“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Virginia Woolf
We have lost touch with our relationship to food. With at least three opportunities every day to practice receiving the transfer of energy from our meals to our cells, eating has become a source of confusion and conflict, rather than a delightful pleasure. The lack of respect and abuse of food is one of the reasons why our health, as a culture, is rapidly declining. For some of us, the concept of doing anything except ordering in or going out seems like too much work. Our lives are too busy to slow down and prepare a home-cooked meal. Having a food love affair means having a deep, meaningful, respectful, and loving relationship to the food we put in our bodies.
In cultures throughout history, hunting, gathering, raising, and preparing foods was an honored and respected daily ritual. People were in tune with the abundance of each season and the different foods the earth provided throughout the year. Modern living has taken away the need of our attention to this. If you are looking for love, practice these principles with your food first. You have to create a love affair with food to attract the respect of your body and have success with health and weight management. To heal the obsession of dieting and calorie counting, you are going to treat food as your new lover, with whom you see the potential for a committed relationship. Rather than making food the enemy, you want to fall in love with food.
When you meet a man who interests you, the curiosity can be overwhelming. You want to know so many things: Who he is? Where he is from? What does he do for a living? How was he raised?
Passion and excitement surround the quest for knowledge about this new person. It is an important step in finding the right partner. I want you to take a similar heightened interest in what you eat. Every day you fill your body with ingredients that make a huge impact on your health, state of mind, emotional well-being, and size of your waist. Take a look inside your refrigerator and kitchen cupboards and ask these questions: How did this get made? How does it affect my body? Where did it come from? Start to be more curious about seeking knowledge of the most vital relationship you already have—your diet. We take for granted what we consume everyday and how it impacts our lives. We are missing the spiritual connection to food.
Imagine you are looking at a red pepper. How does it affect your body? How was it grown? Did the farmers use pesticides on the plants? Was it just picked, or has it been sitting in a grocery store for a few weeks after being shipped from a warehouse? What’s the difference? I chose the red pepper because my husband and I have just started growing our own vegetables, and we have green and red bell peppers. Prior to planting a garden, we were regularly shopping at the local farmer’s market. At the last minute while preparing brunch for guests, I had the direct experience of comparing the shelf life of farm fresh veggies over the grocery store bought version. The store bought celery started to turn brown after two days, while the farmer’s market celery lasted for over two weeks. This confirmed my choice to go directly to the farmers to get my produce as often as possible.
The red bell pepper has many nutrients you want to know about. Studies have shown that red bell peppers have significantly higher levels of nutrients than green. Red bell peppers contain lycopene, which helps to protect against cancer and heart disease. They area good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, beta carotene, and folic acid. Peppers contain a large amount of phytochemicals that act as antioxidants to protect against cataracts, blood clot formation, and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Sounds good, yes? Can you get more excited about eating a red bell pepper and all the wonderful things it can help your body do? If you find yourself more interested in the red pepper, this is good news. You are creating a love affair with food.
Once you have decided to commit to changing your relationship with food, there are some adjustments you can make in your life. In a relationship with a person, you might decide to move in together and combine your belongings. You may open a bank account or add each other to your life insurance policies. By making a decision to engage more vegetables, you can plant a garden, make regular visits to the local farmer’s market, or get home-delivered vegetables from the farm where available. When we moved into our house, my husband and I decided that we would plant a garden. Our love affair with vegetables took on a whole new level because we helped to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, give them water, and witnessed the vegetables grow. We gave it our energy, excitement, and nourished it with love. How exciting it was to be able to go out to the yard, pick the pepper to wash, clean, cut, and use in a meal with friends! My husband mentioned how nice of anexperience it was to be able to pick the tomatoes off the vine for our dinner salads. Because we have a small yard, we purchased a composting box so we could contribute to creating more nutrient-dense soil for our vegetables. These are some examples of engaging your food and preparing for a lifetime together.
When you say “I do,” you commit yourself to a lifetime with another person. In this lifetime, you may experience a series of highs and lows and everything in between. All relationships take work, and the one you have with your food is no different. Just like in a marriage, how you manage your relationship is what makes the difference between a healthy or unhealthy union. While growing up, most of my meals were homemade and homegrown; we rarely ate out. It became part of my life to pick vegetables out of the garden with my father and help prepare a meal with my mother. It set the foundation for my respect of food. Even thoughI strayed to processed and fast foods for a short period of time, I found my way back after gaining some weight and wanting to feel better in my body. I chose to commit myself to a love affair with food, and I am happy to say it’s been happily ever after!
Until you face the relationship you have with your food, most of your health and body issues will not shift. Until you can appreciate the food that goes in your mouth, the effect it has on your body, and treat it with honor and respect, you may be forever a slave to diets and a negative body image. Imagine a calm, peaceful, sacred experience with food. Pick it, clean it, cut it, cook it, bless it, and savor it. Thank it for nourishing your body and keeping it strong and vibrant.
JJ Flizanes is an Empowerment Strategist and the host of several podcast shows including Fit 2 Love and Spirit, Purpose & Energy. She is the Director of Invisible Fitness, an Amazon best-selling author of Fit 2 Love: How to Get Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually Fit to Attract the Love of Your Life, and author of Knack Absolute Abs: Routines for a Fit and Firm Core. She was named Best Personal Trainer in Los Angeles for 2007 by Elite Traveler Magazine. JJ has been featured in many national magazines, including Shape, Fitness, Muscle and Fitness HERS, Elegant Bride, and Women’s Health as well as appeared on NBC, CBS, Fox 11, the CW and KTLA. Her newest book, The Invisible Fitness Formula: 5 Secrets to Release Weight and End Body Shame debuted at #2 on the Amazon Best Seller List for Women’s Health and #2 as a Hot New Release on May 18th 2017.