There has been a lot written about so-called “emotional eating.” In truth we eat for so many reasons. We eat from hunger. We eat for fun and entertainment. We eat to socialize and bond. We eat to distract ourselves or numb our senses. We consume things to feel strong, to feel safe. Food can seemingly replace rest, sex, or love. Food is comfort, pleasure, worship. We give food as gifts, think of food as a treat. We placate with food. We bribe, we barter. We hoard, deny, control. We have childhood foods and cultural ones . . .
Ideally, some of this myriad food behavior coincides with fueling the cells of our body with the amount and kind for optimum function. Which leads us right to the plethora of contradictory information available about what exactly are the “right” foods and in what proportions we should be eating them. In fact there are foods that better serve our health, in general. And even more, there are foods that feed our individual needs better than others. This quote sums up what years of research have proven:
“What matters more is not how much you eat, but what you eat.”
- Paresh Dandona, Oxford University
What I would like to add, though, is that it’s not just what you eat or how much but HOW. Eat to nourish yourself so that you can be calm. Eat to feel inspired. Eat to be strong, to have energy. Eat to show up. Eat to give. Eat to create. Eat to join your community—to be a part of the world, not against it. Eat to make things better. Eat to love yourself more. Eat to be a better person for others. Eat to be a gentler driver and a kinder co-worker. Eat to make the world a better place to live. This is eating as a form of radical devotion. Eating as availability to the unknown. Eating as humility vs escapism. Eating to wake up rather than anesthetize. Eating as adoration vs punishment. Eating as meditation, as worship, as holiness. Savor your food. Be conscious. Recognize the sacred exchange—chew with your eyes open, swallow with gratitude, then sit in the afterglow of satiation and intimacy. Eat for Love.