What does it mean? It means listening to your gut feeling, listening to what your body desires. In this day and age the average person is guided by anything but his or her intuition.
The abundance of marketing distracts you from listening to your body. Anything in brown and/or green packaging with a picture of a plant on it is labeled “healthy”, and so it must be good for you. An oatmeal cracker in the supermarket actually has only 4% oatmeal. And there are at least 100 other examples of fishy marketing exactly like this.
Another is the plant-based, vegan, organic label; what is it worth in the society we live in? Not much as far as I’m concerned. People buy vegan products from supermarket shelves with the idea that they are healthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t want to throw everything on one pile, there are certainly beautiful vegan products. However, if you read the labels of many of the products, you will be shocked to find out what is in there. And in order to be allowed to use the organic label in the Netherlands, a product must meet many conditions. Due to the associated costs, a small producer is quickly left out. It’s a shame, there are very nice products that are really healthy and never get the attention they deserve.
Next are your emotions (your pain, your sadness, your fear…) which we like to feed with sugar, alcohol, fat, cigarettes, coffee, or whatever tickles your fancy. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to stop consuming all these things. That choice is yours. What I do ask is if you are conscious of the emotional eating?
Can you feel the difference between feeding your emotions and eating what your body desires? If your emotions crave chocolate, can you find a middle ground between the longing of your emotions and your body? Here is an example; your emotions want a bar of chocolate (fat and sugar), but your body prefers a more natural source of fat and sugar, I suggest you make a chocolate mousse of dates, avocado and cocoa.
For me, conscious eating is about understanding yourself. It starts with insight into the reason behind your food choices. What drives you to make a choice? Am I tired, am I sad, am I bored, am I happy? Am I feeling social pressure? Am I triggered by marketing? Do I experience a shortage of time, money, space? When you have insight into the different layers of your being, you can start listening beyond everything that gets in the way of choosing what is right for you.
You feel tired, and that’s why you want sugar or coffee, a pick-me-up, but does this quick fix serve you? Can you be honest with yourself at that moment? The insight can also be; the quick fix does not serve me, but I don’t experience the space to make a different choice right now. I set the intention to make a different choice when the feeling presents itself again. And in this moment, I choose to eat a snicker-bar and drink an espresso.
A deep knowing that you are not at the mercy of your thoughts, your emotions.
When the consciousness is there you can go one step further. Let go of the programs you were taught. I have to eat three times a day, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I have to drink at least two liters of water, eat 200 grams of vegetables, fat makes you fat, sugar is bad for you and so on and so on. These are not facts. These are things you have been told. If you can get past this, you can listen to your body. What do you need, what is good for you? You are a unique person what is good for you may not be good for me.
There is no set “health way” there is what is healthy for you in the moment. It’s up to you to listen.