Eat to Support Your Mind
Welcome to Aquarius, the middle sign of winter. In Aquarius our focus shifts from Capricorn effort and accomplishment to communicating with society, exchanging beneficial ideas and acquiring knowledge. By learning from others we adopt new ideas that change the very structures that we established in Capricorn. We are also less bound by rules and more open to innovation. This is one reason why so many people change their resolutions or drop them all together when the Sun enters Aquarius, this year on January 19th. With the Sun now highlighting the element of Air, there is a focus on concepts. The essence of Aquarius is thinking about our larger community.
We adjust our diets to align with this energy. Since Sun in Aquarius gives us an opportunity to increase our knowledge, we eat to support our minds. This is worth quite a bit of thought (no pun intended). Our minds are our most precious resource. Everything we do depends on our brain. We all benefit from thinking more clearly, quickly and with a better memory. If we have a healthy body but our mind isn't functioning well, then our life lacks quality. On the other hand, if our body is unhealthy we can improve this condition as long as we have a healthy mind. Maintaining our minds is increasingly important as we age. According to the Surgeon General's office, Alzheimer's disease affects 8-15% of people over age 65 in the US, and this percentage is on the rise.
So how do we eat to increase our brain power? In addition to eating adequate protein for neurotransmitters, we also need quality fats. The human brain is 60% fat and contains more cholesterol than any other part of the body. That's right, the cholesterol that is so vilified today is actually essential for brain function. One wonders. Try reading an alternative viewpoint here. Eggs are a traditional brain food and provide highly usable protein, the standard on which all other proteins are based. The yolks contain most of the nutrients.
Omega 3 supplementation is a good idea any time of year, and especially with Sun in Aquarius. Fish and fish oils have all the press, but grass-fed cows and naturally fed pigs and chickens also have higher levels of omega 3s than feedlot animals.
This leads us to an important point. Aquarius is a human sign, whereas most of the zodiac is made up of animals. The very symbol of the water-bearer indicates this. The water he pours is not the oceanic feeling waters of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, but the river of thoughts and knowledge. The Sun in Aquarius helps all of us act in a humane way. It is not humane to eat animals that have needlessly suffered. Eating eggs from traumatized chickens and bacon from abused pigs is not going to help our minds function either. Conversely, taking in nutrients from healthy animals will help our brains function more positively.
Since the Aquarius symbol is a human, it isn't a stretch to consider eating more pork - from happy pigs of course. Pigs are biologically similar to humans and are considered a tonic in traditional Chinese medicine for this reason. They also score high on intelligence tests for animals.
Perhaps the most powerful Aquarian food I have found is bone marrow. Long considered the very essence of the animal, marrow contains nutrients that help the brain and nerves. Before you stop reading, consider that celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain of calls roasted bone marrow salad his "death row meal" that his request for a meal if he had only one left! And Jennifer McLagan, author of the cookbook "Bones - Recipes, History & Lore ", writes that roasted marrow bones is the very dish that started her on writing her book. I concur. Roasted bone marrow is delicious, and what's more I have noticeably more brain power the next day. I really mean this - two tremendous intellectual breakthroughs in my professional practice of astrology both occurred the morning after eating a healthy portion of bone marrow. Here's one recipe.
If the idea of bone marrow makes you squeamish, try walnuts and their oil. Because of their shape, they have long been thought to help the brain. Modern science concurs, finding that walnuts are loaded with omega 3s. The French walnut oil is the tastiest; they have been making it for centuries. If you can, find walnuts in their shell. Freshness in walnuts and all foods isn't just a matter of taste; they have more of their beneficial energies, antioxidants and life giving properties.
In addition to foods, we can also add herbs for both taste and medicinal effect. Rosemary has been considered a brain plant for millennia. Scholars in ancient Greece wore springs of rosemary to strengthen their memory. You can try the same, perfume the air with essential oil of rosemary when learning, reading or writing, or simply eat it. Sage is another wisdom plant - its name makes this clear. Modern research again agrees - scientists found that rosemary helped long term memory in people with Alzheimer's, and that sage increased memory enhanced chemicals. With all herbs, fresh is best. I have definitely noticed extra brain perkiness from freshly snipped rosemary and enhanced wisdom from fresh sage. Some of the magic properties of these herbs diminish within an hour after harvest, so try growing your own for the greatest effect. Here's my own brain power recipe: roasted bone marrow with rosemary and sage.
In the middle of winter, we frequently have longings for sunlight. Citrus fruits are now in season and give us bursts of plant processed light. Sun-dried tomatoes and other fruits are nice additions too. At the Ferry Plaza farmers market in San Francisco, Hamada Farms sells naturally sun dried raisins, cherries, peaches, persimmons, apricots and other fruits.
Don't overdo the sweet taste though - we'll be having extra sweet next month in Pisces. For now, try some of the bitter greens that are in season. Radicchio comes in several varieties and is showing up in markets (toasted walnuts and walnut oil go great with radicchio). Broccoli and broccoli rabe are available now too.
With Sun in Aquarius (for astrologers, the sign opposite to Leo), our hearts need support. This is especially true this time around in 2006 and again in 2007. Natural heart strengtheners are the food garlic and herb hawthorn. Read up on them here. I like to slowly cook garlic cloves in olive oil. Covered in oil they will keep several weeks refrigerated so make a batch of several heads of garlic and use whenever you want. Spread on toast, have in salads - use however you would use oven roasted garlic, which is also a treat but takes preparation each time. Here's a recipe.
For beverages, combine air and water by trying sparkling varieties like Pellegrino, Gerolsteiner and others. Check the labels for those with high mineral content. I cannot omit everyone's favorite brain beverage, coffee. Coffee gets our minds going double speed. Like everything else we eat, try seeking out the happiest and freshest varieties. For those in the Bay Area, Blue Bottle Coffee is setting new standards here. For the end of the day, there's nothing closer to drinking pure clean Aquarian air than sake. If you are close to San Francisco, visit True Sake, America's first sake store, for an incredible selection of the real deal.
In our bodies, Aquarius connects to the calves. Try a simple calve stretch in the morning. Stand on a step or thick stable book and let your heels drop until you feel the stretch in your calves.
May you have spring in your step with Sun in Aquarius!
Disclaimer: Consult your health professional for all health related inquires and issues.
[Reprinted with the kind permission of the author]
Jonathan Pearl is a traditional astrologer with a special interest in living with harmony with nature and time. For more information and his free weekly astrology column, please visit http://www.starpearls.com/.
Please Note: All of the recommendations in this article are by Jonathan Pearl and not by Satya Center nor the Satya Center Founders.