Ever go into the pantry, grab a box of Ritz Crackers, Cheeze-its, Campbell’s Soup, or Oreos and read the long paragraph of ingredients on the side panel? Most of our eyes traipse right over the ingredient list and go directly to the nutrition facts. We assume the presence of chemicals in our food is impossible because we believe the government exists to protect us. However, after reading about monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrogenated soybean oil, and BHT, go figure that these ingredients are in most of the brands we grew up to trust and love. The media does a great job distorting what the true definition of health is, so we were lead astray from that ingredient list, and instead swayed to focus on counting calories and making sure the number of grams of fat are under five. As consumers, we were distracted, for the sake of profits. It is not their fault, they are just so good at selling to us, and we keep mindlessly eating. We are too busy with schedules, meetings, and commuting, it is no wonder that most of us do not have time, let alone care, to read the list of ingredients on the “lunch size” Doritos bag. We have lost the value of the art of eating, and ritual of cooking food. The love and energy that goes into the preparation of a meal, and mindfully consuming it is not a common practice. For the average unconscious consumer, the only way to prevent a future doomed with a cabinet of medications and a hospital bed with their name on it is if there is a shift in consciousness. In terms of food, it can be described as one’s own willingness and intrigue to self-educate about the food they put in their mouth every day.
Most people may argue that food does not play a vital role in diseases that exist as we get older such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Maybe we think that at 34 years old, having high blood pressure is just due to stress in life, and although it may have something to do with diet, it is not as much of a concern to make any lifestyle or diet changes. But where did this belief come from? Instead of looking deeper, we are prescribed a medication to lower our blood pressure and cholesterol- a pill; the magic cure all for everything! Much like our inner voice is within, much like our peace starts within, the healing of our ailments starts within. The pill is outside of us, and works to mask symptoms and alleviate temporarily, not acknowledging the cause or assessing changes in lifestyle to bring the body back to balance. This is why being conscious is essential to higher ways of thinking, eating, and living. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten.
With that said, if we are addicted to certain foods or certain ways of eating, we may start to raise our consciousness by questioning ourselves. There is a theory that says the idea of asking ourselves penetrating questions, by repeating it over and over, is a method to reach the core of conditioning behind our behaviors. For example, asking ourselves why we eat eggs and bacon for breakfast with black coffee. When you come up with an answer, you ask yourself “why?” again. Continue to ask yourself “why?”, until you identify a belief that drives your behavior. Then ask yourself if the belief is serving you or not. It could be “I eat this because I was taught that eggs and bacon for breakfast are what real men eat.” Everyone will have a different conditioned belief as to what drives their behavior, but the point of doing this exercise is to start to raise awareness into the behaviors we live out day to day, specifically for the sake of this article, our eating habits. By questioning our behavior, we start to identify our patterns, and if we aren’t happy with our life or our health, or how we feel, then the only way for it to change, is if WE change; if our thinking changes. Remember, the change starts within. The act of just questioning a behavior that is so mechanical is a HUGE step, because we are beginning to break down the pattern of the repeated behavior that we are targeting needs change. Consciousness can be defined as choosing wisely, whereas unconsciousness can be defined as not seeing there is more than one option.
“None of the emotional, spiritual, mental, chemical, biological, or physiological processes can function adequately, without the nutrients required to sustain them”
TV dinners, fast-food, processed frozen foods, and other nutrient devoid food don’t give our body the nutrients it needs to be able to carry out functions of our body. If we do not get enough nutrients, we suffer from digestive problems (constipation, IBS, acid reflux disease, crohn’s disease, gas, bloating, etc), we suffer mentally (mood swings, depression, anxiety). These are all symptoms of not only a lack of nutrition, but a lack of consciousness! Have you heard of the term mindless eating? This is an example of unconscious behavior that we engage in that has a tumultuous effect on our health. This is commonly practiced through watching TV and eating simultaneously. What if instead of mindless eating, we started to become mindful? We are unable to ensure we are chewing properly, and are probably missing the goodness of each bite- the flavor, texture, and aroma of food, when the mind is hypnotized by the television set. Shifting our consciousness means that we start to look at things differently, we question learned behavior that has become repetitive and mechanical, and we start to make decisions more in alignment with the health of our community and ourselves. If we are a reflection of the world we live in, it is no wonder that the change we wish to see outside of us starts with a change inside of us first. Bon Appetite!