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  • Denice Bracken

Rekindling the Sacredness of Food

Updated: May 22, 2023

Rekindling the Sacredness of Food

Food is more than just nourishment. It is a source of emotion, a vessel of memory, a representation of culture, and the essence of our vitality. While consuming nourishing foods is vital for our health and longevity, the significance of food extends far beyond its physical properties.

Food as a Symbol of Meaning:

Food has been intricately woven into the tapestry of human culture and storytelling across different civilizations. From ancient myths like Persephone and the pomegranate to biblical tales such as Eve and the apple, food has often played a central role in symbolic narratives. These stories connect us to our collective history, imparting moral lessons, and exploring the deeper meaning of life through the medium of food. Even today, various mystical traditions and folklore feature mystical creatures luring humans with the promise of food, emphasizing the profound allure and power food holds in our lives. Moreover, offerings to deities and ancestors often involve edible flowers, plants, herbs, or delectable treats, signifying a sacred exchange between human and divine realms via food. Additionally, the abstinence from food, as observed in many cultural and religious practices, further underlines the spiritual and symbolic significance attached to the act of eating and food.

The Evolution of Food and its Disconnection:

Before the industrial revolution and the mass global movement of food, our recent and distant ancestors cultivated and prepared their food on a daily basis. They had a direct and intimate relationship with the land, foraging for wild edibles, hunting, and tending to crops. This close connection to food and the earth created a sense of reverence, gratitude, and understanding of the delicate balance between humans and nature. However, with the advent of advanced food preservation techniques, long-distance transportation, and the rise of industrial agriculture, we have become increasingly disconnected from the process of growing and sourcing our food. This disconnection has led to a diminished awareness of the seasons, the origin of our food, and the impact of our dietary choices on the environment.

It is essential to recognize that while advancements in the food system have provided benefits such as increased accessibility and reduced hunger, they have also contributed to the loss of the sacred bond between humans and the food they consume. Moreover, it is crucial to acknowledge the historical context of power and privilege surrounding food. Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized communities have endured forced labor and extreme agricultural exploitation, providing food and wealth for white colonizers while being deprived of their own sustenance and restricted from foraging the lands. Understanding this history is necessary as we seek to restore the sacredness of food.

Food as an Exchange of Life:

Food represents an exchange of life force between ourselves and the planet. Energy is neither created nor destroyed but transferred through the consumption of food. When we eat, we are partaking in a cycle of life where the energy of the Earth is transformed and sustained within us. This recognition prompts us to view food as more than a commodity or fuel but rather as a sacred exchange. We are temporary placeholders, entrusted with the responsibility of nourishing ourselves and passing on the energy we have borrowed. By embracing this understanding, we can develop a deeper reverence for the food we consume and the interconnectedness of all life.

Rekindling the sacredness of food involves looking inward and evaluating our relationship with food. It means recognizing the power and privilege that exist within the meaning of food and the systems that produce it. To honor the Earth and cultivate a deeper connection with food, we can support regenerative and sustainable agricultural practices. By choosing foods that are grown in harmony with nature, we contribute to the health of the planet and the nutrient density of our meals. Additionally, we can show gratitude and evaluate how we can give food the respect it deserves, such as using produce before it spoils and buying only what we need, giving to others when we can. These mindful actions not only help us reestablish the sacredness of food but also promote sustainability and mindful consumption and compassion in our daily lives.

6 Ways to Rekindle the Sacredness of Food:

* I’d like to emphasize that these suggestions do not have to occur all the time, nor all at once (that is unrealistic!). We are busy enough as it is, adding more is sometimes too much. I still have leftovers go bad all the time. Hold these ways and see what sticks. Bringing awareness to an area of our lives that normally goes unobserved already begins to shift the perspective and behavior.

  1. Mindful Eating: Eating mindfully means being present and fully engaged in the experience of eating, without distractions such as television, phone, or work. It also means paying attention to the taste, smell, texture, and appearance of the food, as well as our own hunger and satiety cues. Savor bites. Allow your body to respond.

  2. Conscious Consuming: Embrace the practice of mindfully shopping, buying consciously, and focus on minimizing food waste. Consider buying the single bananas. Buy the produce with the small imperfections. Freeze or eat the leftovers in the fridge before they go bad.

  3. Cooking at Home: Cooking at home allows us to have control over the ingredients and preparation methods used in our meals. It also allows us to connect with the process of creating food, which can be a meditative and enjoyable experience. Connect with how your family and ancestors would have possible prepared certain foods.

  4. Supporting local and sustainable agriculture: By supporting local and sustainable agriculture, we can have a closer connection to where our food comes from and the people who grow it. This can also help reduce the environmental impact of our food choices.

  5. Gratitude: Expressing gratitude for the food we have can help us appreciate its nourishing qualities and the effort that went into producing it. This can be done through saying an invocation, taking a moment of silence, or simply pausing to acknowledge the food before eating.

  6. Sharing meals with others: Sharing meals with others can be a way to strengthen relationships and foster a sense of community. Food is a glue that binds us. It can also create a space for meaningful conversations and connections.

To rekindle the sacredness of food, we must embark on an inward, transformative journey that begins with acknowledging the life-giving properties of food and reflecting on its meaning in our personal and collective histories. By embracing a holistic perspective, trusting our intuition, and honoring the land and labor that sustain us, we can restore the sacred significance of food in our lives. Let us embark on this mindful path together, share it with others, recognizing the power we hold to shape a more connected, nourished, and sacred relationship with food, the earth, and ourselves.

Be Wild. Be Free. Be Brave. Be Happy.


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