Just yesterday my Barns & Noble book order arrived and I (in true Keya form) dove into my newest read for the months of August and September, “The Yoga of Eating” by Charles Eisenstein.
Admittedly, the plan for my Foodie Book of The Month- Weekly series is to write just one post each week about the book that I am reading (and perhaps you are also reading) for the month.
But can I just say “WOW”? I only read the introduction and the first few short chapters of this book and it is very inspiring to me.
Well it is written from a viewpoint that is deliberately in direct opposition to the way most of us westerners look at food.
Most of us in this hemisphere tend to view food as a means to an end. You know, something we consume so that we won’t die and so that we can have energy. Those who have decided to “better” their diets tend to add to this thought that food is “nourishment” that keeps us healthy and vibrant. But still we in the west have a very practical way of looking at food.
On the other hand, Charles Eisenstein takes a very different approach.
Instead of looking at food from an “it vs. us” perspective. He (in a very spiritual way) thinks of our relationship with food as “it AS us”.
Yeah I realize I just changed one word. But as he makes the analogy in “The Yoga of Eating”, his perspective is very much like the spiritual difference between thinking of God as being “it AND us” (separate entities) vs. God as being “it AS us” (completely ONE).
I’m not here to discuss spirituality with you guys but just changing those two little words makes a huge difference in the way we view and relate to the food we eat.
If we see our food as being something separate from us. Just something that we have to grow, hunt for, or gather in order to live, then we miss the fact that we are as dependent on our food as it is dependent on us eating it.
What evolves from this line of thought is a very “selfish” perspective of eating. We take (food) so that we can live, but we do not give back from which we take from.
This very ideal is striking as we look at the modern food industry. We “grow” live stock who live unhealthy and unnatural lives, for the sole purpose of feeding ourselves. We grow produce in chemically induced soils so that we can eat, but at the same time we rape the ground our food is grown from because of our agricultural practices.
We see ourselves a separate from that which we eat. Okay.
I see where the author of “The Yoga of Eating” is coming from.
On the other end of the stick, the author suggests that if we could see ourselves as one with what we eat then our practices surrounding eating would be wholly different.
For instance, if we are one with our food, then we would understand that to rape the soil that we grow our food in of its vital nutrients, not only rapes our own health initially because the food grown from chemical mediums in much less nutritious, we also rape the supply of that food itself, because an unhealthy soil DOES NOT produce more food for us to eat.
Like I said “WOW!” This book got much deeper than I thought it would. And it did so right at the beginning.
These insights and perspectives were presented to us in just the first two chapters of “The Yoga of Eating”.
Weather I agree with everything the author writes or not, I must admit that they are very interesting and thought provoking ways of thinking about our food.
The most interesting part of his perspective is that if we asked our ancestors of 200 years ago how they looked at food, I’m thinking that, while they may have used less sophisticated language than the author of this book does, they would still probably share his sentiments.
So in the spirit of understanding our (as a species) traditional food roots and as I journey towards practicing the traditions of nourishing the human body (and spirit), I happily dive back in to this intriguing little book.
More to come on “The Yoga of Eating” next week on our real Foodie Book of The Month-Weekly.
How do you view the food you eat? Do you think of food more like the author of “The Yoga of Eating” or from a more conventional “western” perspective?