If you know someone who tends to be moody, you may want to ask them what they’ve been eating! You may know someone who seems happy and light-hearted one day, and the very next, dark, sharp, cranky and maybe even mean. Research shows that aracadonic acid, mostly found in chicken and eggs, can actually negatively alter mood by causing inflammation in the brain. You can check that out here:
A while back my penpal, Lois, who has started a fantastic site called “Wowfornow” asked me to write a little blurb on how we might use food to help us heal emotionally. When I wrote it I had no idea that there was science behind what we eat and how we feel, beyond the obvious feeling well and therefore feeling happy! Perspective, which counts for a lot, can influence how we feel. I did read once that red meat consumption is associated with anger, but I couldn’t tell you if that was actually science… Anyway here is what I wrote:
How food can help to heal
Food. We have this incredibly intimate relationship with food. Several times a day we put the stuff into ourselves. It travels to every cell of our body, some food providing benefits, some causing trouble. We often don’t think about food as a means to nourish our cells and ourselves, we think of it in many other ways. Food feeds our hunger, which doesn’t always coincide with an empty stomach. Food has so much meaning for us beyond nourishing our bodies. Food is cultural, familial, traditional. Food is comfort, punishment, freedom, enjoyment. Food is a memory, a friend and an enemy. We eat for a multitude of reasons: to feed our bodies, but too often, for other reasons as well.
At times of sadness or grief, food takes on a particularly curious role. For some, food is something we might deny ourselves, something we can’t face or feel we don’t deserve. Sometimes we just don’t feel like eating at all. For others food is support, comfort and something to ease the pain.
When we grieve, our hearts ache, our bodies ache, and our entire being is engulfed in the sorrow we feel. It is true, I think, that at these times, we don’t consider preparing a salad with a variety of lettuces, some tomato and cucumber and other healthy vegetables. We don’t think of reaching for berries, making ourselves a healthy, homemade soup from scratch, or blending a kale smoothie. I believe, for most, during these saddest of times, we eat just to get through, which means something different for each of us. Yet if we think a little differently about what we eat and why we eat it, food can be part of our healing process.
During times of sadness, we often ignore our human needs. Yet, this is the time to take extra care to nurture ourselves. It is the ultimate time for self care. I don’t mean that you should hit the gym or go to the spa. I mean it is time to be good to yourself. Sleep if you are tired, cry if you need to cry, and feel angry if you need to feel that way. Seen from a new perspective, food can nourish us in a new way as we heal. Feeding ourselves can be a part of our self care. What we choose to eat can have an enormous affect on our own health and as well, on the greater “whole”. We can heal with a new consciousness; a new awareness that our choices can be empowering beyond the effects on our bodies. As we find peace within, we can contribute to peace beyond ourselves.
Here is what we know about food today. Eating whole, plant-based foods can prevent and reverse the diseases that kill most of us living in the western world. Most diseases afflicting us are rooted in the standard western diet, which includes meat, dairy products, eggs and heavily processed foods. There is more. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of global warming and animals raised for food are exempt from all laws in place to protect animals. Each time we choose chicken, a creature dies. Each time we choose milk, yoghurt or cheese, we take milk intended for an infant that its mother never gets to nurture. What if, in the times of our deepest sorrow, we chose foods that consider our health, our planet and our fellow creatures? What if we decide to cause no harm to ourselves, to our earth or any animal? Could this help us find greater peace within ourselves?
The peace we seek to mend our hearts can be found in the simple acts we participate in throughout the day. When we seek peace and refuge we can find it in the choices we make. One choice we make several times a day is what we eat. Choosing plant-based foods helps us to make peace within, for our health and our healing, for animals whose lives are taken and for our great earth which is in peril. When we choose tomato soup over pulled pork, peanut butter and jam over egg salad, tofu over chicken, we choose compassion, conscientiousness, self care and peace. This greater level of consciousness is empowering. It gives us strength and allows us to find peace within as we make peace with our fellow earthlings and our earth.
We are all interconnected. The choices we make have an impact beyond the effects on our own body. When we make choices that are in keeping with compassion and self care, healing and inner solace, those choices ripple outward affecting the welfare of the earth and the creatures we share it with. In times of sorrow, choose kindness. Be kind to yourself and you will find the earth and all earthlings are part of the whole you belong to, and healing is a gift you share.