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The Fit Fem Blog
Eating As Worship - Fit Fem Trainer, Emma Harris
“Would that you could live on the fragrance of the earth , and like the air plant be sustained by the light. But since you must kill to eat, and rob the newly born of it’s mothers milk to quench your thirst let it then be an act of worship.”-Kahlil Gibran
We have taken the worship out of our day-to-day experience with food. Food is life, and as a first world nation we somewhat take it for granted that if we are hungry we can always go and get food. It is always accessible to us, always around the corner, and always somewhat fitting to our cravings and desires. Life is always accessible, even as I write this I am sitting next to a bag of freshly cut and purchased lettuce, endives, radishes and beets. Life is abundant in America when it comes to food.
This mentality of sustenance never being something we yearn for but simply something we crave and then satiate, takes away the passion that drove previous cultures to create a divine experience with food. Food is defined as nourishment for the body. To nourish is to “provide with the food or other substance necessary for growth, health, and good condition” is very different than to “satisfy to the full” or to “supply with anything to excess” which is to satiate. We as Americans are most of the time in a state of craving and satiation rather than acknowledging need for nourishment and fulfilling that need.
How often do we stuff our faces full of food only to feel unsatisfied and still craving more? I bet most of us have that experience on a somewhat regular basis. The way to shift this practice into something new is to put the worship back in our food experience.
Create a divine space to have your meal; choose place settings or an actual place or setting that inspires you. Dress your dining room table with flowers, beautiful place mats, a table runner, candles.
Set aside a full hour to eat and to slowly consume your food. You would go to church or meditate or do yoga for a full hour and those practices aren’t necessary for your survival, so why allot less time to the practice of eating which is the sole practice next to breathing that sustains life?
Turn off cell phones, television, alarms, distracting sounds and create an ambiance of calm as you eat.
Choose foods at the grocery store that inspire you. Grab that vibrant green pepper, the multip-colored quinoa, the real chocolate cake, the organic coconut milk, the beautiful broccoli rabe. It is okay to remind yourself that the extra few dollars you spend here is the equivalent to tytheing at church or to paying a premium on your preventative care plan, you are tending to your holy temple; your body.
Make a meal that you are excited to eat, not just a meal that “hits the spot”. Choose to cook something that challenges the mind, engages your senses, calls for spices or fragrance, and allows you to be enveloped in the experience of cooking. Let yourself be wrapped up in the holiness of nourishment.
Consume your food with gusto and gratitude. We in the cities aren’t as close to the process that is farming, gardening and harvesting our crop before we eat. Therefore we are out of touch with the amount of labor and love that goes into creating the meal that sits on our table. Give thanks to the farmers, the packers, and laborers who brought you the experience that sits before you and consume knowing that eating with humility is an act of thanks to them.
Acknowledge the miracle that is food. One less rainstorm, one bad batch of crops, one shift in the environment and there is no pepper, or no corn, or no wheat and your craving has nothing to satiate it. We have become so used to whatever we want being easily accessible that we forget the amount of work that it takes to keep those items in circulation. We are blessed to eat, and if we act as such, we will feel truly nourished and full instead of filled to excess.
*For my non-cookers, choose foods while out and about or from a store that makes you feel joyous. Choose food consciously that get you excited about eating, take that food home or sit in a park and unwrap the food like it’s a present. Sit in a space that feels sacred or special to you and consume that food slowly and with purpose. Make the act of purchasing that food holy, the consumption holy, and the digestion a meditation of gratitude for the food you were able to walk into a store unwrap and eat.
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