Have you ever considered that, when we eat food, we are allowing it into our bodies to have numerous chemical reactions and to eventually form part of the cells in our bodies. The act of eating is really a process of welcoming food into our body. That food truly becomes part of our body. The food we choose to eat becomes part of our future selves.
Eating for taste
These days most people eat for taste and pleasure. I come across this all the time now because I’m trying to eat for the sake of the nutrients my body needs, not just the taste. I try to think that I’m welcoming food into my body that will help my body prosper. People laugh at me and ridicule me when I eat something that isn’t “normal” and they think doesn’t tastes good.
A good example is when I make a green smoothie (see My Daily, Raw, Green Smoothie) from mostly raw, organic, green products. Most people are conditioned to various tastes that are far from the tastes easily found in nature, being especially accustomed to refined sugar. When they taste my green smoothie, almost invariably I see a screwed up face and hear words along the lines of “how can you drink that?”, or “Ew! That tastes like grass!”. They think I’m crazy but, actually, I feel like I’m making the best food choices I’ve ever made in my life, and that makes me feel good. I feel like I’m welcoming food into my body that forms good building blocks for life.
In the documentary Fresh (I’m pretty sure it was in this one) there was a quote by a man running an organic farm, along these lines – “before someone eats something today it has to ‘taste good’, no, in fact, first it has to ‘look good’ “.
It’s almost like the sole purpose of eating is to satisfy our taste buds and our brains. But the food we allow into our bodies does a whole lot more than that. Eventually it becomes our body, it even becomes the taste buds and the brain.
Where does the food go?
Here’s a simple view of what happens to our food.
- We start by chewing it to break it into smaller pieces
- While we chew, saliva gets mixed in to help break it down more
- Hopefully we’ve chewed for long enough and the food is close to a liquid before we swallow
- Once it reaches the stomach, the stomach completes the process of liquidification using acids, etc.
- Now the food is ready to be absorbed into our bodies (up until now it’s been considered to be still outside our bodies)
- The liquid passes into the intestines and the intestinal wall screens it, acting like an Immigration Agent
- Only molecules of the liquid that appear to be safe and useful are allowed to pass through the intestinal wall and to be absorbed into the blood stream
- The blood caries these molecules all around our bodies
- Cells that need the benefit of these molecules will take them, perform the necessary chemical reactions and go on with the daily work of rebuilding cells, providing energy, fighting intruders, etc.
- Some of the waste products that result from chemical reactions are dumped back into the intestines for removal
So a lot of the food we eat becomes part of our body. We can’t point to where the food is after we’ve digested it. It gets sent out to all parts of the body and will hopefully be a good contributor to the daily work of maintaining, strengthening and growing our body.
Now, what would you like to eat? Something that tastes good? Or, something that will help your body build and progress? Hopefully we can find things that do both.
We are what we eat
The well worn phrase “We are what we eat” is a much deeper statement than it sounds. We literally are what we eat. The only components that could ever have been used to take us from birth to the bodies we have now are the substances we eat, drink and breathe in (plus the things that we rub into our skin – see Detoxification Through Natural Personal Care Products – Step 3). That’s what our body is today, some compound of all the things we’ve eaten, drunk and breathed in. We can’t be anything else.
Looking back – are we happy with the building blocks we’ve supplied to our bodies?
In the documentary “The Sacred Science” (I haven’t written a report on this one yet), there’s one part where a medicine man in the Amazon rainforest is talking about the approach to healing the very sick people who were taken there. He says something like this – “first we cleanse their bodies, remove impurities and flush them out, and then they can become more in touch with their spiritual selves”. I found this fascinating because I think it’s what’s happened to me. Detoxifying my body (not complete yet) has allowed me to get more in touch with my spiritual side, so it can be argued that the food we eat also has an effect on our spirituality. The act of welcoming food into our bodies might be important even beyond physical health considerations.
Eating just for taste can be very dangerous. Many, many “conventional” foods today have been heavily processed and have had toxic substances added to produce a certain taste or increase the shelf-life of the product. One perfect example of this is MSG (monosodium glutamate – see MSG and brain-damaging excitotoxins). In general, processing of food is dangerous for us.
A typical example occurred a couple of days ago. My family were eating some potato crisps. I have the (annoying?) habit of checking the ingredients. Apart from the normal bad things, I noticed at the end “artificial colouring”. If they didn’t have this artificial colouring, the crisps probably would look really bad. Maybe a bad grey colour. I’d bet nobody would eat them if they looked that way, but that’s the way they’d really look without the colouring. Ironically, the grey versions would be less bad for us because at least they don’t have the extra chemicals of the artificial colouring, but the general public would be much happier eating them with the colouring because they “look” better.
Something feels really wrong here.
Eating just for taste or looks can introduce toxins into our bodies that can easily build up and make us sick. Welcoming food into our bodies that provide just the nutrients we need to operate well, seems a better way to go. We have the opportunity to carefully consider the foods we allow into our body and give our bodies a huge advantage in their ability to remain healthy.
Taste isn’t bad
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that taste is a bad thing. Of course it isn’t. A few years ago, my favourite food was pizza and I ate lots of things with MSG and artificial chemicals. If someone had tried to give me a raw, green smoothie, I’d probably have said it tasted awful. Today that’s all reversed. I don’t much like the taste of pizza and I love raw, green smoothies.
Taste seems to be related to habits and it is something that can be acquired, and re-acquired.
It’s interesting to ask – What taste have you acquired?
Keeping in mind that eating is really a process of welcoming food into our bodies, to actually become part of our bodies, is a powerful way to prepare ourselves for making good food choices. It is definitely possible to find perfectly nutritious foods that taste perfectly wonderful and we can also reprogram our preferred tastes to make this whole process very enjoyable.
Welcoming food in to become part of us
I watched a documentary recently called “The Grounded” (again, I haven’t written a report about this just yet) where Dr. David Suzuki made some comments that inspired me. Essentially he described how the food we eat comes from the universe, it even uses the energy of the universe (like the sun’s rays) to grow and we consume it and it literally becomes part of our own bodies. Hence, it is actually impossible to separate the universe and ourselves. We are all intertwined. All inseparable. We literally are part of the universe.
Welcoming food into our bodies is a very important choice. It’s easy to make good choices and bad choices. If our child demands a sugary, soda drink because he or she has become accustomed to the sugary taste, or because all their friends are drinking it, or they like the advertising for it on TV, is that a good reason to give it to them? I think of it this way, if my car kept demanding sugary soda drinks instead of gasoline, I wouldn’t give in because I know the car would just stop working immediately. Unfortunately, with humans, it takes a lot longer before health problems start showing up.
Welcoming food into you body
I’ve written this article as a reminder to myself to make good food choices as often as I can. I struggle with this every day. I often find myself eating for emotional reasons (for example, see Why do I munch?). Hopefully, this article might also help inspire you to choose carefully as well, for the benefit of your body and your life.
Holding the thought of “welcoming food into my body” and inviting it to join my body and help it grow strong and add to my life, certainly seems to help me make good choices.
What do you think of the importance of food choices? What tricks do you employ to help make good decisions?
Related Links – Welcoming Food
- A call to make conscious food choices – http://mymindcoach.com.au/taste_or_nutrition/
- Ways to enjoy the tastes of foods – http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/balance-nutrition-and-taste
- A woman talking about welcoming food into her body as she tries to lose 100 pounds – http://hollycat50.wordpress.com/category/rapid-weight-loss/page/3/
- Information about Dr. David Suzuki – http://www.davidsuzuki.org/david/