What we put into our bodies goes so much deeper than our stomachs. It affects our moods, our emotions and our spirituality. When we are in a good mood or bad mood it can affect how we treat other people; people we care about or the person in line ahead of you. It can mean the difference between snapping at your bagger at the grocery store and a smile and pleasant conversation.
Did you know that what you feel actually affects the chemical reactions in your body? The body needs stress. It's actually good for us in small amounts. It serves a purpose in small amounts. It can help boost immunity and even brain power, but too much stress at the wrong times can be damaging and hindering to other processes. In cavemen times if we were stressed it meant we were running from a wild animal trying to survive. When you are stressed or upset, your body is in fight or flight mode. Today it might mean your boss is getting on your nerves. Well, your body doesn’t know the difference between a predator and your boss. It just knows what it needs to do.
When your body is in fight or flight mode, it’s focusing on survival. Other processes in the body become a lower priority and/or shut down completely. Digestion is one of those processes. If you’re angry, stressed or eating on the go at work, it can and will slow down and hinder your digestion making it harder to assimilate all those delicious, healthy foods you’re about to eat.
Since 70-80% of our immune system is in our gut, it makes sense that taking care of yourself will help you take care of others. But a little known fact is that about 90% of our serotonin production is in our gut, too. This is why comfort food is comfort food; it makes us FEEL good! But good, healthy foods will have an even greater affect on our mood, mental clarity and temperament.
I’ve been in a place where I wasn’t taking good care of myself and therefore wasn’t my best self. If I'm not getting enough sleep and not eating balanced meals, I become snappy, less patient and generally not happy. Think about it, if you’re in pain all the time, or uncomfortable because you’re bloated or gassy, it’s going to be a lot harder to muster up the patience for things going wrong during your day. My “cup” was empty, so to speak. I was less productive, I had WAY less patience, and got extra cranky. Something I also notice is I make food choices that aren’t optimal. They’re made out of haste and convenience.
I’ve also been on the receiving end of this stick. Living with my mom was challenging because she was stressed ALL THE TIME. She rarely got enough sleep and was addicted (like most of us) to sugar. I noticed that it directly affected our relationship because she would be rude, argumentative, spacey and just not herself at times.
Food affects your spirituality in more ways than one. Spirituality and science are one in the same. You see, everything has a vibration (that’s science!). Certain things vibrate higher and certain things lower. When you eat cooked, processed or dead food, it’s vibrating low. Although blessing can raise the vibration of foods, it’s harder to raise the vibration of something really low like a bag of Doritos than it is to raise something that’s vibrating at a moderate or high level like raw, living, organic foods. Vibrations are energy. So when you consume food, you’re consuming energy in a number of ways. You’re consuming the vibration level and also everything that came before it and anything that contributed to its being.
Let me explain. Take a pig for example. I know a lot of us would like to think that when we get grass fed, pasture raised, free roaming “pork,” it’s a super happy life the pig lives until it comes to it’s bloody, slaughter. But the fact of the matter is, if you’re getting it from a grocery store, I don't care how expensive and what kind of label is on that pork, it experienced a gory, agonizing death. You’re consuming all the energy, vibration and pain that animal went through.
If for some reason you don't believe in any of that“fru fru” stuff, we can look at physiology. Animals in factory farms are subjected to mental and emotional torture including constant loud noises, lack of or low quality sleep and physical abuse. Just like when we are in a stressful situation, certain chemical reactions happen in the body. Hormones are released, muscles tighten and change. Similar actions happen to an animal when they are scared, or stressed. Just before an animal is slaughtered hormones and toxic substances are released into their bodies that significantly alter and deteriorate the "meat."Their pH levels rise which causes discoloration in the meat (flesh). Adrenaline is released which uses up the body’s glycogen. This will cause the animal’s flesh to be tough,high in pH, tasteless and will actually spoil more quickly. This is possibly why it is common practice to dye meats brighter red.
These hormones and physical changes in the animal have negative affects on our health. Fatigue,impotence, high blood pressure and high cholesterol,diabetes and colon diseases are all associated with eating low quality and “stressed out” animal flesh.
In summation, be aware of your food choices, but also aware of your mood when you eat. Blessing your food and prayer can help put you in a calmer state before eating. It's also a great ritual (practice, whatever you want to call it) to encourage family time and get the kids involved. Invite them to say their own prayer. Who knows, maybe they'll lead the way in starting a new tradition!