Cucumbers anyone?

I recently returned from a trip across southern Iceland.  In the winter.  In the dark.  In the wind.  In the cold.  In the rain.  In the sleet.  In the hail.  Well, you get the picture. Now on my little trip were a few other people, and one couple in particular, had a rather difficult time.  They were the sweetest people and had made the decision less than a year ago, to become vegan.  Now in this day and age, people don't really bat an eye when you say you're vegan.  Unless of course, they are trying to cook for you.  Being vegan in Iceland meant every meal beginning with cucumbers and tomatoes, since these were two vegetables that are actually grown in Iceland, in nice light-filled hothouses.  By day five, you could tell that the idea of more cucumbers and tomatoes was wearing thin.  By day seven, the husband decided he wanted to try the Icelandic fish that the rest of us were having, which he proclaimed to be delicious (and it really was!).  Then came the hot dog, one of the most popular and prolific fast foods enjoyed by Icelanders of every age.  Then it was on to the Snickers bars.

The point was that each thing was providing something desperately needed to function in that environment and climate.  Fish has lots of essential fatty acids which protect the body from cold, keep brain function at an optimum level and provide long-lasting endurance energy.  Hot dogs have lots of protein and even grains, both of which can really make the difference in trekking across a glacier.  The Snickers bars ... well, that sugar is one of the best fast-burning energy sources!  Plus it's yummy!

Traditionally, people who have lived in a particular climate and environment for centuries, have really streamlined the best diet for a healthy life.  This can really pose problems if someone has a specific diet that they wish to follow, but are traveling to or moving to a place that has a starkly different approach to eating.

My philosophy has always been that a particular diet works best for a particular climate and a particular environment.  This goes back to the idea of eating with the seasons, eating foods that grow locally in your environment, and understanding that an Icelandic climate demands certain nutrients far in excess of what would be required in let's say, a tropical climate.

This is also true when you are working therapeutically with the body, and following a healing path.  During the detoxification and rebuilding of body tissues, your body will require very different nutrients and levels of nutrition from the norm.  This is because you are doing different things at a cellular level.  So just like in Iceland where you are walking on glaciers, swimming in sulfur thermal springs, bracing yourself against a wind stronger than a Subaru, or freezing your tootsies off at 2:00 in the morning watching the Aurora Borealis in a frozen field, you have to give your body what it needs to accomplish the task.

So don't assume that when you are trying to convalesce from illness or working to eliminate symptoms, that you should be able to keep up the same schedule, eat the same food and take the same supplements (if any).  Prepare for change by giving the body what it needs ... even if it means enjoying a hot dog so you can swing that ice axe!