When it comes to dating, we're rather fussy. We have long lists of acceptable and unacceptable qualities, desirable and off-putting traits. It is only when we meet someone who qualifies, do we allow our walls to crumble, build intimacy and explore the possibility of a long-term relationship.
Food, on the other hand, seldom gets scrutinized to that degree. It enters our body everyday and yet we often marginalize its role in keeping us upbeat, vibrant, healthy and creative. When it comes to intimate relationships, food is, in my opinion, right on top. Here's why:
The food we eat is not just the sum of its parts (proteins, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants) but an energetic whole with very specific energies that we internalize when we consume it. In Ayurveda this life-energy is called prana.
Some foods bring a feeling of lightness, creativity and flexibility while some others help us stay grounded and rooted. Our need for different food-energies varies with the seasons as well. We crave grounding, warming foods (it is time to hibernate after all) in the wintertime and desire lighter, cooler foods in the summer. Someone suffering from a cold in wintertime is likely to benefit from a hot chicken soup to balance the energies of the season and ailment.
Similarly, eating animal protein from factory farms is likely to create feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety because animals experience these emotions while being raised in inhumane conditions. Packaged and processed foods that have been sitting on shelves for months and years, are not likely to give us a sense of vitality or freshness. Consuming them, in fact, might make us feel lethargic or dull. On the other hand, when we grow our own food, participate in community gardens or buy locally, we're likely to feel a greater sense of community and connectedness.
Both Chinese medicine and Ayurveda emphasize the importance of eating seasonal and balanced foods for optimum health, vitality and longevity. Hearty, heavy foods combined with light ones to create focus and flexibility at the same time. This balance goes a long way in maintaining emotional and physical health.
Grounded, relaxed qualities are typically found in root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beetroot, or sweet vegetables like onions and carrots. These vegetables grow close to or under the earth and thus extend that quality of earthiness in us. Other sources of grounding foods are meat, fish and most beans.
Light, creative energies are found in leafy greens like kale, chards. Most grains, legumes and fruit also bring about this sense of lightness. Most of these foods grow higher up, almost reaching for the skies.
What about foods that create feelings of anxiety and stress? Factory farmed animal meats, coffee, sugar and alcohol top the list. While most of these foods perk us up temporarily, they play havoc with the internal equilibrium and blood sugar levels of the body, causing a lot of damage in the long run.
And excellent resource on the subject is a book called Food Energetics: The Spiritual, Emotional, And Nutritional Power Of What We Eat by Steve Gagné
So next time you go grocery shopping, ask how each food will nourish your body and mind. Does your shopping basket have a healthy balance of grounding and light foods? Also note down how you feel a few hours after eating that food. After all, don't you spend time analyzing your date? How it made you feel and whether you are ready for the next one? Was it invigorating or draining? Fun or boring?
Apply the same logic to your food and you'll be surprised to find a faithful partner in your body.
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