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What would it mean to practice spiritual nutrition?

“Unless you love the body, and unless you understand the body, you cannot grow spiritually. The body is the temple of your soul.” — Osho

Food has the power to impact more than just our physical well-being. 

Battling with appetite, craving, and other struggles with food is something billions of people throughout the world struggle with each day.
The desire to eat and receive pleasure from food is mistakenly viewed as gluttonous and shameful.

We would do ourselves a huge service by shifting how we view our collective relationship to eating.  Each person’s relationship with food, including yours and mine, has deeper roots in our soulful cravings for authenticity, joy and wholeness.

First, let’s let go of all the judgement. Then, we can be more open to truly understanding what’s going on – without the pressure to fix it immediately.

When you’re open to a new approach, you’ll learn to connect your behavior and relationship with food with what you’re really craving – from a place of self-love, rather than judgement. You’re not alone. There’s nothing wrong with you. Every struggle with food reveals more about your deeper needs.

Think about cravings – what’s behind the craving? What does sweet, sugary food bring you? Pleasure, relaxation, satisfaction, stimulation, a temporary burst of energy? Where are you lacking any of these things in your life. Where else can you receive them so you already feel filled up and satisfied before the food craving hits?

The more curious you’ll allow yourself to be about the craving, the more awareness you’ll experience until this becomes a daily practice – even a way to bring spirituality and consciousness to the table before every meal. Learning ways to care for your body however feels good to you is a spiritual act because your body is the temple of your soul.

And, caring for your body is so much more than shaping it to look a certain way, or focusing on being in control and eating only “good” foods. Your body needs love, relaxation, compassion, and grace. 

You cannot eat from a place of self-loathing and regret and expect to experience peace. You cannot live in your head, obsessing over thoughts that only cause you stress and expect to feel more in control of your appetite. That’s because controlling your appetite is not about finding the willpower to stop craving or eating. Your appetite is important! Feeling more in control comes by allowing yourself to be in your body – and this takes trust and a whole lot of self-love. (but you can do it!)  

When you’re in your body, you really begin to notice what foods feel good and those that don’t. It becomes increasingly easier to choose what nourishes your body – because you’re more tuned in and aware. Truly experiencing the powerful transformation possible when you eat in a way that works for you truly validates what amazing medicine food can be. 

Acknowledging what different foods mean to you is an important part of cultivating a good relationship with food.

I know you were told to control your cravings by restricting food. This is the widespread, ineffective and even harmful advice taught to us all.

What happens when we view food through this lens? We disembody, we stop hearing what the cravings are telling us, and we end up abusing food by substituting it for emotional well-being. We eat in a hurry, eat to feel better, eat when bored, and swallow it whole before we’ve even tasted it. I’m inviting you, and everyone, to consider a different approach. 

What if you treated food and your body as you would treat your loved ones – with gentleness, respect and love?

The connection between what you eat and your spiritual state is centered around intuitive and mindful eating .

Here’s the first step: Trust. Trust that you will know how to solve your unwanted troubles with eating by embodying and listening more. Make this your spiritual practice with food. 

You have an inner intuitive guidance system, the part of you innately connected to your deepest truth and always tuned in to what you need in body, mind, and soul that reminds you to listen and pay attention to the messages and signs that our bodies are giving us about the foods we are feeding ourselves.

These messages are transmitted in a various ways, such as cravings, addictions, allergies, good and bad moods, high and low energy, physical discomfort, and pleasurable sensations.

As you begin to understand spiritual nutrition and tap into your inner guidance system, you’ll begin to understand what all of these signals mean.

Cravings for example are important signals from your body telling you about your emotional needs.

They highlight the connection between certain thoughts, feelings, and emotions that may be seeking your attention.

Understanding these different cravings allows you to explore alternative ways of dealing with your emotions.

Connections between food, emotions, and beliefs can impact your spiritual state.

So, how can you empower your body? How can you handle your body with care and love? How can you keep your body in a good spiritual state so that you can fulfill your greater purpose?

Start by recognizing how deeply your physical body and the food you feed your body relates to your spiritual experiences.

Next time you’re feeling the binge come on or the cravings, ask, “What is it that I truly need in this moment?” You might be surprised by what you discover.