Health Tips from Colombia (and eating local)

Taking it easy... 

and eating local

So, this is where we are at, I've been traveling the World for almost a decade now, researching, writing, delivering talks and workshops on lifestyle and health. And there are some things that have become really apparent when it comes to health and living well... This post is a little story about them...

As I write this in a tasty organic cafe in Bogota, Colombia, it is halfway through February. So far, on this day, 3 different climates have blown through– sunny, cloudy and stormy. To the right of me are gigantic mountain trees (Bogota is on a mountain) and to the left of me more huge trees making ripples in the pavements and roads with their roots. The trees don’t seem to care that they have been built upon, they stand tall and strong and look and feel very healthy.

I believe the trees save this busy city–there is so much traffic that, like a few other cities, they have a system called Pico-placa. This means that during peak hours cars with number plates ending in odd numbers can drive, and on other days those ending even are permitted. If you don’t follow this system the fines can be very heavy.

That said, there are some magnificent things about this city and more so, the country Colombia. Because the earth is so healthy here it gifts us hundreds of exotic foods (they’re just normal foods here). Guanabana (soursop), chontaduro (palm peach), cherimoya, pitahaya, lulo, noni, mangosteen, coffee, cacao and of course avocados are abundant, supermarkets are literally bursting with these fruits, and with avocados ringing up at around 25c each and $1 Guanabanas it would be a crime not to eat local.  At the side of the road when driving north to Santander, instead of huge service stations we found local beekeepers almost giving away honey, royal jelly and pollen… The farmers markets are a hive of activity, people hanging out eating BBQ’d arepas (often local unpasteurized cheese and heirloom corn) hustling and bustling, snacking and sharing, connecting with each other, listening to music, dancing…

This is about as LOCAL and ORGANIC as it gets, I present you with the almighty CHONTADURO! (the baby making fruit?)

This is about as LOCAL and ORGANIC as it gets, I present you with the almighty CHONTADURO! (the baby making fruit?)

Guanabana (soursop), fabelled and studied for its anti-cancer properties.

Guanabana (soursop), fabelled and studied for its anti-cancer properties.

And, that’s one of the main themes of this post; eating local.

Of course it’s fun and can be very nourishing to eat the exotic imported foods, and I do. I love making cacao (Ecuador) smoothies and simmering up a chaga (Scottish) tea or relaxing with a Reishi tincture (China)… But as a base way of connecting deeply with where you are right now, local food is one of the best ways.

The seasons provoke different fruits and vegetables to show their pretty little heads, leaves or flowers, and because you are right there, in that exact space and time, it’s a perfect symbiosis.

The other theme of this post is to invite you to give yourself a break.

I’m going to guess that many of you reading this will have made some kind of mental contracts - not to do this or that, to begin doing so and so.  Go easy on yourself, it’s great to have goals and plans, things you want to improve or change, but, as we invite in our book, when it becomes a matter of emotional strain or negative pressure, that in itself may be worse.

Instead, I invite you to go easy on yourself, know that life is waves of ups and downs, times for pushing, times for resting.  When you feel that spark, the fire, inspiration… whatever you want to call it, dive on it and use it to make tracks… but when you’re down give yourself the space, the permission to rest and recover.  That’s not to say to give up, no.  More so, to allow yourself to ride the waves of life naturally, flowing up and down, and rather than berating and punishing yourself, support yourself and encourage! 

In the external world of instant gratification, take action, but take your time.
In a world where we are being constantly interrupted by beeps and flashes, give yourself a break, unplug for a day, or a night.

Focus your energy on, and be with living beings, phones off and out of sight, plant your hands deep in earth and smush the soil between your fingers, roll around in it like a pig in mud, touch trees, really become conscious of the sensations in your fingertips, get stung by a nettle, stare at a snail in wonderment and admiration of its slow pace of life.

Have a beautiful time!