How do we feed and nourish our bodies? In order to achieve a healthy and long-lasting relationship with food we also need to have a positive image of, and about, our body. There’s no point focusing all our energy on eating ‘well’ if we are then only to berate ourselves for all of our faults. Equally, we can only hope for a happier outlook on life if we focus on all aspects that affect us. This is something I feel passionately about, and a major part of my journey to wellness and health was realising the need for balance: it’s so much more than a balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods but a balance within. The kind of foods I am putting into my body and the thoughts that arise from such foods are powerful and this led me to discover a more plant-based approach to food, as well as focusing on unrefined sugars and wholegrains.
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Following my personal journey with food, learning about the foods that I love, the foods that my body, mind and soul love, I started to broaden my approach. I read books, websites, blogs, you name it… on nutrients, ingredients and lifestyle choices.
This led me to discover food energetics, with a more seasonal and wholegrain approach to cooking. It goes without saying that food has energy, but have you thought that food IS energy? Different foods contain different amounts and types of energy which will affect our bodies in different ways. Think of porridge: it’s creamy, familiar and heart-warming. So, we feel nourished, warmed and comforted. Now think of an energy ball. It’s nutrient-dense, compact and can leave us feeling a bit ‘tight’ and sometimes a bit heavy.
Eating the energy of the food affects us physically and emotionally:
“Cooking is taking nature from the outside and transforming it into energy and life force on the inside” as quoted from the podcast mentioned below.
The other night, I was relaxing in the bath, surrounded by fragrant bubbles, a glowing candle and I was listening to Nicky Clinch’s latest podcast The Healing Power of Food and several things jumped out at me. For those of you who don’t know Nicky, she is a trained Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Life Counsellor, Chef and Teacher and someone who inspires me. In the podcast she talks about her training in macrobiotics and I found her talking of balance and diet really revolutionary.
Macrobiotics is a philosophy derived from traditional Chinese medicine and also from Japan. Everything in the universe is made of the two polarising energies: Yin and Yang. Together they make perfect balance and harmony. In this way, life is about recreating and re-finding this optimum balance between Yin and Yang. Seasons flow, our bodies flow, life flows in order to re-store this alignment. Foods have a different energy quality, it is either Yin or Yang, and we can use it to restore an imbalance in our bodies. Therefore, nourishing our body is about learning how to dance with balance, from Yin and Yang and from Yang to Yin. Signs of imbalance may be present themselves as illness, disease, health symptoms, feeling out of sorts, or feeling like we are not being ourselves. Thinking about food then becomes so much more than ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ it is about an individual need for different foods because of the energy they contain.
I always say that we are all unique – what I need to stay in balance is very different to what you will need to stay in balance for example. That said, your own needs to stay in balance change seasonally. In the winter, I crave warming bowls of Sweet Potato Chilli and Indulgent Hot Chocolates, while in the spring, my body asks for more raw Kale Grain Salads with Tahini Dressing and fresh Nice Cream. I love eating this way as I feel more in tune with the seasons, and what is going on outside of my kitchen. There’s nothing better than a fresh British strawberry in the summer months, so I now don’t buy them out of season: a) they are twice the price and b) the taste is always disappointing. Equally, I get so excited for roasted butternut squash when the weather gets cooler.
Eating this way is nothing new, but I hope I have offered a fresh perspective on what it means to live, eat and be in balance.
Listen to your body!