I recently observed the comments feed on a message that was posted by one of my friends. A lot of her self-written posts are about loving yourself and people often respond with lovely comments all over her wall. But this time the comments were different, as she was voicing her frustration over being criticized for sharing a photo online, of her frying eggs for breakfast.
She got quite the heat and backlash from some of her vegan friends, and a few unsubscribed from her feed as a result. But the point why I am bringing this up, is because it really got me thinking of just how often some people are so quick to attack and criticize others for the things they eat, rather than being mindful with their own eating habits.
I believe, and I am sure many others will agree, that being mindful with your food is one of the greatest acts of self-love and it is far more important than the gluten-free, Zen-vegan diet you think is going to save your soul! ~ Hanni Love
I practiced the raw vegan diet for nearly a year while I worked for the Hippocrates Health Institute, and I stayed vegetarian for over five years after that. And yes, I also plead guilty for being one of the annoying friends going through the phase of trying to preach my healthy vegan lifestyle to everyone… After all, I do certainly agree that eating the best organic raw vegan food is the way to go!
BUT!!! I also learned and experienced that being strictly raw vegan isn’t always convenient and available to everyone in all places. For example, let’s take a look at western Mongolia. In some locations, hunting provides the only way to survive. There, men have used birds of prey like eagles and to hunt since the 15th century and they raise sheep and yaks for their main food source. Though it is threatened by the encroachment of globalization, the hunt remains an honorable tradition and right of passage for the Kazakh men. The skills of the hunt have been passed down through many generations. There are very specific rules on the capturing, training and handling of the birds and the animals are always treated with respect and honor. And eventually, the hunting birds are even released back into the wild. In other words, basically what I am saying, is that if you happen to end up there and you try to stick to your raw vegan diet, you better bring a big supply of food with you or you won’t survive very long, as the living conditions are quite harsh.
I had also learned that not everyone’s body is the same and reacts the same way to the same food in the same places. Actually quite the opposite, Although, we all are the same peas from the same pot, each pea has it’s own set of reactions and sensations, needs and desires, which need to be respected and observed with compassion.
To my surprise, after 10 years of observing people with different lifestyle and diets and even trying some of them myself, the one common self-love eating ritual that I have found amongst all the people that radiate with health and beauty, long and joyful life that seems to do the magic trick ….. isn’t actually what they eat, but HOW they eat it.
And what may surprise you is that this self-love ritual has less to do with loving you and lot more to do with simply loving your food!
Self-Love Ritual of Mindful Eating (a.k.a. enjoy your food more!)
Honor Your Food. Start each and every one of your meals with a gratitude affirmation or traditional prayer you prefer to use to express your appreciation.
Gratitude Affirmations Examples:
- The energy in what I eat sustains me, and I honor that fact by preparing my meals with gratitude, mindfulness, and a loving heart.
- I enjoy being in my body, and I nourish it each day.
- I enjoy healthy food without guilt. I reject society’s shaming of food for myself and for those around me.
- This food is the gift of the whole universe: the earth, the sky, numerous living beings and much hard, loving work.
- May I eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.
- May I keep my compassion alive by eating in such a way that I reduce the suffering of living beings, preserve our planet, and reverse the process of global warming.
- I accept this food so that we may nurture our sisterhood and brotherhood, strengthen our community, and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.
- I enjoy foods that are best for my body. When I eat my greens, I feel energized and abundant.
- I pay attention to where my food comes from and think about the resources that go into each meal. I am mindful of how much the earth gives to me and how much I can give back.
Acknowledge the local green market farmer who grew your potatoes and carrots, thank the person who prepared the salad or talk about other topics that help nourish your appreciation and connection to your food and each other.
Refrain from talking about work or the latest articles in the news. Refrain from arguing. This can help you make sure that you are chewing only your food, not your frustrations.
In Vietnam it is a custom to never speak bad of anyone while they are eating, so as not to disturb their eating and digestion. We can learn from this very commonsense wisdom. Eating in this way, we have the opportunity to sit with people we love and to savor precious food, something that is often scarce for many people in the world.
I hope you enjoyed learning another great tool for self-love and a new way to love and take care of yourself and your family! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
With love & gratitude,