For me, the last decade has been all about an ever-deepening practice of letting food become love. To be really clear, I don’t mean “using” food as a substitute for love, or, say, only eating mint chocolate ice cream ‘cause you love it so much. Instead, I mean savoring every bite and letting each bite be a love-song. This Zen Buddhist saying sums it up best:
“In this food I see clearly the presence of the entire universe supporting my existence.”
We go through so many layers. I went through a whole gob of years in school where I was fixated on the numbers and was all about the nutrients in food. While there’s something to that, it’s also not terribly nurturing. Then was figuring out how to find food that loved me back, and figuring out which ones weren’t really my friend. Yes, gluten, I’m talking to you. Next it was finding ways of eating so that I felt better after eating than before. It was pretty easy for me to focus on the external stuff, like finding organic foods, growing my own goodies, or putting my attention on food that looked beautiful and photographed well. That’s all well and good, of course, but it’s also incomplete.
We have a whole list of “should”. We should eat lots of veggies, buy organic, seek out BPA free and whatever else. But once you have those gorgeous and nutritionally dense foods, do you savor them and let them nourish you? It’s easy to skip that part.
It’s a process of moving more deeply inward. It’s being conscious of food as nourishment as often as I can remember when I eat, and being gentle when I inevitably forget. It’s eating with the intention to fulfill my physical needs, and having the sense of really “taking in” beauty: the sights, the smells, and the textures, too. For me, the “taking in” step just wasn’t my habit. It was the absolute opposite of wolfing things down on my way to where ever, and it’s been such a beautiful practice.It’s *really* hard to overeat when food is a love letter to myself. It’s also nearly impossible to eat foods that won’t help me feel marvelous.
So, in the words of my favorite poet, “There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground” ~Rumi.
It’s kinda cool when eating is one.
I’ve been g-free about eight years and blogging for more than five. I blog recipes and my life musings on www.gfgoodness.com and on (usually gluten-free) nerdy nutrition stuff on www.harriswholehealth.com. Find me @CherylharrisRD and http://www.facebook.com/gfgoodness.
[Jonathan shout-out from across the ocean: Please do!!!]