Lately, I have ended up thinking a lot about the best way to eat; even though, I know full well that there is no singular “best way” for everyone (other than following the Creator’s blueprint, of course). Still, I find myself looking for the “formula” that will conveniently keep on working in my busy life. The problem with this, of course, is that the needs of our bodies change from one day to another, and one life circumstance to another. Even seasonally, our nutritional needs change as our bodies need to be balanced in relation to the state of our environment.
Probably our biggest issue is that because we are on the go all the time, we are looking for the right formula, diet or fad; rather than having the space to listen to our bodies, and making healthful wisdom, and practice the journey of our life. Our stressful life circumstances can leave us feeling fearful and rigid, so we begin looking at diet and health through this rigid lense of our present haywire experience. We need let go of this rigidity and allow ourselves flexibility as we learn to sense the needs that we have, at any given time.
Because of the haywire nature of life today in the modern world, a big problem for us is that often we are eating when we are not actually even hungry, and rather, craving food in order to find a momentary relief from stress. In this way, we develop an unhealthy relationship with food; and our desire to find the right food “formula” may very well be born from wanting to get a handle on this unhealthy relationship. The problem is, this formulaic approach is not likely going to address this underlying issue.
This unhealthy relationship with food (wherein we eat as a reaction to our various life stresses) perpetuates itself, because when we eat as a result of stress and not out of hunger, we will be stressing our body and system even more. Then, next thing we know, we find ourselves looking for more food because we feel stressed once again – this time with our digestive tracts congested with excess food, making us feel emotionally overwhelmed. It becomes a vicious cycle. Many of us will likely have forgotten what true hunger actually feels like.
I believe that there are a few God given reasons for us to be eating:
- To nourish our bodies with necessary nutritional building blocks. (This includes both “micronutrients” and “macronutrients”).
- To meet our bodies energy requirements (this is what we often refer to as “calories”).
- To create a context for fellowship and connection.
- As a means for feasting and celebration.
Interestingly though, we don’t always get all these needs filled for a few reasons.
Firstly – with the common edible “pseudo-foods” available in the market place today, our bodies are not being nourished with all the essential nutrients they need. Because so much of the things that people are consuming are completely devoid of nutrition, people’s bodies are screaming for more food that WILL actually fulfill their nutritional needs and combat nutritional deficiencies. On top of this, so many of the chemical and processed ingredients within these “foods” put a great deal of stress on the body and throw the body into an imbalanced state. This stressed state can cause us to turn to more food, in the form of stress eating.
Secondly – in our technological world, many of us are increasingly eating alone or outside of the context of meaningful relationships. Disconnection and loneliness are serious issues in our world today. And, without this kind of relationship “nourishment,” we can still feel unsatisfied even if we just ate a full meal.
So, what are some fundamental lessons for us in all of this?
Get centred in God. Seek the things that He has made. Do things His way. Get truly connected with others in His family, who can bring the nourishment of their relationship into our lives. Get in touch with greater levels of health and Shalom in our lives, by making our lives a journey in vibrant healthful living.
Until next time, Shalom to you all,