By Priscilla Timberlake , co-author of The Great Life Cookbook: Whole Food, Vegan, Gluten-Free Meals for Large Gatherings.
What constitutes a great life? Having named our self-published book THE GREAT LIFE COOKBOOK makes this question a particularly engaging inquiry for me. Let us explore this together.
MAY I BE HAPPY.
MAY I BE PEACEFUL.
MAY I BE HEALTHY.
MAY I BE FREE.
These blessings, offered to oneself and then to others, are one expression of a Buddhist loving-kindness meditation practiced for thousands of years. I believe these simple good wishes illuminate the essential components of a great life.
The first wish is for happiness. Community, family, friends, human-to-human contact — all can be a gratifying source of happiness. For eons people have gathered to share meals together. For this reason, and the contentment that comes from serving others, Lewis and I began cooking healthful community meals in our home many years ago. How healing it is to be in the presence of others, reminding us of our essential wholeness, while eating nutritious, delicious, environmentally friendly food!
MAY YOU BE HAPPY!
The second wish is for peace. Cooking vibrant, fresh, seasonal, plant-based foods fosters peaceful living. Macrobiotic Master Micho Kushi says,
“Peace does not begin with any political party, religious movement, or social platform. It begins in kitchens and pantries, gardens and backyards, where the physical source of our daily life-food, the staff of life, our daily bread, is grown and prepared. From individual hearts and homes, peace radiates out to friends and neighbors, communities and nations.”
Besides creating a peaceful environment through our food choices, we can also attend to how we prepare it. The act of cooking mindfully — purposefully paying attention moment to moment — can cultivate inner peace. Imagine, in this age of multiple techno-distractions, simply taking the time to focus on cooking and nothing else!
MAY YOU BE PEACEFUL!
The third wish is for health. This is straightforward. It is so much easier to say YES to life when one is feeling well. Having adopted a whole foods, plant-based way of eating over twenty-five years ago, I am experiencing good health today.
“Eating a whole food, plant-based diet will significantly reduce one’s chances of developing the majority of diseases prevalent in the modern western world,” states Lewis Freedman, Registered Dietician, and my coauthor of THE GREAT LIFE COOKBOOK. This is very encouraging news for all of us.
Lewis goes on to state the simple logic involved in embracing a wholesome way of eating. “The nutrients available through eating whole foods are markedly increased as compared to those of processed foods. Through the refining process, nutrients are stripped out of foods. Compare white rice to brown rice. Brown rice has fiber as well as B-vitamins, trace minerals, and all the associated nutrients that are absent from refined white rice. Think about the life force, color, and vitality in a freshly picked green bean, versus what we see and feel when opening a can of green beans.” Embracing the eating of whole foods for healthier living is plain common sense.
MAY YOU BE HEALTHY!
The final blessing is for freedom. I have heard over and over again that true freedom cannot come without responsibility. I have also found this to be true. By taking responsibility for my own health and happiness through conscious lifestyle choices, I am now freer to experience life more fully.
MAY YOU BE FREE!
Thank you for investigating the foundations of a satisfying and fulfilling life with me. My hope, here and in our book, is to inspire you to continue to care for yourself in ways that really serve you and your loved ones. Our intention behind the creation of THE GREAT LIFE COOKBOOK was to support others to cook whole, delicious, healthy foods for their family and friends. The book is laid out in twelve balanced, seasonal meals, one for each month, with luscious photos that inspire. Thanks to graphic designer Julie Manners the book is gorgeous to look at; it’s a healing force in itself. Thanks to Alicia Freedman, an apprentice guide is included in the back to help those who are new to whole-foods cooking. The recipes, coming from our many decades of experience in cooking for large gatherings, serve 20-24.
MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY.
MAY ALL BEINGS BE PEACEFUL.
MAY ALL BEINGS BE HEALTHY.
MAY ALL BEINGS BE FREE.
Viva the Great Life!