One of the gifts of gardening is a new perspective on food. When you grow something, you are bound to find a way to eat it! All that work is not to be wasted – whether you are thrilled to eat it or not. There is a new appreciation for any bit of produce as it is tended from seed to harvest. I know that prior to gardening, and even now during tough times it is easy for me to lose sight of the main purpose of food and to use it for comfort, reward and pleasure. Nothing wrong with that to a degree. However, I know both my attitude and my emotions are in danger when I consistently look forward to what I’m going to eat at my next meal. It is a bad sign when for hours or days on end, I either can’t, or am too lazy to try to, think of anything more positive in my future than what is going to stimulate the gustatory pleasure center in my brain. When I fall into this trap (often lined with sweets, even those such as I indulge in these days), I am missing plenty of incredible things taking place right under my nose. Thinking that every meal should be Ka-Pow tasty and that I deserve to have something yummy to eat is really a wake up call to pay a little more attention to the full experience of being a sentient being.
Of course, even in moments of being very present or ‘in the now,’ I might think about what I’m going to cook and that I will enjoy eating that at my next meal…. Or I might look forward to a night with friends or loved ones that involves food that I will enjoy… Or I might be in the garden admiring the beans that will be ready in a few days (Oh boy Oh boy)… But when
my motivation and,
the only power I can find to get through a difficult now is what I’m going to eat later,
continues for more than a few meals, I know my priorities are screwed up and that I am no longer awake, alert and experiencing life to its fullest.
But how can one not focus on food? The most important part of survival is having food right? And isn’t food what allows my body to function well? A functioning body further allowing my mind, soul, spirit, spark, whatever you want to call what makes me a little different from a snail to also function and to experience, analyze, synthesize and share this incredible journey that is life? Forgive me for waxing a little metaphysical today, but I have been thinking about the evolution of my own eating habits since anunrefined vegan printed an evolution of her eating history. So many of my eating experiences are a reflection of my mental state and also of any purpose/ lack of purpose at that particular time.
I notice as I look back on my life of eating that the least grounded times in my life include a lot of sugar ingestion. I now know that I can more easily see my positive options when I cut back on sugar. Between the jangly sugar-jag periods it is easier for me to remember that food doesn’t have to taste good or be special to nourish me.
Maintaining a healthy body feels more important when I feel I have a purpose. Eating nourishing food as a means to an end fuels my purposes to be a respectful, tolerant, positive example; to encourage others to know that they are worthwhile and have something to offer; and to laugh a lot. I love it when I manage to nourish my body AND the spark by being awake and alert to the needs of others and myself.
Time to get back out in the garden and watch the beauty of unfolding leaves, buds and burgeoning nourishment. I will try to listen to my own motherly advice that is so often given to my son in response to protests that something is ‘not his favorite.’
“Just eat it. It’s good for you and we have stuff to do.”