Thought for Food

by Frank Tybislawski,  Brisbane, Australia

I would like to share what I discovered through my recent sessions with a local Universal Medicine practitioner.

While I knew my diet was quite good, I had to admit that how I digested and reacted to the food was irregular. It seems like a simple process, one we have lived with (one way or another) since day one, yet food can be an issue throughout one’s whole life. I knew what tasted nice, I knew what didn’t taste nice, I knew what reacted with my body, so why then did I feel so up and down after eating? There had to be more to this and I needed to examine what that was, and why.

My practitioner and I discussed food and eating habits; most of our discussions centred on how certain foods felt when I ate them. For example, I already knew that a glass of milk caused severe pain, but I came to realise that other foods also had reactions in my body, perhaps in quite subtle ways which were easy to overlook. My focus throughout was to be very honest and feel each and every reaction to all the different foods I was eating. Another point discussed several times was that I often ate because it was that time of day, eg. breakfast time, so I must have breakfast. When I was asked if I was genuinely hungry on those occasions I had to say I was unsure – on some occasions I was, but on other occasions I definitely wasn’t.

The process then was one of self-reflection; firstly to be honest and ask myself, am I genuinely hungry? If the answer was no, then I had to determine why I was wanting to eat… was it to dull or override another feeling? If I was genuinely hungry it was then the time to consider exactly what I felt like eating, and how much I should prepare and eat.

Another factor also came to light; was I eating something just because it tasted nice and therefore made me feel nice? The unfortunate answer was sometimes yes, and I got to feel this quite strongly on one occasion. I knew I was genuinely hungry and was contemplating what to have for dinner. There were a few options available – a quick re-heat of some left-over chicken curry, I could steam some vegetables and have some fish, I could defrost some soup, and there were others. My first thought was the chicken curry (a typical dinner meal), quick and delicious, but that suddenly didn’t feel right. It then just came to me that what I really wanted was a green salad (a typical lunch meal); it would require more preparation, but it really felt like what my body was asking for. I made the salad like I have numerous times before with the same ingredients, but I have to say it felt more satisfying than it usually did, and I felt great after eating it. This was a pivotal moment, as I experienced an entirely different approach to the whole hunger/eating regime.

I haven’t got all the answers and I also know that this is an ongoing process which needs to be continually reviewed. Foods that suit me now may not in the future, and foods that I have dismissed previously may actually be beneficial now, or at some point in the future. What I now realise is that food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat, not just treat it as an automatic response to hunger.

969 thoughts on “Thought for Food

  1. I’m pretty sure the majority of people on earth have some kind of issue with food. Whether it’s really an issue or not, food gets blamed for so many things. I’ve been noticing how when I arrive at work I think I need to have whatever I have brought for breakfast and sometimes I’m halfway through and realise I didn’t really need to eat right now. There is an incredible difference in how I feel when I listen to when my body actually needs food.

  2. I have found that I am beginning to react more to certain foods, even though I have given up dairy and gluten, my body is letting me know that there are still foods that don’t support my body, and my diet has to evolve with the changing needs of my body.

  3. Is it not funny that eating and food are topics mostly everyone is talking about. What you have presented Frank is something most people have to thing about: “What I now realise is that food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat, not just treat it as an automatic response to hunger.” My feeling is if more people would ponder on this like you have described I am sure obesity would not play out in such a way it does it right now.

  4. Eating honestly and deeply from the body requires absolutely no attachment to food whatsoever because whilst one day your body might need a food you might like, the next day it may no longer need that food. In such a case putting our craving before our bodies true needs exposes the fact that there is more going on than just eating something because we feel we need it. Is it our body that needs it or our emotional unsolved issues that are driving us to seek it?

  5. Food is so personal for everyone. I know I still use it as a comforter, even though my diet by most would seem ultra-heathy. As you say, it is clocking when I am eating to truly nourish, or to dull and numb what I don’t want to feel. When something tastes so good I still have difficulty to not overeat even though my body is signalling to stop!

  6. “am I genuinely hungry? If the answer was no, then I had to determine why I was wanting to eat” – By today’s norm this is an absurd thing to ask… We’re made to eat food, aren’t we? But what if we aren’t designed to consume it all throughout the day, in the quantities we do? What if there was a reason or something we are distracting ourselves from that’s much more important than snacks and meals?

  7. The other day I ate what I would call the ‘perfect’ meal, white fish, salad and parsley dip. Directly afterwards I had a massive stomach ache and realised that I had not discerned the energy of the person at the time they cooked the meal. It is important that we read the energy constantly and not assume just because a person is normally switched on that they will consistently be this, they may be having an off day and channelling the wrong type of energy.

  8. ” What I now realise is that food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat, not just treat it as an automatic response to hunger.” So so true Frank there are so many times I reach for something because it is convenient rather then what my body really wants, honouring what my body really wants is a whole other ball game one which I am constantly learning from.

  9. It is interesting that when we find a food which time and time again has proven to us not to suit our bodies, and yet we still continue to eat or drink that product. Is this where food allergies come from, by ignoring the simple messages the body gives out initially and continuing to consume something that doesn’t agree with us?

  10. Why as human beings do we pride ourselves on our wide variety of foods and choices… when most of them either are over manufactured and are poisonous or just naturally make us react?

  11. I am becoming far more aware of how certain foods react with my body, from foods that make me tired, sluggish and slow to those that make me feel energised and alert, through listening to my body and learning what’s needed I’ve changed my diet to support myself, which is forever asking me to be more aware.

  12. Thank you Frank, is it not amazing the importance of how we prepare to eat, as much as it is what we eat. Just about all systems in place re eating have a commercial aspect to them. So we should not be surprised by the outcome of our human eating patterns.
    “What I realise is food is a daily choice” – a personal choice for everyone.

  13. And hunger can be also something else than what we think it is. What I saw as hunger was often and emptiness coming up, and when I kept breathing gently, this hunger just disappeared. Magic? Now just love replacing emptiness.

  14. It feels inspiring to be listening to the body and not just be controlled by whether we are hungry or not hungry. My question is always why are you not feeling hungry? As when I rely on the sensation of hunger, I can simply not eat for a long time. But what feels to be tension to me is, why is my life controlled by food? Whether I eat or not eat, if food is the issue that I constantly think about it is controlling me, and that feels super uncomfortable. So could this be a distraction for me in committing to life? As when I experiment with committing more with life, there is a flow which takes care of everything and nothing needs to be focused on separately as our life is one life.

  15. I love this awareness and consideration that there are no hard and fast rules about what we should and shouldn’t eat; that it is much simpler than that and that we have our guide and support with us at all times… our bodies. When I listen in respectfully to my body it is simple and clear what will or won’t support me on any given day.

  16. It’s a big one you could say, isn’t it, food. I remember growing up there was a big focus on it from a family point, we were never meant to be hungry. If you weren’t hungry then it was seen as you were being well provided for. I still love eating and being around people with food, I love the feeling, company and conversations. More and more food isn’t the focus but it’s just a part of the whole relationship and I guess that is what the article is saying. There needs to be a letting go of food and I am not saying don’t eat but more how we tend to put food at the front and not just see it as a part of the whole setting or thing. Whenever we hold something at the front as a focus it tends to block our view from everything else, food, naturally a PART of life.

    1. I agree Ray, when we make food the focus at dinner we can miss out on connecting with the people we are dinning with. I notice this in the aged care place I am working, the elderly are so intent on their food, they are all in there isolated bubble of a world, not even noticing that there are 4 other people at their table.

      1. It’s funny and I use to think every situation was the same and yet now I can see there maybe an overall similarity but we need to read each moment to clearly see what is going on and not just assume we know. Like with say people all sitting around the table eating together, each maybe there doing what appears to be the same thing but when you truly read each one you can see that are literally bringing their own unique part to the table. When we see this it may support them to see more as well. Whether we are sitting at the table or not it doesn’t mean there is not some part of us to play in supporting what is going on.

  17. Having awareness of what and why we eat is a vital part of unravelling ourselves back to the clarity and connection we are capable of. Food is and has always been one of our greatest sources of distraction and dulling from all it is we do not want to feel and address in life.

  18. Food is a continual refinement of what the body needs. I know I often crave a certain food but it is not what I need to eat. I am learning to listen to my body and feel what food will truly nourish my body and not just simply satisfy my taste buds.

  19. Being responsible in the way we eat makes a huge difference to our quality of life and ability to support others…

  20. There is eating, and then there is eating and understanding food, ourselves and a way of life that is digested. I’ve noticed my relationship with food changes based on what is being processed during the day.

  21. Sometimes, rather than another snack, a drink of water is all that is needed – we often eat when we really need hydrating.

  22. Food is definitely a refining process, in the past I would be quite disciplined in a strict way and there for I would be very tensed around food. I now am much more surrendered and am learning to eat what my body truly needs and not from what I think I should be eating. Sometimes I feel like something, a vegetable or so, that I haven’t eaten in ages and that than apparently has what my body needs. This is then for one meal and after that I don’t feel like it anymore. It is really about surrendering and not controlling it so much.

  23. You raise a cool point which is that foods that suit you now may not suit you in the future. What I am finding fascinating about my relationship with food is how it is always changing. And I observe this too through my young daughter – who stopped breast milk and has never looked back, who stopped blended food and has never looked back – she teaches me so much in the natural process of evolution.

  24. Despite having to let go of gluten and diary because of ill health, there are still certain foods that affect me. It is a working progress and discerning the signals the body is presenting every day.

    Foods have many memories, and we go to those that give us comfort, make us feel at home, tastes nice, for special occasions, the list could be endless. And I found as I listen to my body more, those memories and reasons come through more and more. I also found there are no set rules that suit all, it is for each individual to discover for themselves and ready to make those choices.

  25. ” What I now realise is that food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat ”
    I have found the same when eating . The body is at a different place so to speak as we move on in time and therefore requires different levels of food as a result.

  26. I always reflect on the metaphor of my body being like a glass of clear water. If I drop some dirt in it (say chocolate), it is very obvious. Years ago my body was not so clear and dropping dirt into it didn’t make that much of an obvious difference as it was so dirty already. The clearer my body becomes, the less it will tolerate the dirt.

  27. It takes loving discipline to commit to nourishing the body rather than buying into the food consciousness that postulates that we are to eat because it’s mealtime; who says? And who says what kind of meal is appropriate at what time of day? Where do these quasi regulations really come from?

  28. And what is telling us that we are hungry …..is it truly our body, or another part of us looking for comfort, relief or distraction?

  29. A big shift happened in my diet when I realised that what I was choosing to eat based on taste was agony in my body. The more I allowed myself to feel that, the easier it became to select foods based on how my body responded, rather than what my transient emotional whims desired.

  30. Yes thinking about what we eat can become an obsession if we let it. Choosing to eat when we are not hungry is a big issue, one that we do all the time, to distract and to not feel what is truly going on.

  31. It is easy to override the body and dismiss its wisdom around food and what to eat. I know I will often wish I had listened to my body when I have a reaction to certain foods.

  32. I agree food is a daily choice to be considered every time we decide to eat. Being discerning on what we are actually feeling in our body is key so that we truly nourish ourselves and not eat to numb ourselves or bury our feelings.

  33. Its a great point that what we eat each day really depends on what our body needs nutritionally, and that turns the diet industry on its head. Our body knows the way if we can listen.

  34. I notice that my obsession and fantasy affair with food will get very strong when I’m in a situation I don’t want to be in, or don’t feel that great about myself – or in fact when I’m feeling really great and finding it all a bit too much! All of a sudden I’ll have hunger pangs that weren’t there before. So I’ve been learning to discern when that call to munch and eat is simply a medication technique and when it’s actually because I am truly hungry. Funnily enough, it’s more often than not the former rather than the latter….

  35. Am I genuinely hungry is a common question I ask myself, and more often than not the answer is no? And what I find is that often there is a tension around a situation or self-worth feeling that needs to be addressed.

  36. Thank you Frank for your sharing. Food choices are always a matter of getting out of my head and feeling into my body and listening to the truth of what it needs to nourish it.

  37. “It then just came to me that what I really wanted was a green salad (a typical lunch meal); it would require more preparation, but it really felt like what my body was asking for” – agree Frank, and i love it when one prepares a meal the body is asking for.. it always tastes really great and feels so nourishing. Is funny too as I’ve made the ‘mistake’ of repeating a delicious recipe yet clocking the taste as quite different, same ingredients etc., but because i was different in my body and in myself at that (repeating) time, the same meal was also different and however tasty it was not required (!)

  38. The more we say yes to the call of evolution the more responsibility there is to constantly fine-tune our relationship with food, as when we eat according to the light within our bodies simple food can be deeply nourishing and truly flavoursome.

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