Eating for Soul Nourishment (Practices of Eating Series)
Turning the tv on after school to find the Jetson's was always fascinating to me. Watching how Jane Jetson would pop in these little capsules into the microwave and out came this full fledge meal. The same allure came from Easy Bake ovens, which I never had. This idea surrounding food that wasn't really food becoming food. Of course, I never accounted for the taste factor.
That's the problem I have with diets relying on reducing food to a capsule, powder, drink, said % amount of calories relying on foods debunked of real fat while claiming the non-fat version of fillers is somehow better for you. If eating were about the nourishment alone, then God would have created food in a singular form, no variety and made it a bland affair.
But, eating is just as much about feeding our souls as it is feeding our bellies.
It is why the table is so important. It is why cooking is so important. When looking at a garden, or going to a Farmer's Market, we are bombarded by the creativity within creation. The senses enliven one another and we encounter our deepest desire to be with the other.
Eating, sharing the table allows us to see that eating is more than nourishment, but soul weaving time spent in community.
If our tables are to be a place of intimacy and welcome, we need to fight hard against hostility sneaking in. Whether in the form of eating by yourself in negative ways, or focusing so much on the health factor that the physical body looks good on paper but the mental state of stress and anxiety make our body look like oil and vinegar...separate entities.
Ways in Which Hostility of Eating Enter Our Lives
- Counting calories or Binge eating
- Lack of nutritive balance
- Children refusing to eat
- Not sitting together
- Eating meal upon meal alone
- Family not talking to one another at the table
- Bickering from siblings
- Restricted diets due to allergies
- Stress, Anxiety, Depression
- Changes, be it good or bad
Ways in Which We can invite Peace to Our Table
- Before eating, stop to say a prayer of thanks, or quiet mindfulness
- Make the majority of meals simple, in order to create an atmosphere of togetherness
- When a child refuses to eat, try to relax and not worry. Remember, forcing a child to eat creates hostility for both them and you.
- Have family questions, highs & lows of the day, or tell funny stories.
- Dinner time is not the time to talk about the negative aspects of a child's behavior.
- If food allergies abound, make the environment fancy for dinner to show how eating is just as much about the celebratory aspects as it is to fuel our bodies.
- Welcome pleasant talk, affirmation and manners. When others complain about the food, redirect on what is good and teach thankful hearts.
- Most important, keep eating together.
Henri Nouwen says this:
The table is the barometer of family and community life. Let's do everything possible to make the table the place to celebrate intimacy.
Eating for the soul building is creating mental images of what life together looks like for you, and if you have kids, for them.