*** BBR Editorial Note: What a treat to read something so aligned with the BBR Philosophy on eating habits! When someone else articulates an idea as beautifully as JoAnne Dodgson does in this piece, we post it as is (emphasis ours). Hope you enjoy.***
Reclaiming Food As Sacred Medicine: Spiritual Dimensions of Traditional Diets | BB Repost [Excerpt]
“We seem to have forgotten how essential it is to generously nourish and love ourselves. Without self-love and ample nourishment, we don’t have the necessary resources to be healthy and thrive. We’re not able to love others unconditionally if we’re judging our own bodies.” – JoAnne Dodgson
Spirit of Nourishment
In the ways of our ancestors, food is understood to be a gift from the earth. In diverse indigenous cultures, the plants and animals who serve as primary food sources are revered in spiritual practices, stories, symbols and art.
Nourishment is found not only in the foods which are harvested, hunted, eaten and shared.
Nourishment is felt in the people’s intrinsic connection with all the beings involved – the animals, plants and birds, the earth, waters and sun. Food is sacred medicine – a giving and receiving of essential gifts which nourish the continuance of life.
In our contemporary industrialized societies, we have lost touch with the very essence of food, with the vital spirit of nourishment. Our grocery stores, kitchens and restaurants are stocked with products that compromise our health.
Blindly settling for a convenient quick fix, we fill ourselves up with impostor foods no matter the cost to our personal health, to the well-being of others, to the sustainability of life on the planet. Lacking essential nutrients, we end up ill and fatigued, stressed, numbed out and addicted.
The wise ways of traditional diets passionately invite us to remember and reclaim our instinctual knowing of true nourishment. Eating in the ways of our ancestors is about feeding ourselves in connected, creative, natural, pleasurable ways – nourishing our bodies, spirits and minds.
Even in our contemporary world, we can live with awareness of our innate relationship with the sources of our foods. We can gratefully receive the organic nutrients, energies and medicines in all that we eat, honoring the lifegiving gifts shared by our companions on the earth.
With nourishment, we awaken the potentials for health and well-being, for happiness, healing and balance within ourselves, our families and communities. The traditional ways call us to remember the spirit of nourishment, to open our awareness to the sacredness of food and the feeding of life.
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Embodying Your Body
The disregard of nourishment in our modern-day world is coupled with a collective discontent with our bodies. We battle against the very bodies we inhabit, comparing and competing, trying to measure up to dogmatic propaganda about what is “healthy” and who is “beautiful.”
The more we war against our bodies, the more we struggle with food.
In ancestral traditions, nourishment is centered in a deeply rooted love and respect for all life. Instinctively we feed those we love. We nourish what it is we want to grow.
Yet we seem to have forgotten how essential it is to generously nourish and love ourselves. Without self-love and ample nourishment, we don’t have the necessary resources to be healthy and thrive.
We’re not able to love others unconditionally if we’re judging our own bodies.
We’re not able to provide nourishment for others if we’re inadequately feeding ourselves. Reclaiming food as sacred medicine calls us to remember the vital link between nourishment and self-love.
With clients, I’ve witnessed how the transition to a traditional diet naturally invites them into a more loving relationship with their bodies. The struggles diminish as the nourishment grows.
Eating healthy animal proteins, fats, and other nutrient-dense foods creates a grounding in the body and a steady flow of sustainable energy.
Removing allergens, additives, and processed foods clears brain fog and increases mental clarity and emotional stability.
The pleasures of eating are enriched when the senses are engaged with the lush smells and tastes, the diverse colors and textures, of organic life-giving foods.
Eating in the ways of our ancestors cultivates a befriending of the body, a growing sense of being at home in one’s self. With traditional diets, we experience how incredibly satisfying and healing nourishment really feels.
We learn to listen to our bodies, rather than the cultural propaganda, to understand what keeps us healthy, in balance, happy and well.
Embodying our bodies, being present and aware rather than judging and battling, we more readily choose nutritious, delicious foods that enable us to flourish and thrive.
When we generously fill ourselves up with love and nourishment, we gain abundant inner resources which we can utilize and share to pursue the passions and purposes of our lives.
Did this article move you?
We’d love to hear why and how in the comments below and encourage you to share this with one person whose heart you think it would touch. We hope this has a positive impact on your eating habits today.