Soul Food For The Heart

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.
-Rumi

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Remember a favorite food from your childhood, one that makes you feel great after you eat it for no specific reason. Maybe it is an aromatic rice dish, a slow-simmered stew, ice cream cones or a grilled cheese sandwich. Eating comfort foods (every now and then) can be incredibly healing, even though your rational brain might not consider it highly nutritious.

Food has the ability to affect us on a deeper level than just our physical health. What we eat can remind us of beautiful memories, like childhood playtimes, family gatherings, holidays, our grandmother’s cooking or our country of ancestry. Our bodies remember foods from the past on an emotional and cellular level. Eating such food reconnects us to our roots and has youthening and nurturing effects that go far beyond the food’s nutritious or bio-chemical composition.

Being mindful about what different foods mean to us is an important part of developing a healthy relationship with our food. This month when we celebrate love and relationships, it’s important to be aware that we each have a relationship with our food — and that this relationship is often far from loving. Many of us restrict food, attempting to control our weight. We often abuse food, substituting it for emotional well-being. Others ignore food, swallowing it whole before we’ve even tasted it.

What would your life be like if you treated food and your body as you would treat your beloved – with gentleness, playfulness, communication, honesty, respect and love? The next time you eat your soul food, do so with awareness and without guilt, and enjoy all the healing and nourishment it brings to your being. Though it’s okay to occasionally enjoy your favorite traditional or childhood foods, it is still important to try to find or develop healthier versions of those foods that will be nourishing for both our bodies and souls.

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