WAKING UP YOUR FOOD AWARENESS
Shop consciously. Choose healthy foods that will nourish and sustain your body. Buy fresh produce. Avoid ingesting chemical fertilizers and pesticides by purchasing organically grown products, which are also generally grown more consciously. Consider a vegetarian diet; most animals, in addition to being potentially diseased, are raised on antibiotics and artificial growth hormones, which are passed on to unwitting human consumers of meat. As well, I believe meat products are filled with animal adrenaline, produced by the animal’s profound fear at the point of its killing. Mad cow disease was a gift to the spiritualization of the English diet. Do be aware though, that not everyone can tolerate a vegetarian diet as some people cannot digest pulses or soy. The key thing, if you do eat animal proteins, is to choose organic, as far as possible. Avoid the regular use of sugar and caffeine: these hollow energy sources take your body on a roller-coaster ride of artificially induced highs and crashing lows. Experiment with reduced wheat or wheat-free diet in order to feel lighter and more energized.
Get to know your farmer. Today, many communities have farmers’ markets and many in my country have community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs where people come together and support local organic farmers by purchasing a share of the farmer’s crop in advance and receiving a weekly box of fresh produce in return. A personal relationship with your farmer gives each bite you take more context. Even better—grow your own!
Prepare your own meals. Allow cooking to become a ritual of nourishment. Imbue your food with your intentional consciousness by washing it, cutting it, and preparing it carefully and beautifully with mindfulness. I believe lovingly and intentionally prepared food contains some of the life-force (chi) of its preparer; this is the profound gift of a fully conscious chef. Factory-made foods and fast foods are prepared by machines and doused with preservatives; be aware that the primary intent in their production is profit for the manufacturers’ stockholders, not loving nourishment for you.
Set your table beautifully. The ritual of setting flowers, candles, attractive dishes, and cutlery and cloth napkins will awaken the intentional consciousness that turns eating into dining.