Fueling Your Feelings With Food
Have you been feeling tense or anxious lately and not just because our current state of "staying at home" but in general? Would you rather feel connected and harmonious? Well you can! Your food has a lot to say about how you will feel.
Sugar, caffeine and alcohol will fuel tension while eating whole, organic foods are your best options for feeling connected. Why is that? All foods have distinct energy and characteristic properties that either make us healthy, balance and nourish our bodies, or create imbalances that result in sickness. This is food energetics. Knowledge of food energetics can help one build a stronger sense of health and well-being by eating different foods that impose different effects. Like the saying goes, "you are what you eat."
Consider that each food has its own unique energy beyond macronutrients, vitamins and minerals. Take a moment to focus on the quality of the food and how we would like to feel. When we eat food, we assimilate qualities and energetic properties depending on where, when and how it is grown as well as how it is prepared.
Eating from your own garden or buying produce from local farmers will leave you feeling more connected to your home or local community. When you eat seasonally and locally, the body is more in touch with the natural order of things and able to maintain balance from the inside out. Vegetables have a lighter energy than protein. Meat from a factory has a different energy than meat from a grass fed animal that lived a peaceful existence.
If you practice yoga you have heard about the word prana, a Sanskrit word that means energy. This word is used to describe the vital life-force that exists around us and inside of us. Energy comes from the universe, from air, and from food. Yogis believe that certain foods, such as fresh produce, have greater amounts of energy that foods that have been heavily processed or that have been reused a day or two later. It makes sense that when you eat foods with more energy, you will have more energy.
This is one of my favorite concepts so listen up and learn, it will help you! Plants sprout from a seed, some animals are hatched from eggs, while others are birthed by their mothers and nurtured from infancy. Regarding plant food, consider where and in what direction it grows. Greens, such as kale, collards, and bok choy reach up to the sun, soaking up the chlorophyll. Eating foods that are rich in chlorophyll provides our blood with oxygen. For this reason, greens are powerful mood enhancers, lifting the spirit. Squash and gourds grow level to the ground and help balance moods and energy levels. Root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, beets and burdock, grow into the ground and absorb the nutrients in the soul in which they grow. Therefore, they have a strong downward energy and are great for grounding us when we feel overstimulated.
Another food energetic tip to promote health is cooking and eating mindfully - slowing the pace of your meals and eating in a relaxed setting. We absorb more of the nutrients from our food when we are mindful in our meals.
Here is a list to help guide you with the food and mood connection:
For Grounded and Relaxed Energy - eat root vegetables, sweet vegetables, meat, fish and bean. Preparation can be stewing, pressure cooking or baking.
For Light, Creative and Flexible Energy - eat leafy greens, wheat, barley, quinoa, fruit, raw foods, chocolate. Preparation can be boiling, steaming or gas stove cooking.
To Feel Connected and Harmonious - eat organic foods, whole foods, local foods, brown rice. Preparation can be home cooking or home gardened foods.
As you increase your awareness about the foods your consume, you will also be able to recognize in contrast to the vegetables of how you would feel by eating something like a donut. What kind of energy do you imagine you get from this donut? How would it differ from the energy you would get from eating roasted root vegetables? As you cultivate awareness around the energy of your food, and how it is passed onto you, you will begin to make greater strides in recognizing your own mind-body connection.
~Taken from Integrative Nutrition by Joshua Rosenthal and the Energetics of Food Handout