Sunday, October 6, 2013

What is Whole Wheat FSM?

Is it a food? hmmm.... yes and no.

It's a reference to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The idea is that if there is a deity based on food, or a food based on a deity, then eating becomes an act of devotion that nourishes both the body and soul.

Whole Wheat Pastafarianism (word for people who follow the teachings of the FSM) pokes fun at the (supposed) atheist origins of the religion by taking Pastafarianism to it's natural conclusion. Since the divine is food then it becomes a duty to eat the best quality (and tasting) and most nourishing food possible (given the individuals' budget and other social-economic constraints). Extend this further and cooking healthy food using methods that extract maximum taste and nourishment becomes an act of devotion. For example if one wanted mac and cheese for dinner, one could choose box-pasta, or one could buy some really nice cheese and toss together a casserole in the slow cooker (healthier yummier, and takes roughly the same time and expense per serving). Likewise, if one wanted sauerkraut, flowing the FSM way would lead one to choose home made live 'kraut over the more expensive, pasteurized tin cabbage mush.

Then, well, once you start thinking about it, food is only as good as it is grown. The egg is only as good as the chicken is fed, the wheat only as nutritious as the soil where it's roots rest. Taking the effort to choose food that has been grown in nourishing ways, becomes even more important.

On top of that, agricultural practices that deplete the land and reduce fertility for future generations is avoided where possible.  This is really important and close to my heart.  This is where eating becomes a political act as well as a spiritual one.  This tenant could be (and should be) expanded to include modifying our consumerist activities to helping those who do not have enough to eat in the world.  Diet for a Small Planet, 'though dated, is a book that addresses this issue and has some good ideas how we can vote with our fork - That the individual can improve the world through his or her choices isn't a new idea.

In it's most basic form, Whole Wheat Pastafarianism is supporting sustainable, holistic agricultural practices, and taking time each day to participate in food preparation - be it growing a garden, fermenting your own sauerkraut, cooking pasta... Taking a few moments to transform the daily act of food into mindful meditation.

How much of it is a religion, how much a philosophy, how much an excuse for common sense eating? I'm not sure... but it's fun, and I do like growing, fermenting and cooking healthy food. 

Many people who embrace the Whole Wheat path, find that food becomes more affordable, more meaningful and more nourishing to both body and spirit.  The chore of preparing meals becomes an opportunity for time alone with your thoughts... like a zen meditation.  For some, preparing meals becomes family time, parent and child cooking together, learning together, trying new things that either alone wouldn't venture to attempt.  

The Whole Wheat path isn't just for Pastafarians.  It's for people of all walks of life, of all backgrounds.  It's an opportunity to expand one's way of thinking about the most central part of existence - food.

One more thing.  In the book The Revolution will not be Microwaved, Katz says, passion for food is not at all abstract.  Food is the stuff of our most basic material reality.  Food nurtures us, comforts us, and structures our lives.  Our daily habits and routines revolve around it.  It is fully sensual, composed of smells, flavours, textures, and aftertastes.  Eating is a full-body experience, involving the nose, the mouth, the hands, the teeth, the tongue, the throat, the vast array of internal sensations relating to digestion, and the renewing pleasure of defecation.
If the food we consume is all of this, how can eating not be an act of devotion?  No matter which deity or divine influence permeates your life, what you eat honours, or dishonours that divinity.  

Then there is the whole eating pasta on Fridays and brewing aspects...but that's a whole different conversation. 

I did put my pirate hat on for that, but I admit, I couldn't find my eye patch - for those of you who know the Pastafarian dogma.

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