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Our Complex Relationship With Food: The 4 Elements

Our relationship with food tells us much about who we are. Food is meant to be our fuel, our nourishment. But for many of us, instead it’s become a cause of frustration, a crutch for emotions and an endless source of conflict as we search for the latest and greatest diet to help us reach our desired weight. Focusing on the more fundamental functions of food and the need for a clean, nutrient-rich diet can help us release some of the anxiety surrounding what we eat and, instead, eat with purpose and peace. When we evaluate our relationship with food, we can learn a great deal about ourselves.

The Elements of Food

Food is more than meets the eye. There are four elements we need to consider about the food we eat: the biological, psychological, social and spiritual elements. The biological aspect includes the physical nutrients that make up the food and have the power to heal us and fuel our bodies. The psychological aspect encompasses how food affects our moods and emotions. Socially, we consider who we are sharing the meal with and how this gathering affects our choices and warms our hearts. Spiritually, we can connect mindfully with our food and feel deep appreciation for the wonder of its growth and nourishment.

Our Relationship With Food

Each of us is more than just a physical being. We are magnificent, spiritual beings, too! When we nourish the body, we are feeding and fueling that spark of life within us. Our bodies are precious to us, so it’s imperative that we treat them with the reverence they deserve! We do this by eating clean, nutrient-rich diets and eating mindfully. Eating affects more than simply our digestion; it affects all of the elements mentioned above. What you eat and how you consume food touches our physical, spiritual, emotional and social health.

Building a Healthy Relationship With Food

Our Complex Relationship With Food: The 4 ElementsChanging the way you fuel your body requires a number of shifts. Consider these questions before your next meal:

  • Will this food positively fuel my physical being? How has the food in front of you made you feel in the past? If it’s something high in sugar, does the momentary satisfaction mean more to you than the sluggish feeling you receive later? Natural fruits, vegetables and lean meats are the fuels that make most people physically feel the best, and a healthful diet is love for your body.
  • What can I do to control the spiritual effect of this food? Can you sit quietly for a moment in appreciation of the food before you eat? Eat slowly and mindfully, using your senses to fully take in and feel gratitude for your meal. Consider all of the wonderful processes that food has been through to land on your plate! The interconnected nature of the world around us is incredible to ponder.
  • What emotions do I have attached to this food? Do I have past experiences that affect how this food makes me feel? Is this simply a craving for an emotion and not actually for this unhealthy food? Allow yourself to feel the emotions and work through them.
  • How is my social setting affecting my food choices right now? Are others influencing your choices in a social setting? Always think about what feels right for you, and allow these feelings to ground you in your own personal truth. Is your situation forcing you to eat on the go? Find ways to slow down and add mindfulness to your meals.

Our relationships with food can be complex and laden with history. If you could use some assistance sorting through your emotions and building a plan for a healthier relationship with food, please contact me! We can work through all of the elements together and bring peace and health to the meals you consume.

A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.

This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.

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