When you sit down to eat, is there meaning in what you are eating? What values form the foundation of your meal?
The diets in our society center around pleasure, or punishment. Polarized, we swing from one end of the pendulum to the other.
Was this the way that it was intended? Food is essential for life. Like soil, water and sunlight for a seed to grow and bloom, food is essential for us to grow and bloom as well.
We approach food as pleasure. In our pursuit for happiness, even if it is fleeting, we indulge and overindulge the senses (taste, smell etc) with our food choices. The overindulgence is obvious to the observer. The level of happiness short lived.
We approach food as punishment. We are punishing ourselves from overindulgence with food restrictions to lose weight, to sculpt here, to buff up there. This is delayed gratification for happiness. We are punishing ourselves so that we can later feel happy when we look into a mirror and wear a special outfit to a party. The punishment approach to eating can only work for so long, until our senses take over, we throw in the towel, concluding that it does not work, and we revert back to eating for pleasure. Happiness here is fleeting, based on the bathroom scale.
What prompts us to eat good healthy foods? Do we eat healthy foods out of fear? We eat healthy foods because: 1. we are told it is good for us 2. we are told it will prevent disease.
What about eating good healthy food because it tastes good? What about eating good healthy food because it makes us feel good; it gives us increased levels of energy and vitality? What about eating good healthy food because it gives us a holistic level of satiation?
To find lasting happiness (what I call joy) in our eating we need to find meaning in our eating and food choices. We need to do something that feels quite “unnatural” to us – yes, to find natural and Nature in our approach to food we need to “un” do what has been natural for us up to this point.
Meaningful eating is eating foods that give pleasure, happiness and benefits beyond you and the immediate moment. What has meaning for you to “un” do your dietary habits? Staying healthy to share life with your family and friends, enjoying physical activities, eating foods that connect you to Nature, minimizing trash, sharing your home cooked natural foods with others, or having energy to give back to your community. The possibilities go on.
When we find meaning in our diet we can be more like the seed that grows and blooms for the benefits of others. It unfolds effortlessly in the right conditions. When we get out of living for ourselves, life gives meaning back to us.
Eat well, be well.