Kevin: What do you think of some of the biggest challenges that people face? That people just eat food, it’s not prepared with love, it’s processed? Is that the biggest challenge that people face from staying healthy?
Dr. Grace: It’s one of the biggest challenges, yes. Food that you buy and eat out of the box is no longer food. You know, we need to eat live today alive. When you eat something dead, how can you turn something dead into life? I don’t get it.
So we eat dead stuff. We eat dead stuff, we eat fat, we eat without paying attention to what we are eating, we don’t share the food that we eat okay? And so because we take away all these pleasures that surround the ritual of eating we concentrate just, we concentrate is a figurative term here, because we don’t really concentrate when we eat. We eat unconsciously.
So we keep eating and eating and eating and just stuffing our body with food and then the only gratification that we’re most likely to get is this fixation from having eaten. Sometimes we don’t even remember what we ate. Sometimes we don’t even pay attention to how many times we chewed of what we ate. Wouldn’t you agree?
Dr. Grace: We eat very, very fast and then what does this do to us? It taxes the body and we eat fast and, again, you see, you may eat very healthy food. You may eat just the raw food or just organic or just vegan or just I don’t know you name it. I mean there’s just so much, the technology and the of good, healthy food is so advanced today that every day we come up with a new brand or a new department of good, healthy food. I don’t care what kind of food we eat, but we may eat it very fast.
If we slow down a little bit and start paying attention to how we eat, how we eat is the first one, our behavior around eating. Then we’re going to start paying attention to what we eat. We need time to pay attention, we need time and space to pay attention to what it is that we’re eating.
Dr. Grace: I really think that in order for us to become conscious of what we eat, we first need to pay attention how we eat it.
And then we will realize that when we sit down and we eat, I don’t know, and the 30 ounce sirloin steak…
Kevin: Oh gosh.
Dr. Grace: …at 10:30 pm and then try to go sleep and we need to eat, we need to take pills…
Kevin: Sure, enzymes and everything else.
Dr. Grace: So we need to 5 or 6 of them and about, I don’t know, 3 or 4 glasses of Alka-Seltzer and then walk up and down and then we need god knows what else to fall asleep and we think all this is stress. Well, it’s maybe stress, but not all of it may be stress from the office or stress from the boss. A lot of it is actual stress from the steak, you know, that is trying to be digested by our stomach which is working overtime while we, the rest of the body, needs to rest.
Dr. Grace: You see? When we sleep our bodies shut down. So what that this does, that the stomach should be relatively empty or free from heavy food okay? So if we slow down, though, and paid attention to all this process then perhaps that sirloin steak might be eaten with less frequency or a little earlier in the day.
Dr. Grace: So I’m not saying stop eating meat, I’m not saying this because I can not force people to completely change their food habits because I believe that, you know, such and such is better than other, but what I firmly believe again and I’ll say it again is that if people change the way they eat then the food they eat would be reconsidered and they would also change the food they eat as well.
I’m talking about what do we watch on Food Network that makes us salivate every time?
Dr. Grace: We sit in front of the TV and we watch the Food Network for hours and we say, “You know what? I love this channel” and I’ve asked thousands of people, “Why do you love this channel?” They say, “Look at they prepare this food. It’s just fantastic”. Well, what I am saying is turn your own kitchen into Emeril’s kitchen. Be your own Emeril. Be your own Rachel Ray. You can. Buy the ingredients, buy the baking sheet, buy the pots, buy the pans and start cooking. The satisfaction that you’re going to get is amazing. It’s phenomenal. It will change your whole outlook on food. You will learn a lot more how to pick the right ingredients. You will learn a lot more about the difference between organic vegetables. You will learn how to pick free ranged chicken from hormone fed chicken. You will, that is where you really, really learn the difference. Not by reading just books or watching TV shows.
Kevin: And here’s the big objection: I don’t have time. What…
Dr. Grace: But you have time to watch TV. I ask people, “How many hours of TV do you watch a week?” And it’s incredible. If we count the hours that we watch TV. If we could cut them in half we could still have time to cook.
Dr. Grace: Okay? And even zapping through channels is a time-consuming or what about the internet surfing? What about people reading recipes on the internet? That’s another secret addiction, you know? They search for recipes and then they go from one recipe to another and one recipe to another or they collect recipes. All that takes time. Well, what I’m here to say to you people is, okay, pick one of those recipes and cook it. Make it happen. Make it happen. Bring it to work. Share it with people. It will give you enormous satisfaction. Even the feedback that you’re going to get from some people, they will say, “You know what? I like it.” Some other people will say, “Well, it needs a little bit more, I don’t know, sugar or salt or less of this or more of that”. This builds community. This builds friendship. This is why people love watching Chocolate for example, the movie. Where we have a character who moves into this little village with her daughter and she’s a chocolate baker and she makes fantastic recipes using chocolate and the movie shows how this woman heals an entire community just by teaching them how to make chocolate cakes.
We yearn for this healing. We yearn for this love that we see that is shared among those people on big screen. You are the director of your movie and that is your life. So make the banquet. Prepare the banquet. It’s not difficult. It’s really easy and it’s a lot of fun. That is how you are going to feel active and engaged in your own life. In one very, very, very significant aspect of your life which is your eating. We live, if you think about it, Kevin, I mean that’s the bottom line here. If we don’t eat, we don’t stay alive.
Kevin: That’s a fact of life.
Dr. Grace: Okay, and isn’t that the bottom line?
Kevin: You say pick one recipe and it sounds so easy and I work with a bunch of people and I say, “Pick one exercise” or you know even in the success field is just pick one route and go for it. Though, that really, for some people it’s very difficult to make a decision. You know, you have hundreds of recipes. It’s almost like it’s easier to collect a hundred of them than actually make one. What do you say then?
Dr. Grace: Yes, well, I have to say a couple of things. First of all, we live in a culture of accumulation here. We think that accumulating material objects equals abundance. We have our pantries are always overstuffed, but and we order takeout. I mean, what is that? I think we, personal growth and self-fulfillment and self-actualization always implies, that’s the whole idea of the hero is journey by the way, always implies that we have to question the culture. At a certain point we do have to go against the cultural demands to carve our path in life. To carve our hero’s path.
So the culture says that you must have stuffed cabinets and you must have 12 shelves full of cookbooks and about 1300 handwritten recipes, okay? But brand new pans and pots and never used pots and pans in your kitchen, okay? We have to reverse this and start using our pots and pans and it’s okay if we have 12 recipes and not 1200 recipes, but we use them all. We can make the first step right now. We can pick one recipe. The one that we’ve always wanted and it does not have to be complicated. I love cooking meals that take less than 20 minutes to prepare.
Dr. Grace: We have all sitcoms are about 20, 25 minutes okay? Or series. Sex and the City, I mean, minus the commercials, is about 20 minutes. That’s it. That’s as long as we can stay with a ritual. So pick something that takes anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes and once you love it then go through the next recipe and then to the next .
Now let me give you an example about how I practice what I preach in my own life. I am currently going through a rather big transition and I just moved from a very functional and small apartment in New York City to a 4 bedroom house in on the shore of New Jersey. The house is empty for now because it’s a renovation and work I have an empty fridge. So what did I do yesterday? I went to the store and I was really hungry and I had a choice of buying something and eating it on the spot or buying something that I could prepare.
So I bought ham and cheese and whole grain bread and I went to my car and I opened it up and I made a sandwich. Right next to my car there was another car with a guy who looked at me through the window and he was holding a huge bag of chips. So as I was making a sandwich for myself he was opening the bag of chips and he looks at me and laughs. We look at each other and we both say with one word, “We’re hungry, hey.”
Dr. Grace: Now, what was the difference, though, between us? I was not eating chips out of a bag. It was something almost automatic for me to buy something that I could create a ritual out of alright? My ritual was to make my own sandwich because I took time. The few minutes that it took for me it was my food, it was my ritual and I opened a little napkin and I ate it and this is what I do.