Food, Nourishment, and the Healing Journey, Part 3

Principle 3 | Nourishing ourselves well is a profound act of love and self-care that supports emotional healing. Both the how and the what matter when it comes to food. How we think about the foods that we choose, how we prepare our meals, and how we consume our meals can either be a profound act of self-care or a reinforcement of our sense of unworthiness. Compare these two examples. First, imagine powering through the work day, waiting too long between meals, and rushing through a fast-food drive through only to scarf down a greasy meal on your way to the next obligation in your schedule. How does your body feel? How is your breathing? How much enjoyment did your senses gain in the few minutes between the drive through window and the next stoplight? How much emotional connection did that meal provide for you and your loved ones? What needs to happen in arranging your life space so that you can care for yourself more optimally? What impact is “busyness” having on your heart?
Imagine now a different scenario. Imagine exploring the produce section of your local supermarket or farmer’s market — eyeing the bounty — taking in all of the various colors and smells. Imagine inviting your small child, who is alongside you, to choose items that appeal to her senses. Does she like green apples or red? Which berries look the most ripe and delectable? Imagine your gut and senses guiding you both as you choose fresh, whole foods that capture your attention in that moment. Then imagine unloading your carefully selected treasures in your kitchen, a space that bears your personal touch— hand towels in colors or designs that you love, cookware and utensils that feel good to your grip, personalized photos that remind you of loved ones, inspirational fridge quotes that speak to your heart. Imagine taking time to wash, slice, and prepare your vegetables for dinner as your belly growls in anticipation. Imagine breathing through your hunger as you take your time in this act of meal preparation—this ritual of creativity.
Even the smallest acts of self-love and self-care have therapeutic potential!

yogurt on beach

The simple movement of slicing a red pepper can be therapeutic as you imagine the nutrients that you are about to offer your body. In awakening your senses to the process, you are preparing your body to receive goodness. This is a loving act. This is a sacred act. Mindfully preparing nutrient-rich food, slowing down to take in the textures, flavors, and temperatures of your meal, breathing between bites, and savoring the process—all of these things bathe your brain and nervous system in soothing chemicals. When you mindfully engage in the process, you reinforce the idea that your body is worthy of honor and loving-kindness. It is a supreme act of honor, gentleness, and compassion when we give our bodies what they need. Loving the world begins with loving ourselves.

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