This Food Practice is an excerpt from the list of practices shared in the book Spring, Cultivate Life, an installment in the Food Practice Through The Seasons series. Each season contains a practice for each week of the season. 13 total. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
In my early 20s I began to explore ritual and feminine spirituality with a group in Los Angeles. In so many ways, getting involved with this powerful group of wise women changed my life forever, and it’s something I have continuous gratitude for to this day. One of the things that began to shift for me during this time and beyond was the way I understood and interacted with Intention.
The other aspect of my life that shifted profoundly was the way I looked at the food I ingested and how it not only reflected my own personal sense of self worth, but how food was medicine and a building block for keeping me alive. Later on, I’d also come to see food as a building block to help me thrive.
It seems like such an obvious thing, no? Most of us have heard these things before; that food is medicine, or that we are what we eat, meaning that food makes us.
But in my life, up until that point I hadn’t thought about it, nor had I been taught to look at food that way. The food culture of my family home growing up, didn’t really place a lot of stock in thinking about food or how it shaped our lives. It was just something we did to live, and because at home, my mother made Cuban dishes, there really wasn’t much talk about good versus bad or healthy versus unhealthy. In fact, we only really talked about food when it had to do with losing weight and dieting, which revolved around deprivation, not different choices in food.
The Marriage Of Food And Intention
Food keeps us alive. All of life works this way. Our bodies need fuel to keep going, and plants very wonderfully take the energy of the sun, mix it with mineral and nutrients from the soil and the air and give us a gorgeous array of food to feed ourselves with.
The intention of food therefore is implicit. We don’t necessarily have to think about it, it just happens.
But we know there are varying degrees to how effective this process is. Eat too much of one thing and not enough of another and your body will stop functioning at an optimal capacity.
The same goes for eating too much processed food, because the naturally occurring food has been taken, broken down, mixed with other things that may or may not have anything to do with food and feeding us at all. Often then, what we are left with is bulk, but no real nutritional value.
It can be complicated to stay healthy and eat well in a world where food and it’s very straightforward intention is disturbed, denatured and removed for it’s natural place of intention in our lives.
Letting Simplicity Guide You
Remember what food is. It’s life energy. And beautifully, it comes to us in so many varied forms with colors and flavors and textures. Life expresses itself in so many ways, but it’s also quite simple. An edible food is what it’s meant to be. A tomato is a perfectly expressed tomato (barring any human tampering with its DNA or with external contaminants).
If we keep our diets to real foods and nothing that has been processed and denatured, we have already shifted how we feed ourselves to an elevated place of value.
You don’t have to think about it much more beyond that. However, by choosing to eat real whole foods and not processed food substitutions, you are doing a few things:
- You’ve set an intention to eat real food
- Elevated the value you place on yourself by choosing to give yourself the best expression of life available
- Created a situation by which food will actually nourish you and elevate your health.
This more than anything shifts your relationship to your body, your environment and the food you invest in to feed yourself and your family.
If you do nothing else with this practice or your relationship with food, this above all things brings you back into closer alignment with high self care and health.
But There’s More
Going further, however, also includes learning food, understanding how it feeds different aspects of your health, seeing it as both cultivator of our life and medicine to right the imbalances that can make us ill.
There are deeper levels to explore here over a lifetime and it’s here that this practice develops.
Intention is the driving force that adds meaning and power to the impact that food has on your life and on your health.
The Power Of Intention
It might sound obvious, but by choosing the direction and meaning of the experience you are wanting to have, you literally point yourself in that direction.
So often we engage in daily activities out of habit and autopilot that we aren’t even registering the type of experience we are having. Not only are you lacking aim, but you’re not experiencing the fullness of the moment either.
The beauty about setting intention is that it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. It can be as simple and lovely as ‘I will receive fully the pleasure of this meal’ or ‘This meal will nourish us all this evening, mind, body and soul’ or one I use often, ‘May this meal hold the vibration of love for each person at the table.’
I say this over and over again because it’s so simple that it’s easy to overlook or miss the potency of it.
Just the act of making a decision about the experience you are choosing to create (setting intention) shifts your entire perception of the event, giving you a very different experience than you would have had before.
That is the power of intention. You are literally taking active participation in creating the experience you are choosing to have. The moment deepens in value and impact, giving you a fuller taste of what life is offering you in that moment because you joined with life to co create it. It’s seriously holy stuff.
It’s easy then to see the possibilities here. Yes, set intentions for eating real food or choosing to give yourself better quality food, but there is so much more you could intend! It can be about the types of social interactions you have while eating to the healing of a certain ailment with specific foods.
You can go in different directions with this one depending on where you are with the connection between food, health and the intention you have set for yourself when it comes to eating food. This week is as much about asking yourself how the food you eat and your health are connected as it is about making choices regarding what it is you want to cultivate and have from your relationship to food in all it’s aspects.
Take time each day to:
- Ask yourself what it is you want out of your relationship with food.
- Then decide what intention you are going to have for the food, meals and experiences you want to have around the dinner table that day.
- Write those down. Play with them. See how if at all it changes your eating and sharing experience.