All my life, I have encountered people who proudly proclaim that they don’t eat “poor little lambs” or “bambies,” and that “this is where I draw the line.” They hold these animals in such high esteem that they would not sacrifice them for food. I have often wondered: Just what are the sentiments we hold for the animals we do eat, or for anything we eat? Does it make sense that we should only eat that which we despise? But then, there are also those who feel so bewildered by frogs or snails that they would never-ever consider them as food on their plates…. . So, should I conclude that people only eat what they find moderately disgusting? Oh, life is full of puzzles!
It seems to me that we should always hold what we eat in the highest esteem. Without respect for the fact that we are eating another living entity—regardless whether it is vegetable or animal—we will not be grateful for its sacrifice. Yet gratitude is what dignifies eating. It is the spiritual component of an otherwise quite mundane and base activity, and it is this which turn eating into a feast and a celebration of life. When eating with a mindset of gratitude and respect, our food does not just fill our stomachs, but it also nourishes our soul with joy—naturally! Without, however, it will only make us tired and probably give us heartburn, indigestion or gout. This is so because our soul continues to go hungry. If we eat because we think we must, then eating becomes just another chore.
“Fast food” was born from this attitude, because the faster we get done with a necessary evil, the better. Or we eat because we have nothing better to do, as a substitute for that better thing we (our hearts and souls) are truly longing for. Then our bodies will try and show us that we have been looking in the wrong place and that our “solution”—food—or the way we went about it, did not address the real problem.
It is nonsense—even grotesque—to seek to derive pleasure from anything we actually find disgusting, if we really thought about it. Demeaning the source of our pleasure is to degrade the entire activity and, with it, its effect—for everyone involved. Eating “with an attitude” squeezes the joy right out of it. Just think how you feel when your loved ones silently wrote into your job description to prepare and serve food and pick up after them all the time, and then turn around and disrespect you if you actually do! It is natural to receive gratitude for the joy we want to bring; it should be completely self-understood! To hope for gratitude and respect for services is just as natural as hoping for joy in life. When those who have the heart to serve are being demeaned as “only a server,” the sacrifice was in vain: The giver becomes sad, depressed and sick. S/he will have less and less joy, love and health to put into the helping activity, while the recipients grow ever more arrogant, greedy and thus devoid of love as well. Nature is such a giver to our human family, as a whole, just like the mother is in the nuclear family. Lack of gratitude and respect have been depressing many a loving caregiver, to include our plant and animal kingdoms who so happily give and sacrifice themselves, for each other’s and for our survival and joy.
Meanwhile, in our great land of plenty, we have created an art of turning food into “culinary experiences.” Some cooks are now “Chefs,” with corresponding clout and pay, while “regular” cooks may still make as little as minimum pay. Still, there is the vastly unappreciated cook at home. This new culinary art uses exotic spices and herbs, creates color, texture and temperature diversity on the plate, and much visual appeal to create excitement beyond “the ordinary,” mere physical effect on stimulating glands and the digestive process. I call many such creations “plate paintings,” for all the effort spent on appearance. The excitement we seek, beyond all physical aspects of eating, is really joy. Let us not lose sight of this. Appreciation for the chef is one thing; yet, without gratitude for the once live ingredients, we are but disguising—mostly from ourselves—our unwillingness to honor sacrifice. Consumers need be careful to not bring mundane attitudes to the table, as their own mental and emotional input to the meal, while expecting joy in return, else the derived pleasure is not from a healthy, natural source. The well from which all joy bubbles is an open, loving heart, which is naturally respectful and grateful for all it receives. Pleasure derived by any other means will have negative side effects, no matter how skillfully the food was crafted and painted on the plate!
Even though we could and should, it is much less likely that we are grateful for a sacrifice from a creature we do not respect. Some we just disrespect out of arrogance, some because of ignorance. Others we disrespect for one or more of their characteristics, i.e., looks, smell or lifestyle. We are what WE EAT, AT LEAST IN PART. The consumer’s attitude plays one part in the food’s effect; the animal or plants plays another. Yet do animals and plants have “attitudes”? I’d say, of course they do! An animal stalking another for prey, a pig anxiously awaiting its trot to be filled or sniffing and digging for truffles…has thoughts and emotions about that. Those may not necessarily be what we humans would like to infer (e.g., even the most ferocious animal may not feel disrespect for its prey but, rather, engage in joyous, masculine play with a presumed equal), but they are nevertheless a mental/emotional construct we commonly call attitude, in a more or less rudimentary form. Some creatures are, in fact, much more aggressive than others, whereby plants are obviously the least tense and aggressive. Why is it that the consumption of unadulterated, fresh berries is perceived as so very satiating and pleasing by most people? While meditating on this, I discovered that the plant puts its utmost joy and pride into producing its fruit—its purpose for living. Once, I almost killed very happy lovage plant by clipping its flowering stalks; I had listened to too many gardening books recommending this procedure for plants whose flowers we humans do not desire, in order to redirect strength into the plant and roots. Instead, however, this plant lost its joye de vivre! Since then, I have never clipped all of a plant’s flowers again, and my garden remained happy. There are, in fact, happy and unhappy animals, as well as happy and unhappy plants. A watermelon specifically bred seedless for human convenience is, in effect,, a castrated creature which has lost some of its most life and joy-giving capacities. The melon’s flesh is still sweet yet somewhat chalky, and it can certainly not bring us, mentally and emotionally, that which it itself does not possess—JOY! Nothing comes from nothing.
Religions of different cultures, through the ages, have promoted and inhibited the consumption of certain foods. The fact that it is religion which advocates these restrictions, should give us a hint that the reasons are more than just physical, e.g., not just the fear of certain physical diseases (like trichinosis from pork). Those of us who meditate know, from first-hand experience, that the consumption of pork or even beef has a retarding effect on mental, emotional and spiritual uplift, and that there is a difference between the effect of eating happy free-range chickens or even eggs, versus those chickens kept in tiny stalls, without movement and natural interaction with each other. We eat, physically, for the energy contained in food for our body to keep functioning. Further, we eat with our entire organism, including the houses of our thoughts and emotions (our mind or soul which are nothing but energy, containing information, since energy = information). Our minds require different information/energy than our bodies. From food, information enters our mind from consuming another organism in its entirety, including its thoughts and emotions. Knowing this will help investigate and understand the many ill-effects of today’s food and eating habits. It should also help us select more deliberately, and to eat much more consciously and mind-fully (with our mind engaged) than before.
At this point, let me issue an urgent and most sincere warning regarding toxins, deliberately added medication and drugs in our food, so-called “designer foods” and, specifically, genetically modified food. Much of what is found in grocery stores today is concocted in chemical laboratories and, in the case of GMO’s, pesticide factories. They are laden with ingredients that are not—or no longer exactly—food at all. Just compare the listed ingredients to what we have on our spice racks and in pantries at home! In case of genetically modified organisms, the dangers are even less obvious, as the plant will show no outward signs of having genetically altered DNA. The principle guiding the subtle energy realm is like to like, i.e., what we ingest seeks to bind with similar or like materials in our own body. Therefore, it goes to reason, that we profoundly alter our DNA, over time, in untold ways, by ingesting GMO’s. Knowing what I know about subtle energies, all of this constitutes an outrageous crime against humanity, which no motive can justify. We should not spare any effort demanding and stressing the importance of not only clean food, but definitely for real food only.
Still, even more important than what we eat is our attitude—how we eat. This is so because the more subtle energy permeates all denser energy. Since attitudes, motivation and intent are energetically more subtle than our physical bodies, those take precedence. While more subtle, motivation is the stronger energy. It is said that the Archangel Raphael was walking the earth at one time where he reportedly ate rocks to satisfy his insatiable need for energy in our realm. The rocks seemed to have vanished at his lips (transformed into pure energy)! Recognizing our human/divine capacity to co-create by means of our conscious intent, we can uplift any energy/information by the mere act of a blessing! I have found that, after blessing my food, I eat much less. The meal is much more satisfying and satiating, in every respect, much sooner. Another way of “blessing” food is to simply devote the meal to a higher goal, a purpose beyond that of physical sustenance, e.g., to celebrate something. This purpose might be a wedding, a family gathering, Easter, Christmas, Sunday or, quite simply, the end of a day in dutiful service. The corresponding mindset makes the meal festive, even if we cannot afford gourmet food. It turns an otherwise mundane act of eating into a celebration. Contrarily, even the most creative and expensive gourmet food can become mundane, if used to satisfy mundane reasons, while never quite satisfying us, making us sick and still craving more. Let us remember that we eat because we want to live! Therefore, it must be a conscious expression of loving life. Coupling the act of eating with this full awareness, turns a meal into pure joy. If we don’t, eating doesn’t make much sense at all, which is why severely depressed individuals lose their appetite completely. To eat while despising vast aspects of one’s life or life in general, perverts the function of every meal. Food becomes a substitute for real joy and hence becomes addictive.
In America today, few of us remember being actually hungry or starving, at least not for food. We are much more pre-occupied with dieting than with trying to stay physically alive. Admittedly, this can change, in a fluctuating economy. Yet many of us would actually benefit skipping a meal here and there. If we still sit down at the family table at night or at breakfast, it is, in fact, for a “bigger reason.” This reason is to celebrate togetherness and being a family. The function is…to commune! Every cook knows that, having just finished preparing a meal, s/he cannot relax enough to really taste and enjoy the food. What makes the meal “a good meal” for the cook, instead, is the knowledge that s/he facilitated communion and joy among those who came together over the meal. So let me add a few more words for the cook and on food preparation:
The cook represents the final element in the eating process, adding energy/information to the meal, next to consumer and ingredient characteristics. As already stated, a sad (also lowly regarded/paid) cook will cook this sadness as an energetic thumbprint into the food. In the absence of any other blessing, this becomes the meal’s “blessing” or dedication. Mindfulness is important in any activity, as it largely contributes to its outcome and effect. Yet it is particularly important when preparing products which are ingested and intended for other people. If I sincerely wish for people to relax and rejoice at my party, and if I hold this wish as I am making the preparations, I have been able to observe much more laughter, less “work talk,” and fewer negative sentiments among my party guests. My dedication can free people up to show more interest in each other and to dare be compassionate…because these are human attributes I treasure and consciously want to promote. Let me assure you that turning your culinary creations into a manifested wish for yourself and others (“cooking a wish into the food”) is truly possible, and that this idea, just like the idea of a blessing, is by no means, new: Perhaps you are familiar with the novel, Like Water for Chocolate, or, more recently, the motion picture, Simply Irresistible.
In the 21st century, “wishful thinking” is no longer “just” an idea, if it ever was. Since the advent of studying subtle energies, there is mounting scientific research into the effects of conscious intentionality. The Science of Consciousness is among us. I encourage everyone to find and explore this most fascinating data of our times, just as I encourage you to eat…
Lilo Bauer-Freitag is a conventional psychotherapist who ventured into the areas of subtle energy dynamics and phytotherapy. As a so-called “sensitive” and “medical intuitive,” Lilo incorporates a variety of skills into her repertoire, e.g., Chakra Therapy, Regression Therapy, and the subtle energy properties of herbs and flower essences. As a holistic advocate and ordained minister in Virginia, Lilo is devoted to stimulating cooperation within the scientific, spiritual, professional, legal and political environment for holism in America. Her efforts include the coining of one common language across the disciplines, to define the holistic world view (or paradigm) and the integration of all healthcare into one. She authored the book, “Healing: The Emerging Holistic Paradigm” and several related articles. For a copy of her book, visit her Amazon link.