had that slow-mo tortilla sensual experience recall as a child.  Food to me was a relationship that was not something to ‘get out of the way,’ but rather bask in – this was my ‘default’ -- getting it in my life anyway possible.

Are you following?  Let us put this into context here…  I could have been that same two-year old ravenously gnawing on a gushing tomato, which would have been healthier than the tortilla and obscene inappropriate food porn, but my psychological relationship with the subject matter was a sensory experience.  If I was passionate about it - I was there -- all in... and yes, all or nothing.

How about YOU?  Are your sensory experiences navigating your life?  

Are you living life passionately? 

What drives you?

Fortunately, as I mentioned in more detail in my previous blog ALL OR NOTHING https://linkronicity.blogspot.com/2017/08/your-link-to-all-or-nothing.html  I was also pushed to go to summer school from an early elementary age to actually be challenged to produce full meals before mastering cursive writing (Millennials, look it up, if you do not know what this is). 

My father had always echoed the words “Everything in moderation” – it was advice he freely gave because he was sadly not following it, utilizing ice cream as a rewarding indulgence which I believe killed him and gave him pancreatic cancer.    

So as you examine your own life…. Are you finding that the ‘do as I say and not as I do’ factor plays into your life and affects your proactive response vs. reactive response?  

How do you examine the advice of others when considering the application of it to your own life? 

Not sure?  Perhaps you need to realign your LINKS to figure out your own conviction?


Now onto a non-relevant entertaining sidebar… or so I thought:   

When I was pastry-cheffing it on the side for seven years making my 70% dark chocolate raspberry orgasm cake with fresh antioxidant raspberries, sinful Framboise and traveling to Key West to savor the pucker of authentic key limes for my own coconut key lime cake, I thought my foodie future was looking pretty good.  I was even asked by Rachael Ray for a local tourist’s recommendation for the best key lime pie for her $40 A Day Show, randomly off the street.  While she did not take my recommendation (mine was oops, out of her budget), I can say I gave her cameraman my bottle of clear nail polish to assist him with some personal chigger bug issue for his legs, which luckily were nowhere near food. 

Was this an accident?  NO.  This was a SIGN.  Linkronicity in action.  This ‘not-taking’ the recommendation meant “not recommended” – meaning I was not supposed to continue on this luxury (even semi-healthy version) of a pastry-creating pathway.

The odd encounter with Rachael’s cameraman?  Not an accident.  “Bug” incident meant, I would get an illness that would derail this journey.  The nail polish I gave him was literally “Nail” the bug (illness) and polish/refine knowledge in this area for the greater good for a different mission.  Why the cameraman's LEGS specifically?  NOT an accident either... it meant "Stacey, your current culinary pathway has no legs"... stop now.  However, I did not 'get it' at the time.

Laugh if you want…  This is HOW Linkronicity works. 

Cut to a few years later, I was doing PR for the launch a healthy food service in San Francisco and looking for media outlets for my client to be a guest. I stumbled across Rocco DiSpirito’s Food Talk on WOR radio.  I decided to call the show to check out the format and ended up on the air, ironically talking about a rib eye steak grilled to a medium-rare mooing state, infused with rosemary which at the time was a favorite go-to. 

After the show, my info was collected to be sent a book. To my surprise, the station did NOT send me one of Chef Rocco’s books, but the station sent me a raw vegan book of one of his previous guests.  It was almost as if the show was ‘psychic’ -predicting the direction of what I would have to encounter as a new direction in my life.  It was a sign. Perhaps for his ‘healthy’ mission prediction as well, which is why I 100% support his crusade and I encourage you to do the same. His recipes reinstated my excitement for healthy eating catering to said sensory experiences through culinary genius architecture flavor building.

But I am getting ahead of myself here in my timeline...
Several years later after I had baked for several TV productions (because I was NOT paying attention at the time to the signs), I was given some unsavory news from my doctor that I had to give up meat, wheat, gluten, refined sugar, alcohol, dairy, and pretty much everything I adored.  I thought my love affair with food had died and therefore a piece of me died with it.  I had just taken a Thomas Keller AdHoc class and found myself in Urgent Care doubled over, suddenly like the PacMan character dying song…. It was Game Over.

I realized what I had done juggling several careers, serial entrepreneurism, always rushing, throwing on a shoe with one hand while mascara-ing an eye with the other, eating in my car, dealing with the LA freeway stress and mess, dealing with media at 3 a.m. around the clock, deadlines, production, grieving back-to-back losses, not living mindfully had its long term effects over time. 

Traveling and food go hand-in-hand and I loved both…. Two of my passions.  Suddenly traveling having to be a Pescatarian-Ovo-Gluten-Free person looking for options beyond a salad was a deflating task, rather than flying by the seat of my pants in spontaneity of absorbing local culture wherever I traveled.  

Salty, bitter, sour experiences had invaded my being….BUT they were completely essential to get to the other side of sweet and Umami! 

Still with me?  You can see how your own senses literally GUIDE YOU to your own sensory life map… following the natural instinct of my initial relationship with food forced me to navigate accordingly.  Staying in the sensuality zone of that said food relationship, appeared to be a blessing and a curse, however, it only unfolds into blessings once you get to the other side of your experience and life lesson.

THIS IS WHAT CAN HAPPEN for YOU and YOUR OWN life path if you examine your earliest experiences and let those organic moments define your own ‘human nature’ so your soul can address its mission. You too, may have to go through several salty, bitter, and sour experiences to get to the sweet and Umami! 

In my health remission interim, I fell back on my writing.  NOT AN ACCIDENT was that my first food-related story had to do with wine.  I used to be a viticulture judge....so this was right up my alley - it's as if the Universe KNEW what it was doing. I was given the assignment to write about New York based Winemaker Alex Elman the self-proclaimed “Blind Wine Chick” http://www.adistinctivestyle.com/i/35373-issue-15  (Page 48). She introduced me to Torrontes...and organic wines (which do not give you a headache).  Her story is amazing (not because I wrote it) - she is just an inspiration, going blind... and turning her blindness into using her other senses!

Is it an accident that her story ties in with this?  No.  I didn't even plan for it, but are you seeing with your own eyes HOW Linkronicity happens?  That's when you know it is REAL.

Turning adversity using your other senses?  Yeah... the greater message of life.

I started writing food articles, creating recipes from nothing and even pitched a TV show to The Food Network after meeting with a producer in L.A.  I worked numerous events, even fundraisers with Iron Chef Morimoto who auctioned off a meal for Japan’s Tsunami relief. I worked with Second Harvest Food Bank and other healthy mission awareness charities who are about supporting the mind-body connection.

Still - destiny yet had another advancement to add to the plan…

After I cured my body 100% in a 180-degree turn from an autoimmune disease that left me unable to walk for seventeen days from phlebitis and other stress-induced ailments (yes, I avoided gallbladder surgery by eating kale!), which also required intensive acupuncture, I was devoted to changing my diet in a way I had not really eaten before – more consciously.  Thanks to Dr. Andrew Weil’s Spontaneous Healing, I was on a better pathway to begin again. 

Luckily my years of homeopathy, holistic medicine and naturopathy practices with spices, seasonings, herbs and nutrition were already in place anyway as most of my baking was Omega-3 friendly with antiviral properties. I did not have to completely give my life an overhaul, just try to be patient with myself facing science and math again to even feel excited about food in the same way as I once did.  

Now, a healthy thriving person, I live with my father’s words in my head “Everything in moderation,” and unlike him, I actually walk and run this talk….though I live dairy-free and more plant-based flexitarian with greater consciousness. It is just a better way to live.
As you examine your own life ‘balance’ of this said moderation factor, how you savor vs. indulge can be a fine-line for your senses.  We all get a wakeup call when we indulge too much.

However, it is in the savoring of life in the ways we honor ourselves that matters.



Perhaps you have denied this being true, but I can tell you that every illness, LINKS back to stress… so if you are busy all the time, pushing deadlines, juggling a lot and you have stress, if you do not manage the mind-body connection and you default to unhealthy eating habits, you too will succumb to illness at some point.

How do YOU savor the sweetness in your life?  Do you stop to taste all life has to offer?
Our sweetness in life itself is connected to pancreatic issues – this is just a medical reality.  

My father did not enjoy life’s other fruits much.  He worked very hard for which I am grateful to put food on the table, but he did not ‘enjoy’ the psychological and heart-felt pleasures emotionally as he should have.  Instead, he utilized an overindulgence of ice cream to fill said void while he commuted four hours a day to a job in Aerospace that was NOT his passion.

I bring this to your attention to show you how our tasting life, savoring life and utilizing all of our senses (including common sense) and our own sensitivity within sensuality of allowing joy to be digested daily can be actual medicine for our mind-body health awareness in lieu of unhealthy food.

Follow your passion. Follow your heart. Follow your inner craving for life and what you want to do and how you want to live.  If you are not true to your heart or your appetite for life, you will suppress your life's own zest and in turn become unhealthy. 

You keep hearing me say ‘mind, body, soul, spirit’ connection are the four health pillars of life and perhaps sharing my story a little more, you can grasp WHY I am passionate about what I do… they are all connected. I have lost many people in my life who did not get to apply what my journey is about.  I am lucky to still be here to do what it is that I am destined to do.  And like food, these four pillars are like the spine of your being, as much as they are the spine of who I am and why I am here to HELP YOU.

In return, healthier choices may not be as appealing to you at first, but I can tell you once you switch your mindset to making these choices, you will feel better.  I’m not just talking healthy eating which is a big piece of it, but as I said in one of my other videos if your mind is toxic, your heart is burdened – you don’t have the proper vessel to deal with diet and exercise for maximum effectiveness. 

Linkronicity unfolded in health, food, and wellness in a way that I had not initially planned for as a toddler slurping the butter out of that tortilla.  However, I can tell you that staying ‘connected’ to the shopping cart as I was, was also a sign to ‘sit’ within the navigation of said cart for my future rather than being handed something.  



Over last weekend... I went to a tech conference and took a time out as I stumbled across an authentic NOLA cuisine place in Southern California... the real deal, authentic stuff which made me miss New Orleans, where I've had some of my most amazing food ecstasy experiences.  Removing these Louisiana BBQ shrimp heads (sigh... not enough blogspace to talk about shrimp, one of my greatest loves) with my bare hands, dripping with creole seasonings, garlic, cayenne, and yeah, they did it with Holy Trinity broth substance... OMG... to die for. This triple table slammer Sally Albright style... geez... I felt like that two year old with butter oozing, dripping and cascading obscenely without guilt.  Sigh.  What made it even nicer was my waiter talked about his grandmother, mother and aunt's recipes for crawfish etoufee, jambalaya and gumbo done up to the nines, as the beach breezes of the coastal day kissed my burning skin-on-fire from the spicy indulgence entering my pores dripping all over me. 

While this is a rare occurrence much like this week's eclipse, since I remain on a healthy trek 98% of the time... I have to say, savoring life this way did more for my psyche, my spirit and my soul in a way that I had to allow to override my non-stop diligence in my plant-based lifestyle. 

Moderation?  Yes, Dad, RIP.  Moderation... but JOY, SAVORING LIFE and LINKING TO ALL OF MY SENSES.  Life is short.

With a mind, body, soul, and spirit health recipe from the inside out comprehending every psyche/heart component – I had come to see that it was like ingredients within a recipe for my life, in order to help others with their own – the journey becomes the destiny for the greater good.  I have a novel I have written about just that which I am in the middle of bringing to fruition.

So as you are trekking along your pathway, do not forget to taste the healthier side of living.  Do not forget to savor all of your life’s moments.  

Take time to digest your life in moderation and take it in, inhale slowly as you swallow mindfully.  Oh and know that your Sweet sense and your Umami is on its way. Bon Appetit. 

Don’t forget to say grace and be grateful for every plateful of life you are presented … literally. 

Namaste.