No really it’s a serious question. I’m sure this might seem like a ridiculous topic of conversation to some. The most logical answer being “I eat to live”. But imagine for a second, if we were all on Family Fortunes could we guess the top six answers, if all the people in the whole world were surveyed?
The reason I eat food today is worlds apart from why I ate food in my teens and then in my mid-twenties. The major difference is of course my thoughts and a persons thoughts change with life experience. I’m sure we’d all be able to guess a couple of correct game show answers – to why we eat – but I’m also more than sure there are answers deep within our subconscious that rarely see the light of day but have the power to drive us towards positive and negative eating habits.
My earliest [eating] memories are of routinely sitting at the dinner table and not enjoying the food in front of me. Food was consider valuable you didn’t waste or throw it away. We had to eat everything on the plate and there were no options if you didn’t like what was for dinner that evening. My parents boasted a far greater collection of tinned foods than I do now, however for the most part dinner was prepared from scratch. My mum had a list of ‘E’ numbers sellotaped to the inside of our biscuit cupboard [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_number] yes that’s right we had a whole cupboard for biscuits not just a tin. So I was lucky to have grown up in a household that took notice, in some way, of ingredients. It was a working class household so the food budget was always a contender to many other bills, which meant tinned corn beef was a once a week meal option, along with sandwich paste as a filler in our school packed lunch. My guts churn, now, thinking about the bits of animal I happily ingested while chattering exuberantly across the table to my school chums.
Google images quote, Ann Wigmore.
Little was probably understood back then by the general public regarding eating, food psychology or the many facets of the food industry. At least today with the wonders of the internet a person can research foods, ingredients and even the companies that provide the nutrition we put into our bodies.
It would be fair to say I’ve always been encouraged to eat healthy foods, in many regards I’m grateful for this core programming. Which brings me to a facet of eating and the food industry. My belief is the majority of people eat what they are programmed to based on our upbringing, country of origin and personal response to corporate advertising. Forget enjoyment I’ve thrown it out the window!
Let me explain, my work experience from the earliest age spans hospitality, retail/ sales, product promotions/ brand ambassador, administration within the management end of a direct mail company [aka; charity junk mail], script writing and back around to hospitality. You could say in a professional capacity I’ve been serving people for many years. But more than that I’ve realised I had unintentionally been observing the public and more recently intentionally. As a creative mind I find people in all their intricacies truly captivating. Admittedly I wasn’t always enchanted by the public, oddly, it took many years of being emotionally closed off, lacking compassion and being thoroughly impatient. For me to understand who I am and then see the connections I have with others.
What has this got to do with ‘why do you eat’ well all things in your life are connected. All experiences, I believe, are interconnected to your eating habits. I’ve heard numerous people order food and talk about various types of consumerism. Remembering one person state when ordering a lunch time drink “I’ll have a diet coke, if it was good enough for my dad it’s good enough for me”. Maintaining non-judgement I have to comment, this really isn’t the best reason to order a diet coke. I could paint a very precise picture of the person who ordered the diet coke; male/female, age range, physique, industry worked within etc. I feel like I’m back in Atlantic List Company typing a list fulfillment order for a service bureau, Geo. select!
My experiences with people has and will continue to paint a picture of heart-felt, natural responses – I purposely release hyper-exaggerated reactions, although they have their place. This is an indication of where humanity finds itself. Serving the same people and seeing new faces builds a frame-work of many stories, set within a larger frame-work. Imagine a large blank screen, one small TV screen illuminates with a person talking about their life, another one follows suit, another and so on, a visual tapestry is formed. We can tune in or tune out to people, to our community to the wider world.
Unconsciously I used food, I ate what I was programmed to eat, Irish stew with half a loaf of buttered bread for dinner. My conscious mind shrieks in horror and my guts shrink knowing the staple diet I ate in the early 90’s in Northern Ireland would sit like a brick in my stomach today. Would I go as far as to say food used me? Hmm, interesting angle. I definitely moved and swayed towards what commercially would have been defined as healthier foods, without proper consideration of my body type or even knowing at that point what I really enjoyed eating.
I still remember the Edwina Currie and the egg scandal http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/3/newsid_2519000/2519451.stm which affected the public’s view on eggs. There was a negative association for a couple of years until new research proved the health benefits of eggs. Which again has impacted articles you’ll read today http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-eggs.
What we ate as children and what we eat now may vary slightly. Some may purposely eat the opposite foods to what they were brought up with, while some might be resolute in the idea of “meat and two veg” all the way and some conversations might lead us to food history. Which again is linked to a persons upbringing so it’s fair to say there is an emotional attachment to food and its history. Let me expand, my grandma grew up with the after effects of World War I, she would go on to serve in the WAF during World War II. Because of her experiences, not having luxury items she became a firm believer, children should be given and treated to sweets. The consequences later proved a little out of balance, my mother has a mouth full of fillings this would go on to impact my childhood. I was only allowed to eat sweets two days out of the week and there was only dessert after Sunday dinner. I might have went a little sugar crazy in my late teens but as my body matured I soon learned valuable lessons and reverted back to healthier eating habits.
Ah but hold on I mentioned world history not food history. Initially I did mean food history, how foods have progressed, cultivation of then verses now and even the history of farming. Perhaps I believe world history impacts the history of our food and eating. Because if our eating habits are indeed psychologically programmed through upbringing, entwined or embedded with our emotional state, do the majority of us comfort eat? If so does the shabby state of war and world affairs prompt us to seek solace in low quality foods which with gradual increase we’ve visually been bombarded with since the dawn of our technical revolution?
Let’s go ahead and brush all of that off our shoulders. This topic could get a bit tangled and out of control. Let’s pause and take a breath [http://psychoformer.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/importance-of-breathing.html].
Bringing our attention to now, I’m curious is your answer exactly the same – why do you eat? Would our Family Fortune team do any better at winning?
Google images, Les Dennis
Perhaps I should keep it simple and suggest ‘conscious eating’. Anyone tried eating while being in a state of conscious awareness, and maintaining this awareness of now with each bite of food? The ADD part of my mind keeps me from completing this task through a whole plate of food, however I can partially keep my attention focused. I’m grinning because it is an achievement! I don’t eat with the TV on, except for Friday evening which is movie night. Anyway I would suggest trying conscious eating with as little distraction as possible, you bring your attention to each mouthful of food, look at your food, inhale the smell, taking in taste and texture. Slowly chew, the more you chew your food the easier it will be for your body to digest it. Personally I used to inhale my food, for many reasons, I was always late to go somewhere or I’d been out and returned home starving or I simply wasn’t in tune or listening to when my body was hungry.
How I eat, my thoughts of food now are exactly opposite to the views I had as a younger person. Conscious eating at first made me realise I didn’t actually enjoy numerous foods I had been routinely eating for decades. It made me understand key reasons stopping me from having a varied diet, pre-programmed presumptions, colour and texture all played a huge part in my bias of food. Meditations are available on YouTube or there are articles like this one http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/conscious-eating/. Another result of conscious eating, down the line you will likely come to a cross roads, you will inevitably begin to consider the source of your food. Where does this meat come from, where do these vegetables grow or what are the ingredients in this microwave-ready-meal?
This is where I get emotional, and without apology I will honestly tell you I could weep endless tears. I feel like asking everyone to bow their heads in a moment of silence for the sake of countless animals. Is that a tad dramatic well okay I was never a big meat-eater so let me tell you where I cried a river, in the biscuit aisle, yes that’s right! My out-and-out weakness, tea and biscuits, tea and buns, tea and Walkers shortbread. Which might I tell everyone is about the only biscuit I can semi get away with eating these days. The refined sugar is a discomfort to my stomach. But the biggest disgusting truth is not only the slaughter of countless animals whose meat is carelessly unused and discarded but also the many products showcasing palm oil. Marks & Spencer’s is a disgrace in my opinion, look at your lunchtime sandwiches, salads, biscuits and pre-packed dinners. The point being if we all consciously ate food, there are products that wouldn’t even exist on our shelves because we as consumers DO have influence and the power to change.
So a person becomes totally disheartened when they realise some obvious truths about our food industry. What is a person to do? Well you go organic don’t you, our minds convince us that organic cattle and free range chickens live happy lives, it’s okay to eat animals that live happy lives. Of course if you can’t afford organic foods then you tune out and don’t bother. Do you? Perhaps not, I don’t regularly eat organic but I do source local produce.
Am I bringing the conversation around to making the world a better place through eating consciously? Well it wasn’t my original intention. I’m going to have to take a huge leap. I need to be somewhere else in this gigantic topic.
Over the years I’ve read various articles like many people, on the latest healthy grain or the health benefits of x, y and z. I take vitamins which in theory I shouldn’t have to do if I ate a balanced diet. At present I would describe my diet as transitional, meaning I don’t prescribe to any one idea. What my ego judges as a fantastic idea my body may disagree with. It’s through trail and error, listening to and gauging my body’s response to foods I eat daily. Slowly I have moved completely away from red meat, bacon was thee hardest thing to give up, the programming that surrounded eating bacon was deeply rooted. And chicken was next I began to eat more fish and lots of fresh king prawns to compensate for eating little to no meat. Only to then decide prawns are bottom feeders and really how should I expect my body to replenish itself if I was feeding it on crustaceans.
Recently I came across information on Dr. Sebi in regard to eating foods based around an alkaline diet. I happened across information on him when news broke that he had died. After watching a couple of his YouTube video’s, reading a couple of articles and then an interview with a close friend about his death I purchased three of his products and printed a cookbook from the internet. As I type this blog I am more aware of the emotional triggers that lead to my purchase.
I am a firm believer that our bodies have natural capabilities to heal when they become dis-eased. This is a sensitive topic for a high percentage of people. Not many would consider or want to believe that the foods we eat cause [us] worst symptoms than simple weight gain. In my search for a healthier functioning body I find myself drawn to two options; raw food diet and an alkaline based diet. The raw food diet is as it reads but I’ve found it really difficult to jump right into. I’m quite taken by the raw chef, Russell James, I made his pear & goji berry chutney last Christmas with great success family & friends all loved it. I’ve just purchased the ingredients for cinnamon raisin protein bars and I’ll be sure to let you know what I think of them; http://therawchef.com/trc_recipes/cinnamon-raisin-protein-bars/?inf_contact_key=ea86b4c0fb7f17f83add8ce9e0dee511479970b2a5ef908b8af612b0b5c2333d.
The alkaline diet is supposed to reduce acid and mucus in the body. Straight away I connected to reducing mucus in my body because as a new-born baby I turned blue and almost choked to death on, you’ve guessed it, mucus. Charming conversation this, instantly we can all understand the emotional connection for me. Back then my mum and dad where missionaries in America, it was suggested I be given golden seal which is a herb, powder form was mixed with water which was added to my bottles. The story goes that over a period of taking golden seal the mucus came out in my nappies. Although I’m a huge fan of herbs I would advise caution when using golden seal, I took it again in my mid-twenties for a prolonged period and noticed abdominal pain.
Dr. Sebi also talked about eating foods with a pH of five or less, this is achieved by eating specific foods. I can’t find the original articles that I read, I hand wrote the list of foods he believed acceptable. Here is a page that may interest some of you http://www.naturallifeenergy.com/alkaline-producing-mucus-reducing-nutrional-guide/.
Google images, Dr.Sebi’s
Controversy surrounds the claims he made about curing diseases but apparently in the late 80’s the Supreme Court ruled he was not guilty. I can’t find a news report but here is one of many articles http://www.healthnutnews.com/man-finds-cure-disease-court-ruling-prove/.
Sadly I don’t feel I can promote his products, I have tried his Eva Salve which I didn’t enjoy. Two other products a Banju bio mineral balance and Green Food capsules lay in wait. I won’t take either, communication between myself and Dr Sebi’s Cell Food customer service team has been slow. After noticing on another YouTube bloggers video his bottle of Banju had a sticker advising once open to refrigerate, my bottle did not have this sticker and so I haven’t refrigerated it after taking a whiff.
My review of Eva Salve;
I’m not about to speak ill of a man I’ve never known, I am grateful for the cook book I found, along with the video’s I viewed of him talking about food and the body. He was inspirational because although I didn’t know him, I could gauge he was fearless in his belief that our bodies have the ability to heal themselves. Given the chance. Given good food. Something I fear we’re all losing sight of.
Another reason this diet appealed to me is that it reinforces in some ways a book I’ve been reading Healing Light of the Tao; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Healing-Light-Tao-Foundational-Practices/dp/1594771138.
This topic is endless and has many layers. It is not for me or anyone else to tell you what to eat or how to live your life. And a word to all those who are judgmental in their actions and thoughts, whether you be meat-eater or vegan, no person will ever truly be converter to any way of thinking or eating by way of force. Nutrition and the chemistry within the body is a delicate if not personal affair. It’s a fantastic journey and when undertaken at the right time it opens doors within, a person has the ability to re-establish connects with themselves.
My judgment is that we’ve all helped shape the creation of modern food products and eating habits. But isn’t it a blessing nothing ever remains the same, tomorrow is a new day.
Let the light in.