Blog: Chef Jemichel ~ The Chef-Doctor
by chef jem

Anthroposophical Nutrition-Search For It's Nutritional Basis

An answer regarding the "nutrition base" in Anthroposophical nutrition, "One who understands nutrition correctly understands the beginning of healing", the essential element of a foodstuff is its formative forces.

Date:   11/26/2009 1:56:48 PM   ( 12 y ) ... viewed 3154 times

The following is an inquiry on this subject and the answer I received from an "expert" who works from an Anthroposophical perspective.


I am seeking certain foundational understanding on nutrition from individuals who have an Anthroposophical perspective.

At: http://www.anthromedia.com/articles/agriculture/nutrition/


is the phrase "anthroposophical extended nutrition". Rather than speculate about what this means I decided I would ask others. Nevertheless I do have a beginner's perspective on this and to begin with I see two parts in this phrase that consist of "nutrition" and "Anthroposophical extended". My first emphasis in this inquiry is on the "nutrition" part of this phrase. I would like to get a brief overview of the extent of the "nutrition" part before "crossing the threshold" into the "Anthroposophical extended" part. How does that sound?

For instance in speaking of nutrition (in context of the above phrase) would that be the same idea of nutrition as presented by the American Dietetic Association? If it is then I can immediately understand the need for "extending" that (or rather transcending that). If the ADA is not the nutrition base then what would the base be?

In Gratitude!

Chef Jem

Answer: Dear Chef,

... lovely to find your inquiry, anyway. It sounds delightful.
Seriously, it tickles me pink. Because the "extended" part is ALL Anthroposophical nutritional perspectives are about. Not so much base as in (vit) ABC...

I would love to introduce you to the ins and outs, all the more so if you are a chef! A dream come true to inspire chefs to go bio-dynamic. I even believe there to be money in it. Because it will simply taste great and have a fabulous vibe about it. You see, we don't need stuffy old fashioned Anthroposophics in pinnafores cooking up some grits in this modern day and age, but hip young things (or wise ol'e souls) with a genuine taste for adventure, sincerity, and a drive to put out honest healthy, inspired cooking. This is what extends eating into nourishing the soul.
This is when diet becomes enjoying life. This is what justifies growing food at the expense of natural resources. This is the way forward to happiness (i.e. balance).

The base then is a life-philosophy. A rather complex one at that. A highly esoteric and metaphysical one (with genuine high philosophy roots, to boot). None of it directly opposes the ADA - simply because it does not relate to it in any way. It comes from an entirely different (and very German traditional) premise, and then it travelled some and grew into something anybody, anywhere can get a grip on.

It translates in modern terms to the fact we all are picking up on: we do not eat to live, let alone live to eat, but live and therefore eat, as a celebration of our higher, sophisticated (indeed, spiritual) selves. No more or less so than we "must" breathe, walk, talk, dance, write poetry... etc. People will need to embrace this "metaphysical" or existential truth as a society if we are to prevent death, disease and destruction from the mere act of eating.

So, I can answer your question in this vague way: Anthroposophic nutrition is based on spiritual and cosmic principles. I would be very happy to extend this, but then we are soon going to stray onto a very vast terrain, since it is a very holistic and therefore comprehensive approach. I don't know if it will help you to relate Anthroposophical nutrition more to Aryuvedic (Macrobiotic) or Five Element Taoist (Chinese) cuisine? But some themes do convene.

Maybe it would have helped me more if I had known with what research purpose you posed this question? Feel free to contribute more information if you have been provoked into asking a follow up question. For your own sanity, I advise you to ask precise questions, with as much detailed context as possible. I tend to elaborate as I pick up on what you are looking for.

And, oh, if we are talking transcendence - now you mentioned the word - Anthroposophy will never claim that you can "eat yourself to heaven". Only that a nutritious meal is more than a plateful of molecules and numerical values. Lighting a candle and putting on a Mozart String Quartet comes somewhere in to play when we are talking happy meals.

...

Every substance on earth is condensed light; the fundamental essence of the soul, however, is love."

I agree that the answer came in a "vague way" and so much so that my inquiry was not satisfied. I immediately continued my search under the terms of: anthroposophy+nutrition.

My next source (the second Google hit) is the book Foodwise by Wendy Cook. According to Bob & Nancy's Bookshop: "Foodwise is the best-ever-written account of nutrition from the perspective of Anthroposophy". Looks like I have my reading cut out for me now!

Wendy speaks directly to a relationship between food and human consciousness. That seems a "fair" enough context in which to understand "nutrition from the perspective of Anthroposophy"!

I've just finished reading what I could of Foodwise online and now determined to get a copy to continue the reading.

In continuing my search I have found "The Anthroposophical Approach to Medicine" based on a Steiner quote: "One who understands nutrition correctly understands the beginning of healing". This is the language most representative of how I think in regards to food and nutrition. On page 212 I read "... the essential element of a foodstuff is its formative forces ...". Simple truth! Ten words! No ADA! Yippee!!!

If you do a search on the Steiner quote, you just may meet interesting people!

Jan. 24, 2010: Launched into another round of searches and this time under the phrase "anthroposophical nutrition" and found Farmer John's Cookbook! Then found someone who had "recently completed studies in Anthroposophical Nutrition at Parsifal College"!: http://www.parsifalcollege.edu.au/


That read very positively for me! So I just sent a message to the school for more information:

Summary of web form submission:
Your Name
Chef Jem
Email Address
chef@thesetruths.com

Message
"Greetings! I've just read of someone who "completed studies in Anthroposophical Nutrition" at your college: http://www.kiyogatoday.com.au/nutrition.html

Would it be possible to have more information on that course? Thank You! Chef Jem"

Next found a reference re: an article that mentioned "a contribution on the history of anthroposophical nutrition". The holding library is in the Netherlands and I wrote: Wageningen UR Library

My question:
"I am interested in this article if it is available in English: 'Biodynamics and world wide nutrition research \ Bio-dynamics: a periodical furthering soil conservation and increased fertility in order to improve nutrition and health Schoultz, U. von \ 1996 Excerpts from a Special Issue of the Circular Letter for the Co-Workers of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum Throughout the World: cultivated vegetables and the mysteries of nutrition; a contribution on the history of anthroposophical nutrition; ...'"

Next I saw an "Anthroposophical nutrition diagram" and under the following statement (that I responded to):
"A depiction of what goes on when we digest whole foods, with a suggestion that what may happen when we consume refined and over processed food is that the digestive forces we dont use for the breaking down process are corespondingly not so readily available for the full potential of the assimilation process. This needs to be balanced by the asthetic enthusiastic and joyful eating of food, which may well include the odd bag o chips and deathly-sweet choco cake... "

My response:
"Greetings!

"The old bag of chips" lost all it's "joy" (if it ever had any) when I finally learned to completely nourish myself with the healthy fats that my body and brain were starving for! In the same or similar way the "deathly-sweet choco cake" (and any other desert items) all lost their attraction after I experienced complete satisfaction with the more nourishing meals (than I had ever known before). Now that I know what being well nourished feels like I find I am completely joyful and enthusiastic about the real foods and that I have no enthusiasm or joy for virtually any processed foods! ..."

Back to my search:
I got a reply from a library in The Netherlands that pointed me to the "Anthroposophical Approach to Medicine" (possibly edited by "Von Friedrich Husemann,Otto Wolff") with a section on Nutrition beginning on page 210. Like virtually everything I read from Steiner I find myself becoming completely absorbed in what he is saying! It all starts in such simple terms, i.e. "Calorie consumption tells of the "caloric value' of a food, but not of its formative forces"! It's a quantitative measurement and not a measurement of quality! Then the journey into "formative forces" is where I get so absorbed! It would be ideal to take the study up in a small group!

Speaking of group, I also got a reply from "Sydney Rudolf Steiner College (formally Parsifal College)" regarding their " Health and Nutrition course". I responded with a request for their bibliography for the study in nutrition. I also requested a referral to the faculty member who has taught the course and that I would like to introduce them to my Raw Milk DVD. Steiner (in the book just previously mentioned) talks about how milk does not need to be cooked/heated as certain other foods do. The Anthroposophical communities are perfect candidates for joining the raw milk movement!

May 17, 2011 update:
Since posting the above I've been developing a vision for Community Supported Kitchens in Waldorf schools that serve nutrient-dense foods. The key source of those foods would be Biodynamic farms that include dairy cows. The "Nutrition Base Search" that started this blog is now branching into a search for Biodynamic farms that include dairy cows. When it comes to nourishing children the real nutrition base (IMHO) is now largely Biodynamic farm milk! The milk alone and/or the additional foods that can be made from the milk (i.e. yogurt, cheese, butter, etc.) can possibly be included at each meal that is served for children.

Life is Good!

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