There are so many food choices in our world today. From fast food and supermarkets to gourmet dining and farmer’s markets – it seems everything on the spectrum is available for consumer consumption. With this in mind, it is easy to get lured into the experience of food as one created for simple enjoyment rather than the age old notion that food is medicine. Which is it? Is food meant to be our medicine or simply another avenue of pleasure – and is there an evolution in our relationship with food or is it fixed?
A look at different perspectives
In around 431 B.C., we have Hippocrates – known as the father of modern medicine famous for his quote ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’ We are all familiar with the saying ‘you are what you eat’ and many today are proponents of vegetarianism, veganism and even raw food diets as ‘the way’ to good health. Ancient yogic wisdom speaks of ‘all things in moderation’, though points out that we are not just the body but “unbounded pure bliss consciousness” claiming nothing on this plane of reality could ever change who we ‘really are’, not even food.
Every sort of diet plan imaginable has been created and promoted for good health whether it’s a high protein, low carb diet, eating a higher fat Mediterranean diet full of nuts, fish and vegetables or the famous mushroom diet used by many celebrities today. Some say to cut back on fat, others say increase fat. Some say high protein is good, others say eating too much protein will bring negative results such as gout, kidney stones and the like. How do we know what to follow? Many people are confused and fall back on enjoyment rather than battle all the conflicting evidence. Some have made a healthy switch and swear by their results.
While doctors try and steer us in the way of health through medication and surgery, natural medicine practitioners will often prescribe a change in diet, attitude and lifestyle. Many people are taking the advise of both and using complementary therapies to assist them in feeling good and staying healthy. There seems to be more and more emphasis, however, on the foods we eat influencing our health. We can’t help but waiver between looking at food as medicine and then desiring it for simple enjoyment.
Is there an evolution?
Perhaps there is an evolution in our relationship with food that would make this whole thing much easier. Sources claim that the first step in taking control of your health and your life is to look at the foods you eat and start to make gentle changes toward ‘purer’ options. For example, switching to organic over conventional produce and buying less foods filled with additives and preservatives. As awareness increases the taste buds begin to refine. It is said by many who have switched their diets to more natural alternatives, that sugar cravings and the desire for ‘less healthy’ foods starts to dwindle as cleaner food choices replace the old chemically treated ones.
Even further still, on this path of eating evolution, we find that once less processed packaged foods are consumed and are replaced with more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains – the perspective begins to change. The way food is perceived, the interaction with food and its place in life experiences starts to shift. One becomes less ruled by the stomach and more in tune with the mind and how one is affected by what goes into the body. At this point food can become medicine in a very potent way, as the knowledge that everything entering the body has a profound effect on the experience of the body. But this is not the end of the progression still.
Those who continue their journey with food and the expansion of consciousness, at some point realize and as yogic philosophy so eloquently speaks to – we are not our bodies – but unbounded bliss consciousness. When this stage is actually reached will vary per individual, but is bound to carry with it a new detachment from food in the way it was serving the body before. Instead, food moves more into the category of existing for pleasure and enjoyment than ever before as the consumer knows himself/herself to be more vast than the body system. In this stage of the evolution of consciousness, very little can touch the aspirant, illness becomes nearly nonexistent – and if experienced at all, is seen in the light of ‘cleansing and purification’ rather than dis-ease. In awareness of the body as a fluid field of consciousness manifesting as a dense form – quantum physics takes on new meaning and the person starts to feel truly empowered by what they know themselves to be.
As you can see, there is an obvious progression in the relationship with food from enjoyment unconsciously, through the realm of food serving as medicine, back to the simple notion of pleasure again. All stages are perhaps critical in understanding more fully who we are and what we are doing here. As more and more emphasis is placed on the quality and safety of foods, we must remember that this is but one stage in the expansion of food consciousness, and eventually – it is possible to rise above this care as well. This does not mean there should be no awareness placed on the importance of food quality and medicinal benefits of food – for obviously they are there, but rather to realize it does not stop there. And for many, all stages of the game will not be reached in this life. Something to contemplate. What do you think?
Written by: Stasia Bliss
Sources: Yogic Diet; Yogic Wisdom; Huffington Post – food is thy medicine