Eating Consciously & Seasonally for Vitality
1) What Is Your Body Doing With It?
Eat consciously. Consider, before you eat, what is the purpose of the nutrients you are about to consume? Oh, I know, maybe that chocolate just tastes good and makes you happy, right? But think about regular meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner, and some of those snacks in between. Does your body need protein for muscle function or repair? Does your body need fuel for physical activity? You’re about to eat that fresh juicy peach all by itself – that’s an awful lot of quick energy right there, are you sure your body can handle it?
Many of the food choices we make have nothing to do with our awareness of what our body needs. We eat out of convenience or emotional desire. What if you were to take command of your physical body as a powerful, functioning tool for living a vibrant life, and gave thought to what it needed to thrive?
2) How Does It Taste?
Our tastes buds can tell us a lot about a food and whether or not it is optimal for our needs. Nature exhibits this often when animals instinctually choose certain foods over others. As good as one food might taste to one person, it might be highly unpalatable to another, and for very good reason.
Don’t be afraid to take a bite of something, and while chewing it slowly, consider – how does this taste? Do I really like it? One bite, two bites, five bites – and those nuts you’re eating might start to taste… well, not as good as they did at the first bite. That’s good! That’s telling you something. That’s your body telling you that 5 nuts was exactly what you needed and no more.
In a culture where people want to put boundaries on the types of food that you should and should not eat, let your awareness of your body’s own taste buds dictate your food choices and set your own boundaries.
3) How Does It Feel
We all know that feeling when food doesn’t digest optimally. Bloating, gas, heartburn and other discomforts are possible. Steps one and two above are the precursors for optimum digestion. Sure, you might be aware that certain foods don’t digest well for you at certain times. But when? And how much? If optimum digestion is the key to optimum health, then optimum awareness of your physical body’s unique cravings throughout the day is equally important for optimum health.
Using what we call Intuition is key to “listening” to what your body has to say. How did that peach “feel” as you at it? Slow down and listen. If you are attentive, your food is either going to “feel right” or “feel wrong.”
4) What Did Your Ancestors Do With It?
Look around your environment and tell me what you see and feel. Is foliage lush or sparse? Is it warm? Humid? Dry? Cold? If you were self-sustainable, what kind of food would you grow or source, and how would you spend your days? Would you spend your warm summer days outside, walking slowly, picking peaches and tomatoes, taking dips in the local water? Or would you need to hunt for food from animal sources due to scarcity of plants?
Taking stock of your environment is also key to making solid nutritional choices. In addition to knowing your Primal Pattern Diet, the seasonal availability of local food can help guide us as we choose foods for our palate and physical activity. If it’s availably locally, chances are it may be the perfect food for your optimal nutritional needs in your own environment, provided you are living closer to harmony with nature. Hint: Living on a basket of fruit all day while you’re sitting in your office chair in air conditioning is not optimum for most people.
5) Climate – Food and What Gives It Life
Nature’s abundance comes from climate change. Even the harshest of climates have their own seasons of birth and death. It’s important to recognize that even our own eating patterns need to have cycles of birth and death in order to be in harmony with nature. That’s why we eat season to season, sometimes light food, sometimes heavy food. Few indigenous peoples have had access to abundant food at all times, for nature itself has its own cycle of birth and death.
Choosing to respect Nature’s own laws by mimicking her seasons, even in this culture of on-demand abundance, opens us to greater respect for all life.
If you’re interested in conscious eating, check out our Nutrition Coaching.