Over the past few months I have been carving new pathways in my brain and attempted to incorporate new habits and rituals to my daily life. Change can sometimes be hard. We often cling to the familiar even when it is harmful or no longer serving us, we still resist. I’ve come to realize that the process of letting go, from habits to things we identify ourselves with, can be liberating and challenging at the same time. I recently met an Ayurveic healer in Ojai who has taken my Compassionate Eating and food medicine studies to a new level. The art of healing through nutrition, herbs and spices is nothing new but it may seem like a strange concept in our modern world. I have become more aware of listening to my body and feeling the affects of certain foods after consuming them. Also learning about different doshas or body types and the foods that are best for them has been a very interesting journey.
The concept of Compassionate Eating has always had its roots in mindful, conscious consumption. To eat in a way that does the least harm, to the environment, to animals and to ones own health. Over the years it has expanded to bring in a more spiritual aspect as well. I have found the simple act of expressing gratitude at mealtime before chowing down helps me to be more present. It can be something that is easily overlooked in our rushed lives with busy schedules, technological distractions and limited time to prepare wholesome meals. But by taking these simple steps I have found more joy in my daily life. When sitting down to a meal, turn off distractions, television, phones maybe put on some relaxing music and try not to discuss upsetting topics that stir up feelings of fear or anger. Take a moment to be with your food and think of all the people and natural processes that made the miracle on your plate possible, from the people who grew it, harvested it, drove it to market, checked it and bagged it for you at the store and the person who prepared it for you. Think of the natural Earth systems, the precious soil, the sun, the water and the wonderful gift that you have food to eat when so many do not.
Another new concept for me is to try and eat more slowly and to chew my food well. It seems silly but it is an integral part healthy eating and can help ease digestive issues. I have been guilty of inhaling my food at times, often waiting too long between meals only to eat too quickly which results in indigesition from not chewing my food well enough or from eating to much. I have traced part of this habit to my years as a disgruntled, rebellious teen who wanted to leave the dinner table as soon as possible; but it’s easy to forget the gratitude for food when we are eating on the run, while driving (the worst) or in a rush. We end up paying a price for convenience with our health and our lost connection to nature and each other. I urge you dear readers to take a moment next time you sit down to a meal, think of all the things that had to happen for it to be there on the plate, from seeds sprouting to rain falling from the sky and take your time to really enjoy it. We really can help heal ourselves and the world with every bite we take.
For more info on whole food nutrition and ayurvedic healing visit
Natural Healing Consultants of Ojai at www.naturalhealingojai.com