Do you have a spiritual connection to your food?
Do you practice ritual around cooking, growing/raising, hunting/harvesting, or eating food?
Do you think the spiritual context of a food could have any benefit in context to our health?
Do you use food or parts of your food in alters for either aesthetic or spiritual reasons?
Many hunter gather/traditional societies have long standing spiritual beliefs/rituals based around food. Including how, when and who is to use it. While these stories and rituals have little scientific reasoning behind them. Are they useless beyond culture? could the belief of a food or "spirit" as either good or bad. Have a significant effect on it actually being good or bad for us through placebo or otherwise?
asked byben_basom (480)
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on May 25, 2011
at 11:33 PM
Very much so. Before I eat, I think about the animal whose flesh I'm about to benefit from, and I thank its spirit, or my imagining of its spirit, for its sacrifice, whether willing or not. My husband, who hunts, tells me he says "thank you" to the animal just as he's firing the bow. And the fact that my health has improved in direct proportion to the amount of meat I consume just makes me all the more grateful and humbled.
It's fascinating and overwhelming to me that life feeds on life the way it does. I don't know if thinking about that on a daily basis qualifies as spiritual, but it feels that way to me.
on May 25, 2011
at 11:04 PM
The closest I come to food and spirituality is when I make and consume lacto-fermented vegetables, and when making homemade broth. For some reason those two items strike me to my very core. I'm sure that I'm channeling my ancestors, you know?
on May 26, 2011
at 04:52 PM
I try to deep connect with the food. try to feel the pain the fish feeled or the animal. try to imagine how the animal lived. Take time to prepare the food. Read on food and health.
Dream about food.
We are all spiritual in some way. Weather we want or not!
on May 26, 2011
at 04:23 PM
I have no spiritual anything, so no.
on May 26, 2011
at 04:01 PM
I identify as a sort of agnostic mystic (totally stole that term from Robert Anton Wilson). I have a rather spiritual (albeit minus actual "spirits") relationship with the whole universe, which includes food.
One big reason for me is being a U.S. Southerner--I identify strongly with this, my heritage, but recognize that pride in Dixieland has a lot of very strong negative associations (many rightly so). I won't fly a rebel flag, but I will cook collard greens and black-eyed peas(1) on New Year's Day, because that is my connection to my ancestors and my community. It is a sort of ritual.
I don't say grace, but which I am cooking and eating I do feel grace. I think a lot about where my food came from, who grew it (often a farmer I know), what it will do for me. I suppose I practice graciousness, if that makes sense.
As for spirituality and health, I think mindfulness of any sort is beneficial to health. Maybe it's placebo. Maybe it's something more. I exist in a universe where everything is imbued with layers of meaning and significance. Considered food feels like it nourishes me more, but who knows?
(1)Yes, black-eyed peas are a legume. But when my kin and their neighbors (people all across the South), who never owned slaves and who were quite poor, had their farms ravaged by Sherman's forces, all they had left to eat were greens and peas, food the Union thought was only fit for pigs. Because these foods saved the lives of our people, we eat them every year on New Year's Day for luck and for wealth. It is a ritual, one I will likely never abandon, because it is a very real meaningful connection to my (fraught, country) roots.
on May 26, 2011
at 03:20 PM
I agree with Buddhism in that it's important not to cook or eat with anger. They believe the anger energy can enter the food, and it's negative energy so not good. Before cooking if you're angry or not in a relaxed state of mind try breathing exercises, have a cup of green tea to relax and become conscious and relax and let the anger be as is without reacting. I also believe it's important to be "conscious" when eating, we must become the food we eat lol. Although I do sometimes read so that's not being totally conscious of the eating act.
I also believe there are things about plants that nourish us that are beyond just the vitamins and other things that make it up. We just can't measure it with science and it can't be understood intellectually.
Many beliefs that cultures such as hunter/gatherer tribes in paleo era, aztec civilization, Ancient Siberia(even present shamanism there dates way back) are based on "truths" or "teachings" they received while under the influence of psychedelic plants and funguses. They literally believe the funguses like amanita muscaria are "living gods". When ingested, they go into a trance and come in contact with "divine" or mystical states of conciousness. Psychedelic plants played a huge role in the belief in "spirits", "energies", and how the mind can influence reality and even the universe(by vibrations cause the universe/reality is just a vibration). All plants were thought to have spirits by many cultures and tribes, even plants that don't cause "visions" or "mystical experiences". And you consume certain energies by eating certain plants.
Religion is for the most part a neolithic thing. In the paleo times there was no religion, no armies or way. Just people living in the now, having little materials and everything they did worked. They had plenty of free timed and used shamanic plants and such as amanita muscaria(legal to buy, pick and possess in USA and many countries) and psilocybin mushrooms(illegal in USA and most countries).
It makes far more sense if you think about it to ingest a plant or fungus(we eat these everyday don't we?) and experience what religion talks about, what you've heard about your whole life but never "understood". This is because you can't understand "god" or "higher conciousness" or whatever you call it using intellect or logic. It's beyond words because it's beyond form.
Many things paleo make sense, including their usage of entheogenic or "psychedelic" plants. Many religions are based on traditions and beliefs from the days when we used these plants but it condems them which is far more insane than taking them and "seeing" for yourself. Why read a book, think about it, condition your brain with dogma and fear when you can go straight to the source and do what people did for 98% of our time on earth to obtain higher consciousness and ultimately free your mind of things like cultural conditioning, insanity and mental baggage.
on May 25, 2011
at 11:07 PM
How do you define "spiritual"? One can have a solid connection to food without invoking spirits, no?
Spirituality was probably a fun and communal time for hunter gatherers. But we have tv-on-dvd, amongst many other great leisure activities.
That being said, cooking and eating with others is an enriching experience. While I don't grow stuff or raise animals, I'd imagine that would also be nice.
on October 01, 2011
at 07:03 PM
So first, a bit of my own biases. I'm trained in semiotics (analyzing symbol systems) and left academia to apply my work to theatre. Ideas of ritual fascinate me, whether they are my own or not. There's a few common threads I've noticed:
-Ritual builds communities. The act, externally, may seem strange, but it does bring a group of people together. -Ritual is meaningful. It's a way of expressing culture and belief. It doesn't have to be rational, but it clearly adds depth to people's lives -Ritual is a kind of play. It's expression, it's freedom.
For me, any well-rounded lifestyle includes some elements of ritual, even nonreligious ones. They're a part of life, and as I said, add depth and richness. It follows then--at least in my view--that food is a part of this. Food evokes family traditions, cultural heritages, and even the significances of different ingredients.
Personally, the main reason I say a prayer before and after eating is to cultivate being thankful and mindful for my nourishment. I also never work while eating (I'm in grad school, so I always have reading to do!). Whether it's enjoying at least the first half of my cup of tea, or eating my meal, I try to appreciate that time as one not only for bodily nourishment, but for mental and spiritual rest as well.