Enjoying a chomp are we? If so, I encourage you to partake in the coming exercise. If not, another time will do. Sit down with your food before you, and take a deep relaxing breath. Hold a bite up and smell it. Let yourself salivate for it. Close your eyes, and visualize where that bite came from. What’s in it? Who nourished the soil that your plant food called home? Who made sure there was grass for the cows to eat? Who gathered the crop or butchered the animal? Who brought it to the store or farmers market where you laid your claim? Who prepared the plate you have now? Thank each of these people for their good intention. Thank God.
In my class for nutritional therapy last spring, a speaker on food and spirituality led us through a similar thought process. I was raised to pray over my food, and for the first time, I understood why. Stopping to think about the life of my food and the intentions of those involved in getting it to me, so I can nourish my body accordingly, provoked a great revelation! I finally felt truly thankful for my food. I also had a good sense of conviction considering the snack in my lap was a too sweet coconut yogurt from who knows where. There were countless people and machines involved in the production of my little delight. I didn’t know who to thank, and doubted that their intentions had anything to do with the well being of the food or the consumer. Have you ever thought about this before? A farmer who has chosen to go out of their way and farm organically and sustainably likely understands and cares about the nutritional value of the food produced. A farmer, whose crop will be sold to a large corporation, has no choice but to care mostly about mass production. The documentaries, Food Inc. and King Corn are excellent sources to learn more about conventionally produced food sources. I challenge you to educate yourself on where your food comes from. Allow your habits to be changed so that you can be at peace with your food as it enters your body.
You must be in a parasympathetic state to digest your food. I remember learning this in middle school science class, so chances are you’ve heard it as well. I imagine that you too, passed it off as another silly fact we had to remember to pass a quiz. It had no real meaning to me, just empty words. Well, I am happy to announce that I now understand the importance of the parasympathetic state in the digestive process. Remember learning about adrenaline and fight or flight mode? It stuck out to me, it sounds fun right? I’m a recovering adrenaline junky. A stint without insurance put a damper on my wild side. Anyway, when your body is in fight or flight mode things like digestion are put on the backburner, while survival becomes top priority. In caveman days, this selective energy was more helpful than modern humans have found it to be. Largely, due to the unfortunate truth that most Americans live in a constant state of adrenal stimulation. Eating on the go has become normal, and necessary, for the accomplishment of daily tasks. Our lives have become so crowded that we don’t have time to truly enjoy our meals. How sad! One of my favorite verses in the Bible is, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). You don’t have to share my faith to understand what this means. Stop and relax; you can’t do it all. How many of us are out in the world trying to accomplish everything? Full time school, full time work, full time relationships, exercising, and finally, squeezing in feedings. How often do you get a chance to just, be still? Almost never right? Or, maybe just before you fall asleep?
If this sounds too familiar, I encourage you to make a very strong effort to take more time for yourself to be still. If at no other time, stop and enjoy your meals. I’ll be sharing more on the importance of high quality food in the near future. For now though, try building an atmosphere at meal times that allows relaxation for proper digestion.
Thanks for reading. Make good choices. :)