Diet, the big bad word. Dietary habits are actually the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. With the word diet, it is often implied the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons.
Humans are omnivores, each culture and each person holds some food preferences or some food taboos, due to personal tastes or ethical reasons. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy. Proper nutrition requires the proper ingestion and absorption of vitamins, minerals and food energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Dietary habits and choices play a significant role in health, mortality and can also define cultures and play a role in religion.
Food production use to go out to your garden and pick something up or go hunting. It has become a complex industry with potentially harmful effects, including the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, the mistreatment of food animals and workers, possible unintended consequences of genetic engineering, and/or obesity among the poor who lack access to healthy food.
The “Nordic Diet” book is where many of these guidelines for this post can be found. I have found that book very helpful in clearing up what you should or ought not to eat. The “Buddha Diet” book is also a great book on times and how to eat.
Eating, of course, is an essential element of our everyday experience. Something not everyone can do every day. While others engage in too much of it every hour. People usually have two or three meals a day regularly. Snacks of smaller amounts may be consumed between meals. So if you do the math, having three well-balanced meals equals about half of the plate with vegetables, 1/4 protein food item, and 1/4 carbohydrates such as pasta or rice. And up to 60% of the human adult body is water, so add in plenty of water. And something else to think about:
- Reduce food processing and packaging by eating foods as close to their original fresh state as possible.
- Reduce food waste by buying sparingly and using leftovers.
- Transform your front lawn into a garden. Growing our own food helps us tune into the seasons and to what our own local environments can support.
- Reduce transportation by eating locally produced meats, milk, grains, fruits, and vegetables whenever possible.
- Eat lower on the food chain, which would have a positive impact on health, land use, water quality and soil conservation.
- Eat and act to promote good farming/fishing practices.
Many people share an intentional moment before a meal, to dwell in gratitude. Table graces create a space for centering and give thanks for the effort and delight involved in bringing food, family, and friends together. Table graces can be silent, spoken or sung. The specific forms and words are less important than the intention of pausing in gratitude for and awareness of life’s gifts and potential.
If we can approach our daily meals with a sense of reverence, if we can recall each time we slip a forkful of food into our mouths the many wonders it took to cultivate, harvest and prepare that bite, we will be honoring our Body Temple.