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.

1,114 thoughts on “Thought for Food

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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?

  5. ” 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.

  6. 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.

  7. “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?

  8. 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!

  9. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. Yep I agree with this Aimee. But what is this saying about us if most of us on earth has some kind of issue with food. I would say we are not eating or using food in a way to truly support us but instead using food to dull our awareness, light and numb how we are feeling. I also found when I think of food or eat food at work mostly I do not need it and it is used to distract me from what I am doing, also if I feel anxious about something or feel like there is something big to do I go to food. However nothing is ever given to us that we cannot handle.

      1. I know that feeling Vicky, when I have something big to do, or sometimes more honestly I have made something out to be bigger than it is, and I go for food to appease and as a reward.

  13. Frank this is a great blog and perfect timing for me as I have been ignoring some signals I have been receiving around certain foods I am eating. We will always know what foods to eat if we listen to the body’s wisdom, this is really key in developing a more loving relationship with our body instead of seeking to dull and dampen our awareness and eating out of patterns and beliefs around food and diet.

  14. Taking an honest look at our eating habits can be quite shocking – it’s not uncommon to eat when not hungry, to eat foods that we know don’t make us feel good, to overeat…none of this makes sense when you consider we are a supposedly intelligent species. Perhaps looking at what lies underneath our food choices is where the key lies, albeit something that is super challenging.

  15. Food is huge topic of conversation for us and if we look around us we can clearly see how we use it as a comfort blanket. I knew someone who ate chocolate constantly it was their go-to food to help them feel better they felt soothed but they didn’t go to the why are they were eating it? Or what was it about the way they were living they didn’t want to be in touch with.

  16. For me, it is not about food, but about the moments in-between food that determine what I then choose to eat.

  17. The terms ‘breakfast time’, ‘lunch time’, supper time’ can become a habit and pattern that this is when we eat and it can become a pattern that ensures a regular dulling of our awareness.

  18. I like the way you have turned the tide of your relationship with food from dictated to by what is right and appropriate to responding to what your body feels or is calling for. This seems a much more responsible way of living.

  19. I can remember as a child, so often sitting down to dinner but feeling I really didnt want to eat the food that was in front of me, but I mostly did and there wasn’t any choice, or so I thought at the time. What we did always have in the house was a biscuit tin, and my mum made loads of cakes, so there was always these to fill me up if I got hungry – a bit like a security blanket. At the time I never related to how I was feeling with the food I ate, but a few years ago when I gave up gluten and dairy and started to look at my relaionship with food, cake was the hardest thing for me to let go of!

  20. Often I have a thought of when I leave it up to my body to decide, the times when it is hungry I may not be at liberty to eat, e.g. I may be in a meeting or on the run, so these thoughts limit me in having to eat at certain times of the day even if I do not feel hungry then. And yet, while eating at these appointed times, I may still find myself feeling hungry at other times of the day when I am not at liberty to eat! These thoughts come from the consciousness of having to follow the system and not letting the heart and body lead the way. That is why our world is still one operating on mental intelligence and knowledge as being the big daddy. I do not have any answers but it feels necessary to give it a try to allow the body to lead, this decision is going to impact in fact, the whole city, the whole culture and even the world…so is there any reason to hold back?

  21. Frank, great article, ‘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.’ This sounds so simple and yet I can feel how it is more usual that we eat by taste; eat what we usually eat and eat at certain times of day such as lunch time and dinner time rather than eat when we feel hungry and eat what would most support our bodies.

  22. The diet of awareness is the most yummy diet ever with the most fantastic consequences. It is a diet that never ends and one you would not ever want to end.

  23. If we can go several weeks without eating, this means that every time we feel hungry we are not really. What if that feeling has exclusively something to do with what are we feeling in the body? What if the message we get is this is too much feeling, please stop it?

  24. I spent years living with every intention of eating light salads, green vegetables and healthy meals. The food would be in the fridge ready and inviting but would inevitably go off and get wasted as after a day at work I would almost always want comfort food like pasta and cheese to dull myself with the obligatory glass of red wine to take the edge off how disconnected I had felt in my day.

  25. It’s interesting how on one day eating a particular meal can feel super nourishing and nutritious because it is exactly what I felt like but to eat it the next day in ‘auto’ mode it can feel rich or heavy and not nearly as supportive.

    1. Yes and this is when the belief that we need to finish up the leftovers from the day before is less than helpful. Being brought up to not waste anything especially food, this has been a hard one to let go of but if I really honour my body then I do not want to put anything into it without first checking if that is what it really wants and needs. The caring for my body has to have priority over using up yesterdays food!

  26. The pathway to the Soul always starts with diet, because diet is one of the chief ways we dull our awareness of life’s true source. Feeling a little tension? Have a beer, or a milkshake, or a chocolate, and then you don’t have to feel it anymore – at least for a little while. And whilst one feels no tension in that moment, one is also incapable of feeling the rest of life – including true love.

    1. I loved what you shared Adam about food being one of the chief ways to dull our awareness, not only about what is going on for us that we don’t want to feel, but also the awareness of our own true love.

      1. Great point Jill and Adam – isn’t it weird how often what we don’t want to feel is how awesome we are. Maybe that is because if we admit that truth then we have to live it and with that comes a responsibility that we at times choose to shirk.

  27. Frank, I am finding this to be very true; ‘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. ‘I have realised what I do is have my set meals and set meal times and that this does not account for how my body is feeling on that day and what food would be supportive and how much, I can feel how my head can run the show and say ‘it’s lunch time’ and ‘this is what I eat for lunch’ rather than listen to my body to when it is hungry and what would be supportive.

  28. One of the greatest things I have learnt through the presentations of Universal Medicine is that we are not so much having a relationship with food, we are having a relationship with our awareness or chosen lack of it. That is – there are certain foods we reach for that at some level we know will either make us feel dull and heavy or stimulate us and make us feel fast and racy. Either way they create a ‘block’ within us that means we cannot so easily access what is there for us to so easily access – the universal wisdom (love) that flows through us all.

  29. Man this is such a good blog, it stands the test of time too, I haven’t read it for years and I swear its gotten even better than the first time I read it. I love your honest and humble position, your inquisitive nature and your willingness and openness to a different way of living and to eating. Your choice to eat a salad just because it felt true was outside the box and it really inspired me. I will often eat out of convenience and practically so this blog really did speak loudly to me, thank you.

  30. If I asked genuinely asked myself the question ‘am i hungry?’ before I eat I know the answer many times would be no … so this alone just proves to me that I am using food to dull my awareness or how amazing I am. Mmmm maybe I should experiment with this more and only eat when I am hungry! So basically I eat and use food to keep myself small and not be all that I am! This is also something I really need to work with more and truly deeply be more honest with how my body feels after eating certain foods ‘My focus throughout was to be very honest and feel each and every reaction to all the different foods I was eating.’.

  31. A truly healthy diet is one that works for our body. Everyone is different and what works for one may not work for another. The only thing that is required to know what works for us and what does not is to have a connection with our body and to be really honest about what our bodies are showing us.

  32. This is a great opportunity to reflect and be honest about the relationship we have with food, is it one that is constantly fine-tuned according to our evolution or one that keeps us in the comfort and misery of not being who we truly are.

  33. Frank you are bang on the money – food is a continual daily choice. Each day/each meal, we have the choice to choose what we want to eat. (or not if you are not hungry). And when I say ‘what we want to eat’, I really mean what our bodies are asking us for, what is the most nourishing thing we can eat to nourish our bodies.

    But so often, we eat what we always eat – that can look like cereal/toast for breakfast, salad/sandwich for lunch, pasta/curry/stirfry for dinner. Where the gold is, is developing a relationship with your body where you can ask what it feels like, and then the trick is, is actually responding to it! Like you did for the salad for dinner – and look how you feel. It can support to become a scientist of your own body – like you did, OK I listened to my body and it liked what I ate – no bloating, gas, heaviness etc…. or I did not listen to my body and now I feel heavy, tired, bloated etc….. then from this wisdom, you can choose.

  34. Eating in connection with one’s body would seem such a normal affair but it’s something I’ve struggled with most of my life. I have observed other people also it in ways other than its sole function of nourishing the body. Yes it is great to enjoy and, like you mentioned,when I eat in sync with my body the food tastes amazing because it’s just what my body is calling for.

    However, I know I have used it as a crutch to get through my day – lurching from one meal to the next like when you’re swimming from one end of the pool to the other and are desperate to make it without drowning so the ends of the pool are where you just want to stay and rest forever. Swimming like this/living like this it’s just no wonder why we may seek a never ending pack of nuts, sweets, chips – whatever is your fancy. So it’s not about judging oneself as bad or weak willed or rubbish but looking at what brought you to opening the fridge for something in the first place.

    As I start swimming with a commitment to being in the water, being with each stroke and each breath, the ends of the pool fade from being the respite they once offered and reaching them is no different to swimming. This is true for my life too. As I start to be with myself in each moment, not abandoning myself when I think I cannot handle people or situations, not jumping ahead trying to picture and prepare/fear for any eventuality; food as a safe haven loses its onus and I become a support for my body’s welfare through eating responsibly. So the key for me is supporting myself to be in this world fully, to not revert to survival mode but actually enjoy being me in the world.

  35. Thanks Frank, I appreciated the point about the subtleties that the body may either react to or respond with to foods. Sometimes things are not always obvious.

  36. Frank, thanks for sharing your experience with foods and how they feel in the body. I am aware that I often eat because it’s a certain meal time like breakfast and so its more of a habit to eat at these times, as opposed to me actually being hungry. It’s great to have this exposed and to really feel what my body needs and when – this is a completely different way of eating and nourishing the body.

  37. “The process then was one of self-reflection; firstly to be honest and ask myself, am I genuinely hungry?” Exploring our ways with food and asking ourselves how we feel when we eat and if we are hungry can bring a greater awareness to our habits and patterns with food. Exploring our relationship with self in this way has a great potential to shift an old pattern and make new loving food choices.

  38. There is a golden moment in this writing when you turn the corner to listening to what your body wants over and above what you mind tells you to have according to what is considered normal.

  39. In developing a loving and honouring relationship with my body I have discovered how food is actually medicine, and that our choices of what we eat, why we eat and how much we eat all have a great effect on our vitality and well-being, that is healing or harming. Living from the guidance of our bodies is not what society currently regards as ‘normal’, and in fact champions disregarding our bodies, yet clearly our bodies know best with what is needed to sustain itself and our being in order to maximise vitality, clarity and the sparkle we are naturally born to live with.

  40. We cause food to manipulate how we feel at any given moment – we are the masters of comfort food. Very few if any other species would eat themselves to death.

  41. Frank, this is interesting to read and feels very true, ‘food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat,’ I can feel how in society we can have our favourite dishes and eat these regularly instead of feeling what our bodies would like to eat in that moment, I notice how I can eat things that need eating because of short dates but actually it was not what my body needed and so I can put not wanting to waste food as more important than what my body needs.

  42. Reading your blog Frank, I realised why dieting often doesn’t work because it doesn’t teach us to listen to our body. If we learn to listen to our body and eat according to what our body needs it will naturally guide us.

    1. It is very true Chan. We as a society have forgotten that the purpose of food is to nourish our bodies, in order for us to live with the optimum health and well-being, in which a loving and honoring relationship with our bodies serves as our greatest guide.

    2. Dieting is a ‘solution’ but not a true remedy as there is no healing to be found in strengthening the will to ‘not do’ something, as it is the one and the same will that is used to ‘do it’ in the first place. Thus the key is to listen to the body and all that is communicates to us and be able to have a will that can obey these signals.

  43. I often find myself eating when I’m not hungry. I’m in the pantry in the jar of almonds eating them when I’m not even hungry. I’ve been blanking this out and not really looking at why I do it. Perhaps its time for me to pay attention to what I’m feeling when I do this and what is going on as clearly it’s not about the food.

  44. The different beliefs I’ve held about food and eating I’ve allowed to get in the way of eating what my body has been asking for. All the I mustn’t eat that because of something I’ve heard doesn’t come from a knowing from my body at that moment. My body is supporting me in my life and knows what will support so, if I am to return this level of wisdom it’ll be wise to listen and follow what it is saying. I’ve been out of sync with my body and sometimes what it it asking for clashes with beliefs that say for example I have to eat lots if I am more active in my day when yes more sustenance and a different kind of food may support that day but that’s got to come from my body and not my head. When eating what my body feels to is amazing. The food tastes amazing and feels great inside. Listening to my body and following what it says is developing but is a beautiful process.

  45. Thank you Frank, food has been on my mind today and the questions that are coming up are concerning dulling myself as well. I also love Elizabeth Dolans comment above so true for me as well.

  46. The whole question of why we eat, what we eat and when we eat it is huge and a whole study in itself. We absolutely know when and what to eat to dull ourselves. We know this very well but we are often not very honest about the fact and instead, make up all sorts of excuses why we do what we do. There is a great need to become more honest about food and how we use it.

  47. About a week ago, I saw some basil at my local supermarket and really felt like eating some and when I had some it was amazing how clear I felt afterwards, I just loved it. I kept eating every day and it felt good that I was choosing to eat something my body liked and needed. Then I bought some more and am still eating it every day – now, I have to say, it is beginning to feel, not terrible, but somehow stagnated. Sure, it worked really well a week ago; sure, herbs are great – but feeling into the motivation behind why I picked up my 2nd batch of basil and how I have been keeping eating it at every meal, I can feel how I have skipped the process of checking in with my body but instead jumped right into a formula and my body is communicating it deserves more honoring than that.

  48. A great reminder Frank that through being honest with ourselves and willing to look deeper and feel why we are trying to numb and bury our feelings through food opens our awareness and sensitivity to realise how much food affects our body and to understand the issues we are running away from in order to let them go.

    1. Most of the food that is available in the world is designed to interfere with how we feel, which begs the question ‘who or rather what is behind the food choices that are available to us?’

  49. That is the pivotal difference in the process of food and eating – it is how it feels after you eat. I have felt mostly bloated or a numbed feeling and not the support of feeling my evolution and thus awareness.

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