Follow up from live session:
- Here’s the image of the Dinner Plate. (It’s too large a file to upload as a handout.)
- Vitamin D and magnesium are two more micronutrients where average intake may be low and a supplement may improve mental wellbeing.
Magnesium is found in legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables (such as spinach); fortified breakfast cereals and other fortified foods; milk, yogurt, and some other milk products.
Magnesium supplements can have anti-anxiety effects. (The recommended upper intake of 350mg/day). Here’s more information.
NHS guidance is that UK adults should take 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D a day between October and early March. If you have a low mood you might wish to take it all year.
(There have been some reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus. But there is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D to prevent or treat coronavirus.)
Poetry, Plantains, Power, and Pleasure!
Knowledge is being created all around us. The Caribbean poet Grace Nicols passes on her knowledge of nutrition in this short poem Like a Beacon . It’s about a fat black woman who goes shopping in London.
Here’s some questions if you’d like to explore the topic further:
- A plantain is a type of banana. Is this a high fat, high protein or high carbohydrate food?
- Let’s say there were no plantains left but the shopkeeper offered Grace some fresh pasta instead – on special offer! Would that make a good substitute?
- Plantains and pasta are both high carbohydrate foods. In a scientific way of making sense of nutrition they are quite similar. What gets missed?
- What does the poet evoke when she talks of food?
- What happens if we reduce food to nutrients?
- How does this shape attitudes to eating, and our overall wellbeing?
In case you’re curious…
More Notes on Reductionism or the Mechanistic World View
Conventional western science seeks to understand and explain things by breaking them down into separate parts. This works pretty well for cars and machines. But not so well when applied living bodies.
When we’re taught as if this is the only way of thinking we inevitably end up using it, so it structures the world we live in and create. What do you think of the way this shapes healthcare services?
By asking ourselves questions like this we have started critiquing (thinking about from several different view points) the underlying model – reductionism. Reductionism takes things separately from one another – so it would consider plantain and pasta interchangeable in the poem by isolating the foods as ‘starchy staples’ out of the context of the poet’s life. Instead of reductionism we can understand things be considering interconnection, not isolation.
The belief that there is one valid way of ordering reality is called universalism.
In fact, plenty of cultures recognise there are a multiplicity of ways we can know about the world, called pluriversalism. How we order beliefs influences how we understand personal, global and planetary wellbeing.
“Follow the Pleasure”
You might have noticed the enormous pleasure I get from alliteration (when words start with the same letter)!! The mouth feel! The acoustics! The satisfaction!
We’re exploring pleasure here, this time in connection to eating.
Are memory, and sense of connection valid reasons for deciding what to eat?
What does it feel like if you think of eating something for pleasure?
Do you have a paper platehandy? And coloured pens are great too if you have them.
- think of a meal or food that you have really enjoyed
- spend a little while imagining yourself anticipating this, and then imagining yourself eating it
- draw the meal or food in the centre of the plate
- can you name what made it enjoyable? write these words around the circumference
- you may have written down terms that relate to place, occasion and company. Great!
- you may also have written down terms that relate to the actual food. If so, how are you making sense of the actual food? what are these words describing? I’ll give you a clue to the answer I’m thinking of – there’s five key categories.
- what messages have you incorporated around pleasure? do you have feel for how these messages about pleasure influence how you currently connect with the world – and hence food – through your senses?
Nutrition Science for Real Life
This video covers two activities.
The Well Now Doughnut might help you structure meals.
The Well Now GAMES activity is something you can use to help you check in from time to time as you make links between how you are feeling and what you have eaten.
Here’s the teach-sheet too.
How about a 2 minute time-out from thinking by tuning in to stillness, or your body?
A Poem Celebrating ‘Unspeakable’ Appetites
This short poem by the late Canadian poet Gwendolyn MacEwen is included as an invocation to all that is life affirming in the exploration of appetite. It seemed fitting in a pandemic, and everything. I hope there’s something you connect with in her words. you
Are there any songs, poems, pictures that you have turned to for support over the last year?
Remember, the most important thing for the learning and healing that’s happening here is that you explore your feelings and beliefs. This means being able to engage, and this means pacing yourself. Don’t worry about doing everything that’s suggested, amount doesn’t matter. It’s more important that you can be present with whatever you do, even for a short time and even for a tiny amount.
Last question, what are you looking forward to? Have you got any treats planned? If not, now is a great time to put something in your diary!
See you soon ~