“Transformational nourishment means that our bodies, hearts, minds, and spirits are open and willing to take in the nourishment that’s offered. To do this, we have to believe that we are valuable and worthy to receive.”
— from If the Buddha Came to Dinner
Nourishment isn’t about getting it right. It isn’t about sticking to a diet, no matter what. In fact, transformational nourishment isn’t a diet at all, but a way of deeply listening and responding to your needs for vitality, clarity, creativity, passion, and growth. In time, practice will reward you with the gift of your inner wisdom, which knows exactly what you need to take care of yourself.
Each Bite of Food Is an Opportunity to Pay Attention
How can food and feeding ourselves be a spiritual practice? Transformational nourishment is profoundly practical and experiential. Because we consume food so regularly, we have the opportunity to pay attention to our inner selves every day, multiple times a day. Each time you put something in your mouth you have an opportunity to practice awareness. Each morsel of food, each cup of tea is an invitation to be alert and responsive to your nourishment needs.
Food comes directly from the source of all life. Because our food comes from the source of life, it gives us an opportunity to connect to the divine each and every time we place something in our mouths. To support our spiritual development, along with our physical and emotional well-being, we need to feed ourselves foods that are closest to the source as possible. These are vital essence foods, foods that are available in their appropriate season and have undergone little to no processing or chemical treatment.
Feed yourself local, seasonal produce so that you establish a connection to the earth’s rhythms and feed yourself in harmony with the seasons. When possible, purchase organic produce, grains, and free-range or hormone- and antibiotic-free animal products. Establish a relationship with the source of your food by knowing the geographical area where it was grown and who prepared or cooked it before it ends up on your kitchen table.
Changing a lifetime’s food patterns doesn’t happen overnight. I always suggest people start gradually, like substituting one food for a more beneficial item. When you feel the benefits of one positive change, it naturally will lead you to take another step. You can learn more gentle suggestions and tips for putting nourishment into daily practice in my book If the Buddha Came to Dinner: How to Nourish Your Body to Awaken Your Spirit.