As I was working on my first assignment for school, I came across a paragraph in Recipes for Self-Healing about our relationship to food. It really stuck out to me and I wanted to share it with you and perhaps hear some of your thoughts.
A relationship with food is central to our lives. It is one of the major ways that we relate to our environment: by eating it, by converting it into us, by the process of transformation. How we eat is a measure of our relationship to nature and in that relationship is mirrored the patterns of all our relating If, for example, scarcity rules our eating, then scarcity probably also rules our relationships with other beings. If greed rules, or disrespect, then this too is likely to be mirrored in all relationships. Ultimately, in a relationship with food, there is mirrored a relationship with self. An exploration of this relationship can be an uncomfortable but growthful journey. – David Leggett, Recipes for Self-Healing
For such a small paragraph, a lot of things came up for me. I think of how I used to eat in my early to mid-twenties and it was so healthy and clean and low-fat that I ate more for ‘health’ and vanity’s sake than I ever did for the pure and simple fact that food tasted good. Everyone is different in their approach to food. I know for some, the thought of eating an animal is unethical and for others eating meat is a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation. Some folks skip meals, others rely on fast food to get them through the day and others eat food religiously — counting every calorie. There are people who don’t think about food at all, it is a passive act really, and for others, it is all they can do not to think about food during their day.
In the West our relationship with food generally is not based on nutritional needs. Rather, it is based on emotional needs. We eat to feel good, to fill a hole, to distract ourselves, to fulfil a craving and addiction. Choice of food is often dictated by the stimulation of the shopping environment and by the manipulation of advertising, and of course budget. And in a world of overwhelming information, and misinformation, it is easy to be pulled away from our own body wisdom. – David Leggett, Recipes for Self-Healing
Relationship to food on the surface seems trivial, but in a country where obesity is on the rise it becomes more complex. It becomes complex because it is in this relationship that we uncover so much about ourselves: self-acceptance, self-loathing, self-care, and whether or not we will live trapped inside our bodies or set free.
Think about your own relationship with food. Is it nourishing, void of nutrients, pleasurable, addicting (whether obsessing over every calorie to stay thin or overeating to fill a space within), eaten too fast or just right, eaten with love or resentment? What I have learned from my own cancer and food journey is that our relationship with food can completely change every aspect of our lives, for better or worse.
Food for thought.
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