In my husband's youth, Yoga was gaining popularity in the US. He gravitated to Richard Hittleman's books on practicing Yoga. Yesterday, I found one of those books that caught my healthy-eating eye; "Yoga Natural Foods Cookbook." It's from 1970 - a time when organic food and vegetarianism was considered "different" -- something the hippies were doing. Natural foods were far from the norm at that time and they were difficult to find. But then again, they aren't really the norm these days either with a McDonald's or other fast food joint on nearly every corner.
From the back cover of the book (remember... this is 1970!): "Life Force Foods will change your life. 90% of the foods in the typical american diet are contaminated with chemical additives that destroy vital nutrients... dull your taste... deplete your physical vitality. There is an alternative! Learn from a famed Yoga teacher how to prepare over 250 delicious natural food recipes. Learn Yoga secrets for keeping your weight down and your energy up. Experiment with natural, unprocessed foods and feel your vitality growing and your tastes reawakening.
The book encourages eating life-force foods. Natural foods - primarily those which grow. We designate vegetables, herbs, fruits, nuts, grains, legumes and certain dairy products, "natural." "Natural eating is consuming these foods either in their natural state or in a state that renders them fit for easy digestion with minimum destruction of their life -force. The extent that natural foods are de-natured, that is, refined, canned, preserved, smoked, aged, colored, fumigated, stabilized, thickened, enriched, and processed, as well as cooked through such methods as frying and boiling, they are devitalized, rendered lifeless from our viewpoint." If Mr. Hittleman were alive today, he'd be cringing at the amount of processed foods on store shelves, not to mention the obesity rate. Paging through the recipes, I found Garbanzo Sesame Spread. Yes - modern day hummus and not much different than hubby's Hummus. There's no sugar used in any of the recipes, and no "flesh foods." Interestingly, the words vegan or vegetarianism are no where to be found in the book. The author writes three pages about proteins and flesh foods, and how "the yogi believes there can be no life-force derived from a dead creature." And here we are 40 years later, with an alarming amount of factory farms and factory-raised animals being fed to billions of people. The 1970 book mentions organic foods and states, "Unfortunately, organic produce is not plentiful because of economics involved; it is available at some health foods stores and at farms and occasionally at markets in the proximity of large produce areas. The philosophical as well as practical advantages of your own vegetable garden deserve your most serious consideration." Those are some sweet words - words that are ringing in the ears of many organic growers these days for both health and economic reasons. If you are reading this, you are likely an organic grower or healthy-eater -- keep it up, and spread the word. Enjoy that "natural" lifestyle. It's been around longer than many of us realize.