Food enlightenment entails becoming aware of the kind of nourishment that will best support our health. Conscious eating starts with educating ourselves about where our food comes from and how it is cultivated and harvested and then extends to giving exquisite attention to how it is prepared. Finally, the very act of eating itself takes on a sense of deep appreciation.
Conscious Meal Preparation
Becoming familiar with the health properties and benefits of different foods is central to conscious eating. When we add fresh fruits and vegetables to our diet, we are adding life and nutrient-density to our meals. Food that is high in vital nutrients that the body needs can transform the way we approach meal preparation. When we understand the nutritional properties of our food, we will want to select the best quality foods. We will want to learn to prepare our meals in such a way as to bring out the flavorful aspects of these ingredients. We will enjoy the benefits of eating healthy and naturally delicious food.
Colors: the Flavors of the Sun
Chlorophyll is the substance that is responsible for the absorption of light from the sun and provides the energy for photosynthesis, or the transformation of sunlight into living, growing things. Chlorophyll makes plants appear green. The greener the food the more nutrient dense it is and the more healing power and energy it contains. Green is color of life and health, the color of growth and renewal. When we eat green foods we are providing the body with the healing and regenerative support it needs. Kale is a wonderful leafy green plant with a rich, pungent flavor that can be used in salads or added to grain dishes. Kale is an anti-inflammatory, filled with the healing properties of green. Similarly red, orange and yellow plants are rich beta-carotene, supplying essential vitamins and nutrients that we need to form healthy cells and help to remove harmful substances from the body. The old adage, “Eat your colors”, is valuable advice to heed.
For those of us who like to eat vegetarian, either as a way of life or as a regular part of our weekly diet, it is important to make sure we are creating meals that form complete proteins. This is easily done with the addition of healthy and delicious grains combined with legumes. Discovering how flavorful and delicious a vegetable, legume and grain dish can be is a surprising adventure in cooking and eating. Legumes, like beans, lentils, and chickpeas, are good sources of calcium and certain amino acids and have other significant health benefits. Lentils, for example, reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. When combined with grains, especially high-protein grains like quinoa and buckwheat, legumes act to form more complete proteins like those found in fish, poultry and meat sources.
Becoming Nutritionally Savvy
Our bodies inherently desire nourishment that satisfies our natural cravings. Early human beings were primarily hunter-gatherers, living off the available growing plants, indigenous animals, and green grasses. We are designed to eat living, unadulterated food. We thrive when we eat enough organic and nutrient-dense foods, like leafy greens and colorful fresh veggies. When we add these foods to our diets we are helping to support, detoxify, and heal our physiology.
We all love to eat. Eating should be a joy and not a guilty pleasure. Some of us, for various reasons, have come to associate food with guilt. But when we cook with awareness, preparing meals that truly support us and satisfy our natural cravings, we don’t need to feel guilty. Reeducating our taste buds to orient our nutritional desires towards high-quality, nutrient-dense, and phyto-chemically rich foods will help us to attain optimum health, mentally and physically. Superior quality, fresh, organic ingredients taste more flavorful and robust all by themselves.
Learning to cook with skill and with consciousness can turn the experience of eating into a deliciously conscious event.