Regarding Food

Written by Victoria Clair
January 12, 2023

Beloved souls, allow me to share with you the wisdom of our ancestors regarding the sacred act of nourishment. The term “diet” brings forth a sense of self-deprivation, and our spirits naturally recoil from such thoughts. Instead, let us speak of the sacred ways of eating that honor our bodies and our connection with the Earth.

First, let us understand the simple truth of the natural balance between the energy we consume and the energy we expend. Food is the divine energy that sustains our physical forms. When we consume more energy than we need, our bodies lovingly store the excess as reserves for future use. However, when we require more energy than we consume, our bodies graciously draw upon these reserves, leading to weight loss. The wisdom lies in the balance between the energies we receive and release.

Know that I am not a healer in the conventional sense, nor am I trained in the sciences of nutrition. My words come from a lifetime of being a humble seeker of knowledge and wisdom, nourishing my body with various eating styles, from the plant-based path of the vegan to the wholesome approach of traditional cookery. I have journeyed through countless books, seeking the secrets to a healthy and harmonious life.

If you seek a miraculous solution for weight loss, I regret to inform you that no such magic exists. The ancient wisdom teaches us that balance is the key to a healthy body, achieved through mindful consumption and the sacred act of movement. Both are essential for our well-being.

As a spiritual elder, I offer you the insights gained from over five decades of exploration and experience. Throughout my life, I have ventured through the spectrum of sizes, seeking the perfect harmony between body and spirit. I have discovered that my health flourishes when I embrace a balance that is true to my unique being.

It was upon facing my own mortality after a heart awakening that I released the constraints of strict dietary rules. In that moment, I chose to honor my body and spirit by enjoying the sacred gifts of nourishment in moderation, celebrating the abundance of life’s offerings. May you, too, find balance and harmony on your journey, embracing the wisdom of the ages and honoring your sacred connection to the Earth and all her bounty.

Reflecting upon adage, “You eat what you are” rather than “You are what you eat.”

In our journey to understand our relationship with nourishment, we must delve into the roots of our upbringing. Our parents, shaped by their own circumstances, passed down their eating habits to us, influenced by their cultural heritage, environment, education, and socio-economic status.

My own parents, blessed with the resilience of the Great Depression, nourished me with the traditional dishes of my ancestors. In those days, our meals were abundant with simple, filling foods such as white bread, potatoes, and pasta. As our fortune improved, so did the amount of meat we consumed, leading to more lavish feasts. The seasons brought fresh fruits and vegetables, which were treasured as gifts from the Earth. The colder months, however, left us with limited options.

As children, our plates were filled by our mothers, and we were expected to consume every morsel. It was during these formative years that the seeds of our lifelong struggles with weight and self-image were sown. We were often encouraged to eat, lest others believe our families could not provide for us. This led to a complicated relationship with food, our bodies, and our self-worth.

Our generation was also introduced to the temptations of fast food at an early age. The allure of sweet treats and greasy indulgences, coupled with newfound independence, often led us astray from the path of nourishment. Our memories of special occasions centered around food, further strengthening our connection to these indulgences.

As we journey through life, the foods we cherished in our youth continue to call to us. We may strive to embrace healthier choices, yet our hearts still yearn for the comforting tastes of our past. It is important to acknowledge the powerful influence our upbringing has on our eating habits as adults.

Our socio-economic background during childhood plays a significant role in shaping our preferences. I recall a dear friend, Olga, who came from a more affluent family. She was the only child among us who enjoyed whole wheat sandwiches and fresh fruits and vegetables with her lunch. Our tastes, however, had already been molded by our upbringing, and we could not appreciate the nourishment she was accustomed to.

So, remember that the foods we consume are intrinsically linked to our life experiences and the lessons imparted by our ancestors. As we strive to find balance and harmony in our relationship with nourishment, let us honor our past while embracing the wisdom of a healthier, more mindful path.

Contemplating the role of food as both reward and punishment in our lives

It is not solely in our childhood that we experience these associations, for if we were raised with such conditioning, we may continue to impose these beliefs upon ourselves. The concept of “diet” often implies that certain foods are “bad” and forbidden during our quest for well-being. Yet, once we achieve our goals, we may find ourselves drifting back into the comforting embrace of ice cream, donuts, chocolate, pizza, and hamburgers with fries.

Indeed, food has always held a central place in our lives, from the lollipops offered by our dentists and doctors to the cake and ice cream that accompany our birthdays. We celebrate, soothe, and console with food, turning to it as a balm for emotions both joyous and sorrowful. As we strive for balance and self-discipline, we may find it challenging to socialize or participate in gatherings centered around food.

In this stage of our journey, let us release the idea of self-deprivation, embracing the notion that no food is inherently off-limits. While we may practice restraint, we need not banish our favorite treats from our lives. Instead, savor the occasional indulgence, such as a monthly McDonald’s Fish Fillet sandwich or a Dunkin Donut, and find creative ways to enjoy our guilty pleasures in moderation, such as diluting soda with water or choosing dark chocolate as a healthier alternative.

Treat yourself to an ice cream cone now and then, or delight in the crisp crunch of a single-serving bag of potato chips. Share your sweet treats with guests and neighbors, allowing the joy of food to radiate outward, touching the lives of those around you.

These gentle tricks we play on ourselves serve to remind us that balance and mindfulness are the keys to a harmonious relationship with food. We need not banish any sustenance to a “no-fly zone” in our pantries. Instead, let us cherish the nourishment and pleasure that food brings to our lives, honoring our bodies and our spirits with every mindful bite.

Your Sacred Vessel is Not a Reservoir - No Need to Overflow Its Boundaries

My dear ones, I wish to share with you the wisdom I have gathered over the many years of my life, particularly in the realm of nourishment for the body and the soul. As we journey through life, we encounter a multitude of teachings, beliefs, and advice regarding nutrition, diet, and exercise. I myself have explored countless books and teachings, often finding myself in a sea of contradictions, left to ponder the true path to health and well-being.

In my early thirties, a wise and compassionate holistic doctor introduced me to the concept of a “base cholesterol” test. The revelation of my dangerously high cholesterol levels led me to embark on a spiritual and culinary journey, embracing a vegan lifestyle. Despite my dedication and the shedding of weight, my cholesterol levels continued to rise. This humbling experience taught me the importance of acknowledging and respecting the unique nature of each individual’s body and its needs.

Throughout my exploration of various dietary approaches – vegetarianism, veganism, macrobiotics, eating by one’s “dosha” type, and even eating according to blood type – one valuable piece of guidance has remained vivid in my memory. The wisdom I uncovered, though the name of the book and its author have long faded from my recollection, advised that we should never allow ourselves to become too hungry or too full. It suggested that we should maintain a balance, never dipping below a ‘3’ nor exceeding a ‘7’ on a scale of hunger, with ‘1’ representing ravenous hunger and ‘10’ indicating the discomfort of overindulgence.

My first experience of adhering to this wisdom was nothing short of enlightening. To my astonishment, I found that I required only a fraction of the food on my plate to satisfy my hunger. This simple yet profound practice became a cornerstone of my approach to nourishment, guiding me to be mindful of my body’s needs and never to overindulge. At times, it required me to share a dessert or leave a restaurant with a “doggy bag” – a small sacrifice for the sake of honoring my body’s true needs.

The challenge in embracing this practice lies not in our stomachs, but in our minds and hearts. It can be a struggle to relinquish the pleasure of savoring a delicious meal when our stomachs have already signaled their satisfaction. However, we must cultivate the wisdom to know when we have had enough and the discipline to cease eating when our bodies no longer require sustenance.

I implore you to avoid the temptations of “all-you-can-eat” establishments, for they encourage gluttony and disregard for the true needs of our bodies. Instead, focus on nourishing your body, mind, and spirit with food that is both enjoyable and beneficial.

Embracing this mindful approach to eating requires attention, courage, and self-discipline. It may be difficult at first, but in time, it becomes a natural and cherished way of life. As we learn to honor our bodies and their messages, we find that overindulgence no longer holds the same appeal, and we become more attuned to the delicate balance of nourishment and satisfaction.

Final Thoughts on our Shared Collective Wisdom

I have gathered throughout my lifetime regarding the nourishment of our bodies and souls. As we traverse the path of life, we encounter an abundance of teachings, beliefs, and advice concerning nutrition and dietary choices. Each individual’s journey is unique, and the path to optimal health and well-being may differ from person to person.

There are numerous wholesome eating plans to choose from, and the one that resonates with you will depend upon your personal preferences and values. Some individuals may choose veganism, vegetarianism, or a macrobiotic lifestyle, not only for the health benefits they offer but also for the ethical considerations of our planet and its resources. Others may embrace a specific dietary approach out of necessity, due to health concerns such as diabetes or high blood pressure, which require careful attention to the foods they consume. Ultimately, the choice of an eating plan is a deeply personal one, and I am not here to advocate one path over another. Instead, I encourage you to find the path that feels most balanced and aligned with your inner truth.

Two and a half years ago, I experienced a heart attack followed by surgery. During the post-operative outpatient visit, my cardiologist did not address my diet, perhaps assuming that my existing habits were sufficient. As a result, I have been managing my health with low blood pressure and low blood sugar levels, using simple remedies such as salt and sweet treats when needed. I am grateful that these are my primary dietary concerns, and I maintain a healthy weight, which my cardiologist acknowledges.

During that first post-operative visit, my cardiologist reluctantly provided me with a prognosis, estimating that I had about a year left to live. Now, more than two and a half years later, I recognize that I am living on borrowed time. This realization has shaped my attitude toward food and nourishment. In the first year after my surgery, I indulged in an unrestricted diet, leading to a weight gain of 25 pounds. However, I quickly noticed the impact on my mobility, energy levels, and heart health. It became evident that I needed to return to a balanced eating style, enjoying the foods I love in moderation. Gradually, the weight was shed, and my health improved, providing the evidence I needed that maintaining a healthy weight is vital for our hearts and overall well-being.

Imagine carrying a 25-pound bag of potatoes strapped to your back, day in and day out. The burden of this additional weight takes its toll on our bodies, especially our hearts. For me, this realization has been the most significant motivation to maintain a healthy weight and listen to my body’s needs.

The responsibility of choosing a dietary path lies in your hands. It is both your right and your duty to determine how you wish to nourish your body and soul. No one else can dictate the choices you make; the knowledge of your needs and desires resides within you. It is essential to take responsibility for ourselves, our lives, and the decisions we make on our journey through this world. May your choices bring you balance, health, and harmony, always aligning with your inner wisdom and truth.