We might not make the time to meditate each day, but everyone makes time to eat. If we look at eating as an opportunity for mindfulness, we can experience food as not only a way to nourish and love ourselves, but each meal can become a time for enhanced awareness, gratitude, and joy.
In order to be in alignment with our best selves we must be fully aware of each and every one of our actions. This includes keeping our hearts and minds open, and treating all beings with love, compassion, and kindness (this includes ourselves)
Whether you are a vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, or paleo, the most important thing is to feel good about what we are eating. Feeling good about what we eat often makes more of a difference than what we are eating. By being mindful, we can savor each bite, listen to our body when it tells us we’ve had enough, and notice how we feel after we eat certain foods (noticing which foods agree with our bodies more than others).
Conscious eating means to be mindful of each and every thing you put into your body. This is the only body we have in this life, and should be considered our sacred temple. Additionally, how we treat ourselves is often translated into how we treat others.
Part of feeling good about what we eat is being informed. The agricultural and farming industry as a whole is a huge public health threat. Approximately 80% of all antibiotics used in the US are fed to farm animals for non-therapeutic purposes. Water pollution is a also a huge problem, since the waste from millions of animals that are fed antibiotics and growth hormones seeps into the ground.
By paying close attention to where our food comes from, we are telling the agricultural industry that we, as mindful consumers, will not tolerate further inhumanity nor contamination of our food.
Today, most farm animals in the US are raised in total confinement in huge factories. Many never see the light of day. When we eat an animal that has been raised and/or slaughtered in this environment, we are putting something into our bodies that has lived a life of suffering, and not only is this energy in the meat, but the animals release stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, and steroids which stimulate fear pheromone production) and we are ingesting these as well.
How can we expect to ingest stress hormones, growth hormones, and antibiotics, and not feel the negative effects in our own bodies?
When we buy food from the grocery store without investigating its source, we are likely eating a product that has been sprayed with or fed insecticides, pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones. Going to your local farmer’s market may take more time, but by talking to the farmer and asking if their products are organic, you are not only supporting your own community, you are supporting yourself in a kind and loving way.
Forgoing meat is not for everyone, and this is an individual choice that each person needs to make for themselves. It is possible to eat eggs that have come from chickens raised humanely, meat from animals that have lived stress-free and been slaughtered in a way that is humane. In New Orleans, Cleaver & Co http://cleaverand.co/index.php is a meat market that ensures animals are raised in an ethical and sustainable manner.
Many people have the misconception that it is impossible to get enough protein without eating meat. To obtain complete proteins, you can eat quinoa, buckwheat, soy, chickpeas, lentils, Ezekiel Bread, seitan, hemp seed, and chia. When you combine legumes or peanuts with grains such as wheat, rice, or corn, a complete protein is born. For example, rice is low lysine and high in methionine and beans are just the opposite, so together rice and beans make a complete protein.
Every time you put something into your body, ask yourself, “Is this in alignment with how I want to live?” “Am I hurting anyone or anything by my action?” Feeling good about what you put into your body will make a huge difference in how you feel both physically and mentally. But the main thing is to just be informed.
"Food reveals our connection with the earth." -Thich Nhat Hanh
I write about human behavior, meditation, body awareness, and a variety of other things that pique my interest.