Teaching Disconnect (so we know what not to do)
At tis roots, western healthcare remains tied to the Cartesian dualism that splits body from mind. Dietetics is no exception.
This article by two Canadian dietitians, Jenna and Jacqui, outlines why this matters for people entering the field as students and then for the people we work with.
In an early lesson I asked about your creative time-line. Has your creativity been something you’re drawn from (literally andor metaphorically!) throughout the course so far?
Here’s a suggestion for creative writing – or drawing, drumming, or anything else.
Using the theme of connection, write a letter to or from a younger version of yourself to or from the self you are now. Interpret connection however is helpful, it can include disconnection of course, un/belonging, whatever comes to mind – or body – when you sit with the word.
If structure is helpful, you can narrow this down to theme of connection as it impinges on your work at the nexus of food, bodies and wellbeing.
What connections have encouraged you to grow what you offer in ways that reflect your values, that capture your passions, or help you embody your calling?
Were/are there connections that get in the way of this becoming?
What connections have you/do you yearn for? Where do they exist? How have/will you engage with them?
How do your personal and professional lives inter-connect? What does this framing miss?
White supremacist thinking teaches us one way of ordering our thoughts (as if it is the only way). This shapes how we relate to, and feel about, other humans, non-human nature, the land, knowledge and so on.
There are practices we can use to try thinking within a different term of reference than that approved by white supremacy.
This activity introduces one of them – it’s very simple!
Anything that encourages us to challenge ideas of human life as separable from non-human life amounts to non co-operation with the binary template of white supremacy.
We also challenge white supremacy when we refuse to act from a position of human dominion. This ties in with attributing inherent value to non-human life.
These ways of being in the world are characteristic of many Indigenous approaches to knowledge and relating. Not surprisingly, white supremacy dismisses scholarship from these earth-honouring cultures, often by categorising ideas as ‘primitive.’ When we refuse to do this we are disrupting coloniality.
Anyway, here’s the suggestion. It’s designed to help us move away from relating to food as a commodity by considering how a plant we eat is inter-connected with the rest of human and non-human nature.
This re-orientation towards honouring relationality moves us away from a cultural norm of objectification. Whether or not we actually believe plants have inherent essence or worth or ‘beingness’ doesn’t matter. The point is that the practise of approaching plants, and more, from a stance of respectful relationship and inter-connection changes how we organise our thoughts towards them, and in the rest of our lives. It’s the commitment to right relationship, not what we believe about planthood, that seeds deep change.
OK, now we really are at the practice!
Choose a staple food that you eat regularly eg. wheat, corn, rice, potatoes.
Do you know if the food you eat is native or imported?
How does the food you eat now differ from the original plant? How is the plant history entwined with human history?
Are there any rituals or celebrations connected with the food locally and globally?
Do you know anything about the plant growing season?
If you couldn’t eat this plant how would the loss impact you?
If you meditate, can you think of a gratitude or other meditation that honours the plant?
Ways of Knowing
- I’ve been enjoying learning about inter-connection from a podcast called For The Wild.
- Critical Dietetics publish an open access journal with opinion pieces, research and more. Well worth a read.
- A youtube search for ‘Indigenous food ways’ brings up lots of videos if you;re interested in exploring this further.
And if you’re interested in religious knowledge:
- Building Sacred Relationships Through Food (a druid perspective)
- Reorienting Relationship with Land Through Food (a Jewish perspective)