Moving for Food

Morels- Athens 2017

One of the most inspirational people for me over the last couple of years of my reading and self-study has been the biomechanist Katy Bowman. I have read many of her books, listened to her podcast episodes, and generally adopted many of the principles she teaches into my own life. (Perhaps most notable was the decision I made this past school year to study at a low coffee table in my room so that I could sit on the floor in changing positions instead of in a chair as I do for most of my day as a student. Thanks Katy!)

I am currently reading her book, “Movement Matters,” and have been digesting one of the main themes in the book: the outsourcing of movement as it relates to our food production, preparation, and consumption. Katy argues that each of these stages of food handling allow for different movements that shape and condition the various parts of our bodies and add to our overall health.

We often overlook the ways that these smaller movements have been removed from our life because of all the fuss over exercise as our prime form of movement these days. The fact that we are no longer involved in hunting, gathering, or growing our own food means that we don’t get to take advantage of these smaller, “movement nutrients.” Also, the more conveniently that the food we eat is delivered from hand to mouth, the more of these nutrients we are missing out on (e.g., eating nuts that have been gathered, shelled, and washed for your easy consumption).

Sometimes it is easy to polarize issues like this, and one may think: “There is no way I have time to hunt and gather all of my food!” Probably not, but, I think there is a sweet spot somewhere in the middle of the “always” and “never” perspectives. For example, it may be beneficial for you to just reclaim some of these natural food procuring activities. If you are looking for ideas on what types of movements you might reintroduce in relation to the food the you eat, I recommend checking out the ReWild Yourself Podcast.

Just this past week, I got out into the woods to forage for some of my food (morel mushrooms and ramps–a type of wild onion). Along the way these are some of the “movement nutrients” that I fed my body: hiking up and down hills, stepping across creek beds and under branches; picking and carrying mushrooms and digging ramps; cleaning and chopping the ramps and mushrooms. Oh, and don’t forget frying both up in a little bit of butter and getting to eat this culinary delight!

What movements have you made for your food lately?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. grandmajody says:

    “Moving for Food” encouraged me to think about my moves while preparing dinner: climbing a small step ladder to reach a package on a top cabinet shelf; leaning over, touching the floor, to gather pieces of uneaten dog biscuits; stretching to reach a jar at the very back of the top refrigerator shelf. But nothing as glamorous as finding morels in a forest!


  2. Alison says:

    So weird- I was thinking something similar the other day. The past week I didn’t have has much time to exercise (meaning intentionally going on a run or doing sit-ups or whatever) as I would have liked, and it got me thinking about how relatively new this concept of exercise is, and obviously this is because our lifestyles are so different in that we basically just sit at desks as day and type on computers. Anyway, so I was thinking about things I do or can do in terms of “exercise”, even when I don’t have time (even simple things like playing with Luke at the park). I hadn’t thought about how this relates to food (and even food prep as your grandma pointed out!).


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