“Develop a healthy relationship with food. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re full, don’t eat. Eat vegetables to be good to your body, but eat ice cream to be good to your soul.” – Tina Tran
What is your current relationship with food? You’ve heard the saying “live to eat or eat to live.” How do you feel when it comes to eating? Do you feel tense or uneasy – a feeling of excitement or neutral at meal time? Do you enjoy preparing and cooking your meals? Or does a loved one cook for you? Do you sit down and take time out of your busy schedule to contemplate the food before you?
Whilst these questions may seem like ones you haven’t given much thought to, you should take the time to ponder how you respond to one or a number of the questions. Your upbringing has an impact on your current relationship with food. People in English speaking countries sit down in front of TV’s when eating. Religion may play a part – perhaps reciting grace before meals. Blessing the meal before you eat is an important ritual and one that continues in many cultures. Sharing a meal with loved ones is a practice I regularly advocate to clients.
Both my parents grew up abroad in non English speaking countries. They were raised in agricultural environments. My father’s family were apple farmers, high in the mountains. They lived off the land. Sustainability was very much common practice sixty years ago. For they respected the land and had a great affinity with the food they prepared each day. They had regular contact with food using their hands.
My upbringing revolved around this ideal. My mother remains an amazing cook. Over the years, having read and studied hundreds of literature of nutrition, disease and illness, I have come to one conclusion about developing a relationship with food – love. Food is spiritual, nourishing to the body, mind and spirit. Food should be consumed in an environment filled with love, openness and warmth.
My mother still grows all her own vegetables and tends to her garden regularly. You’ll often see the proud expression on her face when her garden bears the fruits of her labour. The neighbours often stop by on their walk to ask her for advice on growing vegetables. Her garden naturally flourishes and bears amazing vegetables and herbs on a seasonal basis.
She cooks, applying the same attitude – imparting love, joy and enthusiasm into her meals. In our culture (Catholic Middle Eastern), it is accepted that one takes a great deal of pride feeding loved ones i.e. family members, friends etc. Middle Eastern people enjoy entertaining guests with sometimes over the top hospitality. It means a great deal to demonstrate their culture via food. It becomes the embodiment of who they are as a people. This is also apparent in other cultures.
My mother applies the same wisdom when preparing and cooking food. I’ve witnessed her in the kitchen in a trance like state when cooking – no one dares enters! She especially enjoys cooking for loved ones, since she finds an expression of love via the food she prepares and cooks. She holds a strong relationship with food, making regular contact from the moment it is put into the ground to being served at dinner. One develops a strong spiritual connection with food in this manner. It is nurtured and evolved to the point others share in its flavours and benefits.
Create A Healthy Future
Whilst I’m not suggesting that everyone begin cultivating a garden, I do suggest you develop a positive relationship with food. A possible reason for the increase in the obesity epidemic in our culture is attributed to losing our relationship with food. Look back at what you consumed yesterday and recall how many packaged items you ate? Compare this with the fresh, organic produce you consumed? Now, unless you live on a farm I guarantee that at least 60% or more of the food you ate were packaged items.
Know this – there is no relationship with packaged food. You take the food out of the wrapper or box, add ingredients to it and/or shove it into a microwave or oven for cooking. If you’re like most people, you’re impatient and take the absolute shortest time possible to prepare and cook it, subsequently shoving it down your mouth. Later complaining of digestive related ailments as a result. Our genetic disposition is not geared toward this type of feeding pattern.
It’s no wonder Mylanta and other drug based products are the leading sales for digestive complaints. It’s like pouring cement down a drain expecting it to clear up. This post is intended to help you ask the right questions about your relationship with food. If you begin taking action in the right direction, then you’ll have done well.
Remember health is NOT an event as mentioned previously – it is a process. You NEED to develop a relationship with what, when and how you nourish your body. Each decision you make brings you closer or further away from health. From achieving your ideal weight and your ideal life. Yes it is hard to say no to foods which you like. Those foods which are rich in calories, but dead in vitality. I’m not proclaiming to be a preacher about the perils of junk food. I occasionally enjoy such treats when my body calls for it. I don’t make it a habit and nor should you.
Your relationship with food should become a journey, not a destination. For a journey allows you to learn what works and what doesn’t. You become someone along the way. You develop processes which enrich your life and your body. You develop character and substance, which ultimately means junk food, serves little or no place in your life – much like a destructive relationship.
Wherever you are in your journey with food, make a conscious decision to move forward in the right direction. The right direction will be one that will allow you to reach your ideal body weight. It will be one which allows your authentic self to shine forth; for in choosing the right foods you choose your destiny.
You will become congruent with what you eat, how you move, sleep, breathe and think. You will BECOME someone worthy of living a rich, abundant life since you made an effort to throw out that which no longer served your greatest potential. That is what I mean when I talk about awakening your authentic self and developing a meaningful relationship with food.