We begin this journey into the sacred art of eating with an invitation to remind ourselves of the fact that we have been gifted with free will, the ability to make choices. All of our actions, especially eating, require us to exercise our free will. This is no easy task with the abundance of food choices available to us today. With hundreds of thousands of food products constantly being marketed to us, our society has become sadly desensitized to the inherent value of food. This disconnect with food is a significant contributor to our current health crisis. And yet, it is the simple fact that we have free will that offers personal hope for renewed health and healing.
Whether it is obvious or not, we have at all times a number of choices regarding the food we eat. First of all, we always have the choice of eating or not eating. Additionally, we usually have the choice of deciding what foods we want to eat. And we always have the choice of how much of a particular food we want to eat. This means that while the fast food industry is responsible for super-sizing our food choices, we cannot really place the blame on them for our national obesity epidemic since it is ultimately our choice as to whether or not to buy into their marketing strategies. Instead, we can exercise our free will. We can use our ‘ability’ to ‘respond’ to the infinite number of food decisions facing us each and every day to make choices that nourish our bodies, minds, and souls. And with practice, these decisions become easier and easier to make.
What Does It Matter? Based on the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control, for the first time ever we will soon be facing a generation whose mortality rate will be greater than that of its parents. This is because overweight and obesity contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, all of which lead to premature death. So not only does what and how we eat impact our overall longevity, it also impacts society as well in terms of overburdening the medical institutions required to sustain the results our self-indulgent attitudes.
More importantly, the quality of our lives is at risk here. Aside from our faith, food is the primary factor within our control that impacts both the long-term and short-term quality of life. How could what we eat not matter when it is our bodies that support us in everything that we do in our lives – from hugging a child or comforting a hurting friend to being able to sustain the demands of a complicated and rewarding daily job? When we are taking care of our bodies, we are in alignment with our true nature. By educating ourselves about how to live well and then putting that knowledge into practice, we actually spend less time preoccupied with our bodies and health because they are well. As Eubie Blake said, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
A sustainable lifestyle for ourselves and the planet.