All About Food Meaning and Mindful Consumption
Giving Food Meaning for Healthy Eating, and Better Living: Being aware of the food we eat is akin to being enlightened. Why? Because the food we eat is alive, and as such, our food has a level of consciousness.
Granted, the bananas swimming in our morning cereal might not holler “howdy” from the bowl, but I promise…this: The food we eat has intelligence.In this article, I propose we communicate with our food, to give our food meaning, to augment our eating experience for the purpose of garnering appreciation, awareness, and even gain better nutritional content.
Now, I’ve been as guilty as the next for mindlessly mowing my food. But these days, I am more thoughtful about consuming food, and I look at it as a co-creative experience between my energies, and the energies of the food feeding my body.
Benefits of Communicating and Appreciating Our Food
♦ Richer eating experience (taste is more intense/vibrant)
♦ Fewer cases of indigestion
♦ Higher retention of nutritional value
♦ Natural weight-loss
♦ Eventual mindfulness and better decision-making about what we eat
♦ Lower blood-pressure
♦ Achievement of chemical equilibrium within the body
♦ Sense of content – feeling full and more satisfied after a meal
The concept of giving food meaning and genuinely appreciating the food we eat is not unlike saying grace before a meal.
Did you know scientific studies have shown that those who pray before meals have fewer complaints of indigestion? Yeppers. What’s more, these studies showed that grace-sayers at meal-time also absorb more nutritional content from the food they eat than mindless gobblers.
This is because the food we eat is conscious, and when we take the time to communicate with the food we’re consuming, we establish a collaborative relationship with it. Giving food meaning and being thankful for it communicates a positive energy to our food, and it responds by releasing positive energy within our bodies.
Consider Native American wisdom, in which the tradition is to give thanks to the spirit indwelling the food eaten, as well as give thanks to the elements (fire/sun, earth, air, water) that made the food possible. Our Native ancestors knew all about the beautifully symbiotic relationship between human, plant and animal…and guess what…archeologists haven’t found traces of diabetes or cancer in the bone-remains of ancient indigenous peoples. Gee…something to think about, eh?
Am I saying that by communicating with food, we can avoid things like heartburn, diabetes and even cancer? That’s precisely what I’m saying.
Maybe saying grace before you eat isn’t your thing, and that’s ok. It’s not necessarily the words we use when we sit at the dinner table, it’s the intent and our state of awareness before we eat that’s key. If we approach our food knowing it possesses an energy, and acknowledge that energy in a grateful way before consuming it, we can reap tremendous benefits. Over time, we may even find we make better food choices, lose weight, experience healing.
I’ll go a step further and say if the whole human race acknowledged the spirit indwelling our food as our ancestors did, we would not be in the over-consumptive, pre-packaged madness we’re experiencing today. When we have a relationship with what we eat, we establish an understanding that everything is interconnected.
So even if you don’t say a prayer before mealtime, you can make an effort to eat more consciously.
Ways to Give Food Meaning and Value When Eating
♦ Research the symbolic meaning of food before/during meal preparations (for example: Apples are symbolic of fertility, purity, and spiritual unity).
♦ Be mindful of the taste of your food, experience all the flavors.
♦ Shut off the TV when you eat (this encourages active participation in eating rather than mindless mowing).
♦ Make the food on your plate look pretty. Presenting your meals in elegant ways tends to make us more appreciative of what we’re eating.
♦ Take a moment before eating to think about what this food does to your body.
♦ Ponder “what if” this food could talk. What would your broccoli say if it could speak your language?
♦ The sense of smell is one of the most underappreciated faculties we have. Take in the aroma of your food, and really savor the smell of the flavors.
♦ Grow a garden. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing. Just growing a simple herb illustrates the elegant process of growth involved with providing nourishment and sustenance to our bodies. A garden is a joyful way of gaining appreciation for our food, and giving back to the earth at the same time.
♦ Whether saying grace, or just acknowledging the spirit indwelling the food you’re eating – DO be sure to approach your meal with a sense of appreciation.
In essence, take the time to be aware of the food you’ve got. Consider where it came from, who made it, the farmers that grew it, the trucks that brought it to the store, the elements (fire/sun, earth, air, water) that in some part made that food happen for you. Giving a conscious nod to these far-reaching factors in food preparation/provision goes a long way in making us better humans. And not just humans with better bodies, but better humans with hearts that have learned the value of cooperative consumption, and who are grateful for the sustenance provided.
For the record, I’ve employed all of the practices listed in the bullet-points above, and have experienced remarkable results. Stuff like: Natural weight-loss, reduced blood pressure, increased intuition, a sense of contentment, and increased energy, and overall – feeling really, really good about myself and my role in the food-chain.
Just food for thought.
I hope this article on appreciating, and giving food meaning has offered value on your path…or at the very least, gave you a chuckle.
Oh, and lastly, this article does not, in any way, stand as medical or nutritional advice. Your body and what you do to it is your responsibility – I’m just tossing out some tips that have worked for me. Thanks for reading, and happy eating!
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