Food. What an amazing, life affirming substance.
It brings us together with our family, our friends, our communities, and the natural landscape that supports us. It connects us closely to this earth we inhabit. It fuels and nourishes our bodies and souls.
In the most intimate way, when we consume food, we take it into our mouths and reincorporate it into our very cells. Our bodies intelligently convert it into the energy that drives our actions and interactions with the world we live in.
For an element that is so integral to human existence from the moment we enter into this world, there is an astounding amount of confusion and disconnect surrounding our relationship to food and how we connect to it with our bodies.
We live in an ever-increasingly compartmentalized world. This applies especially to the world of food. It isn’t uncommon for us to not know the story of many foods we eat daily: what they look like in their natural form, where they came from, how they were grown or how they were produced.
This divorce of knowledge has disempowered us from realizing the truth about our food and how it affects our bodies.
We are constantly inundated with society’s messages of how we should be nourishing and treating our bodies, and many of these messages often leave us feeling confused and overwhelmed, left to the mercy of dietary regimes that tell us in a blanketed way what we should we should not be eating.
The aims of these regimes can and often do come with noble intentions—be it healthier bodies, animal welfare, weight loss, environmental reasons, improved local economies and so on—but too often they are fragmented and removed from the whole picture. They leave us feeling alienated, guilty and ultimately dissatisfied. Many of these dogmatic diets totally disregard the sheer complexity, uniqueness, and ever-evolving nature of the human body. Although they may bring some positive results, part of me thinks that they are ultimately missing the point.
How can we expect to apply rigid, unchanging dietary rules and restrictions to bodies that are ever-changing cell to cell, moment to moment? Understanding, accepting, and appreciating that the state of our bodies and our health is in constant flux is crucial to beginning to embrace a whole, healthy lifestyle.
Here are some tips to help us take the power back, reconnect with our bodies, and rediscover the healing power of food:
1) Practice gratitude. Before eating a meal, take a few moments to give thanks and appreciate it. Consider its journey to your plate and all the people who were involved in the process. Thank the farmers, the worms, the microbes, the sun.
2) Go slowly. Take your time to enjoy the food and see how your body reacts. Notice the way your mouth salivates before each bite. Notice the textures on your tongue, how it feels to bite down, the smells, how it tastes. Eating slower allows your body to calibrate and aid in the digestion process.
3) Observe. Pay attention to how your body feels after eating or abstaining from certain foods. Do you feel bloated? Energized? Tired? Heavy? Nurtured? These reactions are important clues that the body gives indicating what it likes and needs, what it needs more or less of. Remember, body knows best.
4) Keep it simple. Never underestimate the power of whole, plant-based foods. Eating fruits and veggies in their natural forms gives us a huge array of nutrients, helps our digestive system, and brings us closer to the earth that grew them.
If we truly want the answers of how we should be feeding and nourishing our bodies, the answers all lie within ourselves.
If we ask the body sincerely, and accept honestly the answers it gives us, often we’ll find that many of our questions surrounding diet fall to the wayside. Does the body truly crave over-processed, fake, hydrogenated food? Does it want to be fed factory-farmed, cruelly produced, environmentally degrading products? If we ask these questions honestly and mindfully, we’ll find that the answer is almost always a resounding “Hell no!”.
If we turn down the volume on the chatter of the complicated, mixed messages we are drowned in by magazines, television, health experts, supplement companies, social media and the like, we are left to simmer in the silence of the intelligence of our own bodies. When we cut back the dizzying calorie counts, portions, dos and don’ts, this not thats, casting away any sense of shame or “cheat days,” what we’re left with is a miraculously intelligent body that is designed to diagnose, treat and heal itself.
By trusting our own brilliance and tapping in to the intuitive genius we all are, we are able to reconnect with the world we live in through food.
By tapping into the intuitive knowledge of our own bodies, we reclaim the power back to use food as a vessel to heal and nurture ourselves, reconnecting us to the world we live in.
Author: Alix Koloff
Editor: Emily Bartran
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