Nourishing the Body and Spirit
For what its worth, Nourishing Wisdom by Marc David is the best “diet” book I’ve ever read. Graciously forgoing the “eat this, not that” mandate with which we have all grown accustomed, the approach outlined in Nourishing Wisdom encourages the careful consideration of the unique elements in life that impact our relationship with food and the dietary choices we make. By examining the lifestyle factors (work, exercise, environment, age, etc.) that dictate the majority of our activities and recognizing that these circumstances are subject to change, we can develop an approach to eating that evolves to support our bodies throughout every phase of life.
While this nutritional strategy is not entirely unfamiliar to those seasoned in diet in nutrition, Nourishing Wisdom goes a step further by helping us identify any spiritual or psychological roadblocks that may prevent us from adhering to the dietary philosophies we choose to follow. By addressing the attitudes we hold, the moods we exhibit, the relationships we maintain and the roles we play in our relationship with food, we can overcome the detrimental influence that the subconscious has on our dietary choices and improve the ability of food to nourish the body and spirit.
Coming from someone that has spent a considerable amount of time in introspective thought over the past 5 years, the honest reflection required to overcome deeply ingrained misconceptions can be tricky, but an improved psyche and spirit is well worth the effort.
Here are a few of my favorite points presented in Nourishing Wisdom (either directly quoted or paraphrased):
The missing ingredient in most dietary systems is a spiritual context that incorporates the sacredness and interconnectedness of all things. Every time you eat you are feeding your soul’s longing for life and its desire to learn, love, have faith and seek truth.
What works for some, may not work for others. When someone who has found success with a certain nutritional approach and endorses it as the only way to eat, they are simply reading their body’s signals and translating them on to yours.
The value we ascribe to food depends on our preconceived notions and personal biases. When we label a particular food bad, we consider our desire for that food as bad and see ourselves as bad for having that desire. Further, if we consume foods labeled “bad” with an attitude of guilt or self-punishment, the experience of the food will be un-nourishing.
By searching for the perfect diet, we project onto our food what we desire from ourselves: perfection. We are seldom fully satisfied with what we have and we naturally want the body to be different to conform to the standards we believe will ensure love and acceptance from others. The secret is acceptance – acceptance of our limitations.
The more we crave a food outside of our nutritional beliefs, the more we label it ‘bad’ and prevent ourselves from identifying its true meaning. When confronting a craving, it is importance to witness all the feelings and physical sensations that arise without suppressing or fighting them.
Last, but certainly not least:
Whole body eating is the simple practice of eating with awareness.
I honestly believe that if we allow ourselves to reframe our perception of food and diet, our health and spirit will improve beyond measure.