Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dietary Shifts and Food Needs in the Spiritual Awakening Process

spiritual food, spirituality, spiritual awakening, blog
The Maize of Dietary Needs
As with everything else on the spiritual path, the body is also changed and metamorphosized. In spiritual awakening, we are realigning to what is true for ourselves: heart, mind, and body. Consequently, some of you have bigger or lesser shifts in your diet, depending on your relationship to food. For me, I have had quite a few shifts in my dietary needs, although it is probably more accurate to say that I had a lot of new insights into what my dietary needs actually are.

So with that and with humility, let us start to delve into the topic of shifting into awareness of our body's true dietary needs.


The Food You Eat and What Your Body Wants

In a spiritual awakening, the light flips on, and you are suddenly confronted by many of your true needs and your great issues. Until then, you've been stumbling around and choosing to blame life for the stumbling blocks you often hit. You may even have gone the road of creating a huge "spiritual" persona and gone and done a whole bunch of things to prove to yourself that you are spiritual instead of actually paying attention to yourself. Awakening changes that, and if you haven't really paid attention to what you've been eating, you may be shocked to suddenly find mealtime is a whole new ballgame.

Because most people are eating what they are familiar with and what they think they need. They are not actually eating what their bodies' want. With awakening, the body's needs--like everything else--are screaming loud. So if your body now needs kale regularly, that is what you're going to be eating. It can be really humbling for many people in this meat-and-potatoes culture to suddenly find out that animal protein and starch are really not what their bodies need. Or perhaps, some of you have been floating so high and avoiding heavy issues that you need the meat and potatoes to pull you down back into your bodies. Whatever you need, your body will be telling you--EMPHATICALLY.


The Many Food Myths of an Unhealthy Culture

Western society is gradually poisoning itself. In a world of information and wealth, some of us in the wealthiest nations are increasingly ignorant about the most basic and essential things such as how to nourish ourselves. I'm not inclined to blame anyone or point fingers, but I can say that much of how many of us now eat is completely new. Most human beings for millenia were not eating as much sugar, simple carbohydrates, salt, fats, preservatives, and many other things. Now, I don't proclaim to be a historical nutritionist, so those of you better informed can let me know if there were other cultures who did this in the past. But the simple fact is that we don't need to eat all the alcohol, hamburgers, ice cream cones, and french fries that we're eating, and furthermore, it's just flat out unhealthy.

Of course, the myth in our culture is that this is somehow normal or healthy or otherwise okay. This--like any myth in life--is a problem because until you realize that these are problems, you cannot make changes to heal or come into alignment with yourself. Which is why I'm writing for those of you who have awakened and are super confused as to why you can't eat the way you used to. Well, it wasn't healthy to eat that way, and your body is now telling you that. It's as simple as that.


The Trend Towards Vegetarianism

I'm not into building dietary needs into identities. Lots of people are doing that now, and they're creating mental constructs to demonize people who eat meat as somehow immoral or cruel. Any time you see this type of thinking, you know that the ego is at work. However, my experience is that my body generally needs much less animal protein than I'd been taught growing up, and there are certainly plenty of ways to get most of the nutrition you need from plants. I'm not vegetarian, by-the-way. I'm just me, and I listen to my body. If tomorrow my body wants pork chops, I'm going to find some pork chops that came from a farm where the pigs were humanely raised. Otherwise, I don't really worry about it, and I encourage you to not worry about it too much. Just stay tuned in to your body every day, and it will tell you what it wants.


The Energetic and Physical Flushing of the System

However, some of you will have so much unhealthy stuff stuck in you that you may be more extreme in your initial dietary shifts or even lose your appetite. This is often part of the initial shift from asleep to awakened states because your body is trying to clear out a whole bunch of built up junk all at once. Some of you may even want to not eat food at all, but I encourage you to be very cautious about this. I am always careful about mentioning fasting during this time for a couple of reasons:

  1. Old ideas about body image like to hang around, and this isn't meant as a weight-loss program to achieve a body shape.
  2. It's really easy to get out of balance and ungrounded.
  3. And if your body needs to, you'll naturally do it anyway.
 So, for some of you, food will become a major challenge, and while I can't tell any one of you specific food to eat, I always recommend drinking LOTS of water as you shift and clear out stuff. That always seems to help people detox.

Additionally, it can feel very overwhelming to have your whole mental framework, emotional foundation, and physical body being run through the wringer, so I definitely encourage you to not idealistically take more extreme measures, like going raw foods vegan to clear things out faster. You are going as fast you need to, and your body is built to naturally heal itself given the chance. Trust that it is doing this.


Rediscovering Food Again and Again

I've found that just as I figured out what foods worked for me for one shift, another shift comes along and changes my dietary needs again. That's part of the reason that I don't want to generalize too much. I can tell you that heavier foods like animal protein can be helpful if you get too ungrounded, but you still probably won't want a lot of meat. The ole beans and rice combo tends to be a really solid grounding food instead of eating meat, however. Salads and most plant-based foods are really great to help elevate your energy, and for whatever reasons, that helps to move and heal issues that are stuck in the lower energy centers such as shame. Don't ask me why this works, but that's been my experience.

Consequently, I encourage you to explore new foods and recipes. If you have a friend who is a good cook, it might be a good time to set up some trades with that person to help you navigate the expansive world of food. I don't profess to be the greatest cook in the world, but I've done all right in figuring out new stuff to nourish me. I have to admit, it sure would have been nice to have someone else helping to figure out the food stuff for me in the last five years with everything else that was going on internally.


Everything Is Interconnected

If you are still wondering why the body gets influenced so much by awakening, it's simply because everything is interconnected. It is the densest form of energy in your life. Just because you can mentally understand where you are and emotionally be with something doesn't mean your body understands it yet. It understands the world through the physical and through sensation. When awakening is rooted in the body, however, it is an amazingly powerful and grounded experience. From this foundation, you truly can move mountains, and when you do decide to, you will have the integrity to do so wisely.

That's the big thing here: wisdom. Wisdom is responsible. There's been too much irresponsibility in the world in general, and this includes how we've fed ourselves. I encourage you to embrace this opportunity to learn how to wisely nourish yourself. You only get one body in this lifetime, and your awakening is simply helping you see how to really live and thrive in it.

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.
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