Food is really important to me. When I eat well, I feel well and feeling well allows me to show up fully for life, for my relationships and for the work that I love to do.
When I don’t eat well for whatever reason I very quickly turn into Medusa, all snarly and spitting venom (scary but true!).
So on arriving in southern Italy one of my first priorities was to head to the shops and stock up on staples, all the things I normally keep in my kitchen to nourish me and keep me well. Porridge, chia seeds, goji berries, wheat grass powder, coconut oil etc. basically all the healthy super foods I had become accustomed to getting in my local health food store.
Except in this part of Italy there is no health food store and therefore I thought no super foods.
But I was wrong; I just wasn’t looking in the right place. I have found an abundance of gorgeous super foods and I have been eating and enjoying them every day.
So what are Italian super foods I hear you ask?
Well let me tell you! Onions, garlic, zucchini, melanzane (aubergines), peppers, bitter greens, herbs, nuts, fruits and of course straight off the tree olive oil to name but a few.
Simply put, Italian super food is the food that is grown in the orto’s, the rustic vegetable gardens that are to be found all over the mountain where we live. Food that is naturally organic, consumed in season at its peak of ripeness, often eaten raw or with minimal preparation and bursting with vitamins and the minerals of the earth in which it grows.
It is simple food, it is delicious and it is bursting with life force.
And it has gotten me thinking.
When did our food stop being super?
Why do we now supplement our food with ‘super foods’ that come wrapped in packages and that have been flown half way around the globe. Wouldn’t it just be a whole lot simpler if our food was super to begin with?
And then I had to face a not so nice home truth. Despite being a farmer’s daughter, despite having had my own small holding in Ireland, despite being so very passionate about this gorgeous planet on which we live, I’ve been domesticated, I been tamed and I’ve been trained.
I’ve become accustomed to buying food out of season and buying whatever I want, whenever I desire it in my local store. I have lost my true raw instinctual connection to the seasons and to the rhythm of the earth because I have been trained to consume.
So I’ve made a choice. I’ve decided to re-wild myself.
To breathe new life into that part of me that knows what it is to be fully connected to the rhythm of life. To push through the pain barrier of having ‘less’ so that ultimately I have ‘more’.
I have decided to surrender to a simpler way of being that is for me a richer way of being, because I’m tired of being tame.
And as a result something magical is happening, a part of me that was asleep is now awake.
I find myself looking longingly at the beautiful orange jewels on our Sharon fruit tree, enjoying the tease as they flirt with me while they ripen.
I find myself stopping and looking into neighbour’s orto’s which fires up conversations about what grew well this year and what didn’t, and how they are cooking what they have grown. This morning our neighbour Francesco gave me a recipe for fried broccoli which sounded odd and yet delicious and got my creative juices flowing.
I have become very aware of a simple and possibly much overlooked truth. Our connection to our food infuses a sense of meaning into our lives.
Food has always been more than merely fuel to me; it is nourishment and connection, I love to ‘break bread’ and share cake with dear friends. But here food is my teacher, she is re-wilding me, allowing me to find a new rhythm and connection that makes my heart sing.
The food in Italy truly is super, but perhaps more importantly it is super charging me with life force, one bite, one recipe and one conversation at a time.
Catherine Maguire is a modern day medicine woman currently living in Italy. She’s the author of Tending to your Inner Garden, A Woman’s Journey Towards Wholeness, which is a practical step by step guide for women that draws on the ancient wisdom of shamanism and tantra to reconnect you with your feminine sacredness; your Inner Garden. You can contact Catherine on Facebook
or on her website www.catherinemaguire.com