by Mariel Hemingway
Our food choices are something we need to look at as part of our spiritual journey. Eating is ritual and food is the most pure form of energy. If you think of food as a spiritual energy source that is not only feeding your body but your soul, then you have a different resonance with food and it becomes your healing, your joy, your pleasure instead of a way that you anesthetize yourself and run away from your feelings.
Learn about who you really are by connecting with your meals in a sensual and personal way. This is how I look at food now, and the result is that I am beginning to find a softness in myself by having a relaxation with my food. For me, it is no longer just nutrition. My problem in the past was putting too much emphasis on the benefits of eating well and never on the joy and pleasure. Many have to make healthier choices and not eat more junk, but no matter what your personal relationship is with food, if you begin to get soft, quiet, and respectful of it you actually begin to experience food in a more beautiful way. Enjoying and experiencing what you eat by eating the least processed and most simple food will change your relationship with food, and you’ll listen to your body and your body will listen to you.
Eating well takes planning, and often it seems like just another thing that is going to make your life more complicated. But I think one reason our lives are so stressed and difficult is because we have given up the very ritual of meals that has in the past given us solace and peace. Making a family or solitary meal, taking time to sit down for breakfast before we run out the door … this is what makes a person aware of what is happening in their life. These are rituals that keep us connected to the world and ourselves. The majority of our population is losing track of this most important part of life. I am on a mission to bring back the desire to sit down and engage with the ones we love doing something we love to do—eat.
Eat well by eating real food—that is the goal. I truly believe that whether you are suffering from being overweight, overstimulated, or overstressed, bringing yourself back to what is a constant like the custom of preparation of food will be the very thing that gets you to a great place of balance. You will be healthier by making time for your family meals. Slowing your life down in a conscious way gives you time. It sounds contradictory, but actually it is absolutely what you want to do with your life. Plan your life so that you can prepare something real that you yourself have chosen from the market and sit down with it quietly or be with someone, and enjoy the taste of your food. It is so simple and yet we absolutely do not do it. When you shovel and run with food, especially bad food, it goes into your body without purpose. The body thinks you are in a panic and it stores the food, usually as fat, because shoveled food tends to be sugary food.
We have the power within ourselves to create an environment of healing with food. Anything that I write about is to inspire you to be the best and most healthy person for YOU. This is what I have done through my own experience. Through a lifetime of dieting, starving, or trying to be like others, I was trying to survive. It served me in the past but it serves me no longer.
I know life is hectic and there are times when you can’t get a cold piece of chicken and some nuts and a piece of fruit in a bag like you do for your kids. So you are on the run and you are hungry at your lunch break and you have less than an hour to find food … so what do you do? Do some research in your area and find out where there is a great market that has a salad bar, buy some fresh slices of deli meat that has the least amount of weird flavoring and looks most like the animal it came from, buy some raw nuts or seeds, or even get a sandwich on whole-grain bread for a change.
Don’t think I don’t understand that there are days when your pal says, “Let’s go to Carl’s Jr.” and you can’t say no and you know it will be fast. If you do it occasionally it’s not so bad. But making fast food a staple of your regular diet is something you may want to reconsider. Let’s say you do have a hamburger—why not get one without a bun and have a salad with it and use mustard instead of a sugar-filled dressing? You also may have a few fries and that is fine too, but this time, share your fries with your friend and choose mustard for the dipping instead of ketchup.
The truth is, you know what to do to eat well—there is just too much info around not to know. Consider that when you eat anything, what you put into your body has a strong effect on your system, much the way that taking an aspirin or Advil or another over-the-counter drug has on your body. Everything we ingest has the ability to heal or hinder our health. You may not recognize it at first, but eventually the detrimental effects of poor food choices take their toll on your body, your energy, and your ability to be a spouse, a parent, a friend, and a worker.
Actress Mariel Hemingway is the author of Healthy Living From the Inside Out and a spokesperson for Healthy Curb supplements.