Meditation changes everything. As I become more mindful, I find myself thinking more about the foods that I eat. I ask myself why I am eating something. I ask myself what I am eating and where it came from. It’s not surprising that I’m eating less and less meat and, that since I’ve taken the time to research the dairy farming industry in America, I’ve been cutting back on my dairy consumption significantly.
Of course, you don’t need to be meditating to be curious or thoughtful about where your food comes from. But for me, meditation has increased my need to feel integrity in my daily life. Asking where my food comes from and contemplating the foods I eat (and why) has become almost automatic at this point.
One of the more beneficial results of all this contemplation: I realized that food doesn’t always have to taste incredible.
For most of my life I had this idea that the foods I ate should always and without fail taste ridiculously good. I felt that I deserved tastiness, all the time. Of course this doesn’t make sense. I drink water (I hope you also drink water). And I love water. It is life giving. It feels great to drink a glass of cold water, especially after a run or bike ride or day out in the sun. But water doesn’t taste good. Water tastes like nothing. But it is life affirming and I need it and I love it.
Why can’t we think of food in this simple and accurate way? The problem with feeling like all your food needs to taste good is that you end up obsessing over it more, which leads to stress around food and eventually overeating. And you’re less likely to prepare and choose healthy meals for yourself.
If, on the other hand, you can learn to eat when you’re hungry and to view food as a provider of energy, the stress around tastiness falls away. All that’s left is needing food that is healthy. Luckily, the healthy part is pretty simple: eat whole foods.
Today for lunch I had two hardboiled eggs with salt and pepper and an apple. Probably not enough, now that I think of it, but I was in a rush to get to a place and these were the healthy and easy things I had on hand. Hardboiled eggs are healthy, whole foods and they taste just FINE.
And as a reward, I felt great all day. Energetic and light.
Working to change my thoughts about taste and the taste that I deserve on a daily basis has been an incredible game changer for me in shifting to a healthier diet.
How to start the shift? Meditate. 20 minutes. Every single day. Bring awareness to your breath and body. When you find you start to have a thought, note that, and come back into the room, into the body, into the breath. Repeat.