Live Well
January 2016

Enlightened Eating

Over the past year, I read a variety of books and articles about food and realized that we have to adopt a new paradigm to think about the food we eat – one that is more holistic and takes into account the health of all the organisms that feed it. For the longest time, I struggled to find a name for this new paradigm about the food we eat. Recently, a friend of mine identified exactly what this was: ENLIGHTENED EATING! I was so thrilled when I heard the term because it embodied exactly what I thought of how we need to approach our food system. If we can start becoming more aware about how our food is produced, and where it’s coming from, we can create tremendous change for the better.

Here are a few key things that I think enlightened eating entails:

  • First and foremost, I think enlightened eating is about being mindful of where your food is coming from. As much as possible, try to get foods that have an expiry date, that don’t come in a box, and won’t stay in your pantry for months at a time. This means cutting out the processed stuff – there’s nothing good in any of those so-called foods.
  • Purchasing as many products as possible from local farms or vendors. I have started to limit my purchases from the grocery store to the bare necessities. There is a food revolution taking place and it has become so much easier to find food artisans, farmers markets and farm delivery services, which are committed to making and delivering high quality food.
  • Getting produce from sources that help protect the soil, rather than deplete it. Largescale producers (both conventional and organic) use farming methods that tend to deplete the soil. Find farmers who are mindful of protecting and enriching the soil.
  • Knowing where your meat and poultry are coming from. While it’s great to get your fruit and vegetables from local (and, if possible, organic), it’s even more important to get your meat and poultry from small, humane, and sustainable producers. It’s also important to eat less meat. So, try eating smaller portions or having two meat-free days in the week.
  • Becoming conscious of your own eating. Just as the health of the environment around us cannot be reduced to a monoculture or one single farming method so, too, what we eat cannot be reduced to one superfood or super-ingredient that has become the latest fad of marketing companies.

Food production, like health, is about supporting and nourishing a whole ecosystem that feeds us. Staying healthy is about nourishing the mind and the body. Similarly, producing food is about supporting and nourishing the soil, the bacteria and microorganisms that feed the soil, and the organisms that grow in the soil. We need to become conscious of this process so that, ultimately, we can reap the benefits of better food.


Cook Well

Braised Honeynut Squash with an
Olive and Prune Relish

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
2lbs. honeynut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2” strips
  1. 1. Cut a piece of parchment paper into a circle the size of a 12” pan, then cut a small hole in the center. Note: this step is not obligatory but it helps to keep the steam in the pan so both sides of the squash cook evenly.
  2. 2. Bring stock, butter and salt to a simmer in a 12” saute pan. Remove pan from heat and add squash. Place parchment round on top of squash, cover the pan and leave for 15 minutes.
  3. 3. Return the pan to the stove, remove lid (but not parchment paper), and bring to a simmer. Simmer until almost all the stock has evaporated and squash is tender but not mushy (about 15-20 minutes).
  4. 4. Remove parchment paper, raise the heat to high and boil until most of the stock has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
1/3 cup pitted prunes, roughly chopped
2/3 cup pitted green or black olives, roughly chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. anise seeds (optional), slightly crushed in a mortar
1/4 tsp. salt
  1. 1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and serve on top of squash.