By Annette Ramke, CHHC
Maybe you’re cooking an old favorite.
Or you found a new recipe you can’t wait to try.
In either case you’ve been to the store, picked up everything the recipe calls for and are all set to make your chosen dish.
Food is washed, diced, chopped, mixed together, cooked, baked, tossed, or blended. All according to the directions on paper or in your head.
But something’s likely missing. Something to make your meal complete and your food more delicious than you can imagine.
It’s a secret ingredient. One that you’ll rarely find listed in a recipe.
What is it, you ask?
While that may sound a little “fluffy” to some, I am pretty darn serious.
Because when we “get” the fact that what we put into our body matters, then that means all of it.
And so it matters – the conditions under which are food is grown or raised. It matters the care given, how the plants and animals are treated and, in turn, our earth.
Think of the kind of energy you are taking into your body from an animal raised in factory farm conditions and, under stress, transported and butchered in a huge “processing facility” versus the animal raised and lovingly cared for according to its natural ways on a family farm and which is not forced into trucks at the end of its life before it reaches our plates.
Think of the energy of produce grown from genetically-modified seeds, fungicide and pesticide-laden as compared to fruits and vegetables that are grown organically, using nature’s tools for pest management and for protecting our environment.
Our body not only takes in the protein, fat, carbohydrates and vitamins of our food, it takes in the whole essence of it — from the way it was grown, to the manner in which it is prepared.
You can test this by seeing how you feel after eating certain foods. There may be more aggression, more sadness, more unsettledness. But also more joy, contentment and wellbeing.
Beyond how our food is grown there is the atmosphere in which it was prepared. Can you notice the difference in how you feel between eating, say, a fast food meal versus a home-cooked meal made with care and love? Or a home-cooked meal made under feelings of stress, anger and resentment compared with a restaurant meal made by a chef passionate about real food and her work?
I am going to venture to say that there is a light bulb going off for some right now. Maybe you had never stopped to reflect on this.
So when we shop for our food, when we get in the kitchen, we have a lot of power, actually!
First, the act of showing up in the kitchen, of placing a priority on food, is an act of radical self-love. This comes from realizing that your meal is not just there to fill a hole in your stomach, but rather to nourish and support your body. When you bring your presence, care and love to preparing your food, you are not just making dinner, you are caring for your body and your life.
So….grow the love.
Grow the love inside you.
Choose food grown with love.
Make self-care (self-love!) a priority – one aspect of which is preparing healthy meals for yourself.
And when you are in the kitchen, treat this time as a scared time as much as possible. Feel the gratitude for your food. Your health or the path toward health you are on. For the people you will share the food with, whether yourself or a whole group. Really feeling the gratitude, the love, as you are preparing and eating a meal makes all the difference between food that merely pacifies a hungry stomach and food that helps us create a life full of meaning and well-being.
Love your food. Love yourself. Love your life.