The Energy of Foods
It is not a very freeing or enjoyable experience, nor is it natural to put so much mental thought and time into what food to eat.
We are just scratching the surface in understanding the biochemical reasons of why the diets of ancient cultures were so life-giving.
And while the geeky part of me loves to learn about the science behind nutrition as we slowly discover it– I am far more likely to follow the advice of wise and long standing traditions in choosing the best foods for me…because their systems make sense and work and have been time-tested over thousands of years.
Furthermore, they align their diets with the natural order of things, choosing foods in season and that are whole from nature without much alteration. This affirms another belief of mine that God not only created us, but created the earth to bring forth everything we would need to stay healthy and thrive.
Diets that honor the wisdom of nature make most sense to me. And I have seen them heal time after time.
One of the traditional concepts of diet revolves around the ying/yang concept— that of balance.
If you are experiencing an imbalance of heat, for example, it would be intuitive to choose a food or wellness practice that would bring in coolness to your system.
It’s a very simple concept that allows us to identify what foods may be most helpful in any given situation.
I explore these ancient systems more deeply in my workshops and counseling, but today I wanted to share the idea of the energy of food and how you can begin to utilize it in your life to start shifting back into balance.
Food leaves us with more than just calories and nutrients. It has an energy and leaves us with a more subtle experience, too.
Here are some examples of how the energy of some foods can work:
If you feel unfocused or scattered and need to feel more grounded and stable;
- consider choosing root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, turnips, or beets. These grow into the ground and provide hardier, more sustainable energy.
If you are feeling tight and tense or wound up and need to lighten or loosen up;
- add vegetables that grow up toward the sun and are light and crispy in nature, like green leafy vegetables. Eaten raw in a salad or lightly steamed (if they are the darker kinds like kale or swiss chard), these vegetables can loosen up tightness. They also naturally contain high amounts of cleansing substances like chlorophyll and provide a lighter energy to the body.
If you are feeling hot, heated or angry;
- try choosing foods that will cool you down like fresh fruits, especially tropical fruits like mango, guava, melons or pineapples.
If you are feeling cold, procrastinating, or too “stuck inside” yourself,
- cook with spices like black pepper, cayenne, or clove in your meals or eat a small amount of red meat.
Think about how you would feel after these two different meals;
(1) a hearty slow-cooked vegetable stew with lots of potatoes, carrots and turnips and (2) a light salad of spring greens and sprouts.
After which meal would you “bounce up” with energy to get some quick cleaning in?
Which would allow you to better focus to complete a task that required concentrated energy? Intuitively this makes sense.
The first step in using food in your diet intuitively is simply to pay attention.
Today, try to pay attention to what you are eating and what subtle “energy” it has about it.
Is it dry, crispy food? A moist, heavy food? A light, airy food? A spicy, hot food? A dense, slow food?
See what you can identify and then observe whether that is what your body “needs” right now. Is it a good fit to help you feel more balanced, or is it adding to a greater imbalance?