"The Simple Way
By Jossie Weir
- The way where needs and pleasure come together -
Michel Leseigneur has been studying diet for over 30 years through activities based on what he calls: "intelligence of the heart" (something close to intuition and senses). Through the practice of shamanic ceremonies and thru personal experiences (as opposed to theory or academic study), Michel has developed a whole natural and simple way of living and "feeding" ourselves.
But here’s the catch in relation with diet:
Thru the various approaches that Michel has practiced ranging from "raw vegan to macrobiotic" and many types in-between, he realized over this long period of trial-and-error reflection that all dietary systems are inherently limited. Why? Because even the best of them fail to address the unique needs of each precious individual on their journey to greater health and wholeness. As a result of this realization, Michel now offers his participants a simple, super flexible and funny-centered approach to dietary healing.
I spoke with Michel recently at his farm:
Thank you for speaking with us Michel. First of all, could you give us a brief summary of this unique approach to eating?
Above all, our way is all about learning to communicate with your body so that you sense immediately what it needs and then provide it with exactly "that" and nothing else! First choosing the right quantity of a particular food, no more, no less you are better able to follow with the next food until you get a body signal to stop.
We present a wide diversity of foods as options and possibilities at each meal.
For lunch we choose from a large variety of sweet and sour fruits, including avocadoes and tomatoes, as well as coconuts.
For dinner we choose from protein foods as well as vegetables and melons. The protein foods include various meats, fowl, seafood and fish. They also include nuts and seeds, seaweeds, eggs, honey and other bee products, coconuts and avocadoes and some spoiled delicious items... "Yes, I said spoiled!" The melons include watermelon and cantaloupe.
We also can choose from other fruits at dinner if we choose a non-meat protein (creates indigestion). We start our dinner with a protein food and we only eat one of these to maximize digestion.
These are dried in the fridge and unsalted, preserved just as in winter time. We also offer varying degrees of spoiled foods which are also very attractive. Whenever possible, our food is farm-grown, organic and locally produced.
We also eat one food at a time rather than mixing them together, "surprisingly pleasurable"!. Even when we eat garlic, ginger or onion it’s always on its own and never mixed with other foods. Eating a very small or even an over amount of food can be just what the body needs. We often wait a few minutes between foods before considering what to eat next. We take our time when we eat a meal, sometimes taking two hours or more.
After testing many times, dairy products of all kinds, we found them too difficult to digest... notice that milk doesn´t grow in the open nature. We generally don’t snack between meals and we avoid (non-food) such as vitamin/mineral supplements because we find that these interfere with the body’s natural function and do more harm than good in the long run.
What about breakfast?
Breakfast is usually strictly devoted to drinking a couple of glasses of natural spring water, followed by eating a small amount of an asian jungle tree fruit pod ("Cassia" see picture below), followed in turn by more water an hour later and then lunch at least two hours later. Cassia powerfully cleanses the body at the cellular level while also providing us with a feeling of fullness that lasts for several hours. It also provides a pleasant taste that is similar to licorice. Cassia pods helps to deeply clean the bowel and linfatic systems.
I understand that you play a “game” at each meal to help each individual determine what foods are best for them at that particular time. How does it work?
We use an activity that we call "the game". It allows each person’s body tendency to better choose what it needs versus always choosing out of habit, comfort, familiarity or emotional neediness.
We have some games that work best in a group. Everybody participating! Through the games you can experience various ways of personally relating or building a relationship with food. Examples include using colors, smells, forms, sounds, imagination, using textures, etc.
Sometimes after you make these food choices, other people in the group could help you to decide which one to eat. They look you in the eyes and then give their vote about which food you most need – not based on logic or knowledge of diet and nutrition, but strictly on a deeper intuitive body-rooted feeling sense.
How can you tell if you’ve eaten enough of a particular food? How do you know when you’re full?
Eating only one food at a time helps alot. When you’re relating well to your food, you relish it! There’s a passionate enjoyment for as long as you need it, and then it naturally wanes... -you might eat part of a mango, or you might eat 8 mangoes, whatever your body needs-.Most people can tell when they’ve had enough of a particular food because they either lose interest in it and/or it doesn’t taste as good -maybe it even starts tasting strong-.
If you mix your foods together, it becomes much harder to communicate accurately with your body and then you end up eating too much food and not the right amount.
Are there any risks or drawbacks to this approach to eating?
We have never even had a case of indigestion in our long experience and no one has ever said that they felt at risk!
Here is how nature works, it is very simple: you choose what you need, it taste very good and you have pleasure. That´s it!
How can this approach be incorporated into other areas of our lives besides diet?
We apply the same sort of principles described above to physical games as well as artistic and other activities.
For instance it’s unlikely that we’d make the same physical exercises every day. Instead, we’re more likely to do a variety of things to improve and maintain our "unpredictability", so there’s no recipe, no formula, and no fixed goals. You simply perform in such a way that you’re meeting your body’s needs as they happen, day-to-day and moment by moment.
It’s amazing to experience the freedom of life working and playing in this simple way... we connect with the virgin nature hidden everywhere and in ourselves.
Thank you Michel... "bon appétit"!