Whenever I teach a class, I always get a question which pertains to diet. “Is there a way of eating spiritually?” “What should I not eat?” “As a spiritual teacher, do you drink alcohol?” And so on and so forth, and it all seems to be the same question asked many different ways.
These days the message seems to be that in order to be spiritual you have to be vegan, completely sugar-free or anything else that embraces strictness. Essentially what students and clients are inquiring about is, “should I feel guilty for eating meat, wheat, sugar or for drinking caffeine or alcohol?”
The answer is a resounding “No!”
As you continue down the path of mental health and spirituality you may notice that you have cravings for certain health foods, or you may feel the need to eliminate certain foods altogether. This has certainly been the case for me. I have definitely felt guided to eat more avocado and honey, drink more water and there is always a point in the day where I would step over my own mother just to get a cup of green tea! Just kidding Mom 😉
But as I have continued down my own path of spirituality, I have made changes to my diet all by following my inner guidance system. Eating is about slowing down, listening to yourself and enjoying the bites of goodness that you take.
The key thing to remember is that practicality is a must! As I always say, in regard to mental health practices or eating practices, if it isn’t practical, you’re going to find it hard to stay on track. So be chill about it and let your mind wrap around the new habits you’re creating.
But above all, don’t feel guilty! If you feel guilty for what you are eating then you are polluting your food with that energy and you are also inviting your body to reject what you’re taking in.
Remember what I wrote about in the blog sent the week before Christmas in regard to sacrifice… Sacrifice is an ego issue, a device designed to make you feel guilty and like a victim, so if you feel like you’re sacrificing then you’re identifying with your ego and again, you’re not going to stay on track for very long. So lose the sacrifice for it just reinforces your unconscious guilt!
Food is very important, it is a major part of what fuels us as beings and
contributes to how we behave in the world. We have a personal responsibility to feel good about it!
Eating, like anything else, begins as a mental process. Preparing our food, putting it on a fork and chewing and swallowing are the actions, but everything else around eating like, what to make? What should I eat? How do I feel about what I eat? These are the questions which fuel our mentality around eating.
If we don’t eat then we are crabby and reactionary. If we eat a lot of sugar, we end up being hyperactive and strengthen the body’s addiction to sugar. If we eat too much we feel full, sluggish and guilty. If we have too much dessert, we again feel guilty.
What are your thoughts like around food? Is it a healthy relationship?
A Loving Perspective of Self
The most important tip for maintaining a healthy attitude towards food is to maintain a healthy attitude about yourself. Caring about yourself and heightening your self-esteem are going to be your greatest allies in regard to eating healthfully!
Personally, I’m not a calorie counter. I couldn’t tell you the amount of calories in a slice of bread for I am so ignorant on the topic. I also can only give you a rough guess as to how much I weigh. To me the numbers aren’t important, it’s how I feel about myself which counts. I like to use the mirror as my gauge for how I’m doing with my eating and workouts. But the ultimate thing I use the mirror for is to look at myself right in the eyes and tell myself, “I love you.” Every day, after my shower I hold my hand over my heart and remind myself that my body is to be used as a communicator of love in this world and that I am grateful for what I am.
What this mirror exercise (popularized by Louise Hay) does is reinforce in my mind what my body’s true purpose is, an exercise which helps to eliminate ego judgments.
We all come in different shapes and sizes, none of which matter. A heart is a heart, a mind is a mind and that is how I choose to see myself and others. This is a very mentally healthy perspective because it keeps us all equal (which we absolutely are!!) and the body will follow the loving perspective of the mind.
So, when it comes to eating and drinking, I know that I’m fueling my body to do helpful things in this world and to enjoy the activities of my daily life. As a spiritual person I do drink coffee, red wine, Guinness and sometimes have meat (which I’m picky about but I do eat it from time to time) and also, there is no way in hell I’m ever going to give up on pasta! But I feel good about everything I eat because, like my thoughts, if I don’t feel good about it, I don’t want it.
Be comfortably you. Be gentle with yourself and let your mind get used to any healthy habits you want to create. These things aren’t done overnight, like our habit of relating with the ego, it takes time to switch our habits back to thinking with Love consistently.
So, with a healthy perspective in mind I wanted to offer up some healthy food choices which help slim down the tummy area (as this is the area of the body I hear the most complaints about, from both men and women).
Tummy Slim-Down Foods
– Blueberries; these little gems are amazing for slimming down the stomach area. Splurge on Organic for if you don’t then you are missing out on the antioxidants which fight free radicals.
– Oats; real oats! Not processed quick oats flavoured with palm sugar. Oats are excellent for slimming down stomach fat! I like to top my oatmeal with cinnamon, organic plain yogurt, honey and organic blueberries. Note: I have also stopped buying Quaker Oats and have switched to a local brand because Quaker is part of the problem of wiping out the forests in Indonesia for production of palm sugar and because I don’t feel good about that, I don’t eat their products (Watching my mentality!)
– Green Tea; the ultimate tummy slimmer! Green Tea is loaded with antioxidants called catechins, L-Theanine, and ECGC’s (Epigallocatechin Gallate) which all boost metabolism. Green Tea also boosts your fat burning capabilities while you work out!
– Water; Drink more water as it helps to flush out toxins and also helps your body to hydrate and actually eliminates water being held stagnantly in your system. Ideally you should be urinating once every hour.
– Watch your sugar intake! The easiest way to slim down your stomach area is to be aware of hidden sugars. Cooking with fresh food and making your own sauces, salad dressings and soups can really help you eliminate added sugars put in food products by the food industry.
As a perk, here is my Blueberry Bran Muffin Recipe which I created when I was working as a Baker a few years ago!
Fiona’s Blueberry Bran Muffin Recipe
½ cp. Unsalted Butter, softened
½ cp. Maple Syrup
1 Egg White
1 cp. Wheat Bran
1 cp. Oats
½ cp. Plain Yogurt
½ cp. Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 tsp. Vanilla
¾ cp. Whole Wheat Flour
2 tbsp. Ground Almonds
¼ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Cinnamon
¼ tsp. Nutmeg
2 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
1 cp. Blueberries
Ground Walnuts and Cinnamon
– In mixing bowl, cream together unsalted butter and maple syrup
– Add eggs and egg whites one at a time until smooth
– Add vanilla, plain yogurt then apple sauce
– Add wheat bran and oatmeal
– In a separate bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, ground almonds, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda
– Add dry ingredients into the mixing bowl mixture until just combined
– Fold in blueberries
– Scoop out generously (as these do not rise very much)
– Sprinkle with ground walnuts and cinnamon
– Bake at 325 F, for 18-20 min.