Spiritual Vs Non Spiritual foods.
What you put in your mouth has a direct impact on your spiritual experience… choose wisely.
Is eating meat anti-spiritual?
Is eating Pizza anti-spiritual?
These are questions that I do get asked often as a meditation guide.
At first glance, these may seem like kind of “over the top” woo-woo ish questions. But actually, they are not.
In this article, I will share the foods that I like to eat and the foods that I highly recommend that you avoid for all sorts of reasons, including physical, health-related, and spiritual reasons.
Let’s talk about meat.
We are human beings, and in our nature, we are omnivores. That means that we are genetically pre-disposed to eat meat and plant-based foods. The foods that our ancestors ate are really the food that they had access to. If they lived next to the sea, they would eat more fish; if they lived in the mountains, more berries, and if they lived in the savanna and had good hunters in the village, they would eat meat.
There is nothing anti-spiritual in eating meat, and let’s face it, a good steak… delicious.
Here is the side note, and an important one at that.
Although eating meat is natural for us Sapiens, the way our society cultivates meat and the current industrialised meat consumption is not natural. In fact, it’s just gross. It’s disgusting and disrespectful towards nature, the animals we torture and slaughter in horrible conditions. It is also horrific for us humans because we are consuming meat filled with unnatural chemicals. And, of course, the stress and toxins that we ingurgitate when we eat these poor animals that have suffered such psychological and physical trauma.
And we don’t need to point out the more obvious ones too. Maybe not so obvious for all, actually, but as a Frenchman, my thought comes immediately to what we call “foie gras”. It is a very popular delicacy that is most often eaten around Christmas. Millions of little baby ducks, females, are stuffed so hard that their livers explode. Before it does, it is so huge and fatty and sick; this is what we eat. I know. It sounds gross, but that is what it is.
I can hear some of you, and myself included, say something along the lines of: “cruelty is in our human nature”. But that is being a little bit cynical. Of course, it can be, but it can be fought through philosophy, mindfulness, and of course, nurturing love.
Consuming meat is NOT anti-spiritual, but you have to be very mindful of what meat you consume and do proper research on where that meat comes from. That includes fish. Industry fishing is spoiling our oceans, killing our sharks, dolphins and whales, which is a tragedy for the planet. Where I come from, people buy their fish from small fishermen, and we know them and call them by their first name. I appreciate that that is not always possible, and so you will have to do a bit more research:
Where does the meat come from? What conditions were the animals in before death? How are these animals killed?
I found that sometimes Kosher meat, if it is organic, can be a good choice because for the meat to be kosher, the animal should not suffer, and it should never be beaten. They have a specific technique to kill the animal that ensures that it is done fast and without pain. So that could be a good option but always do your research beforehand.
Fruit and Vegetables
I just finished 3 days juicing fast. I don’t know why they call it a fast because we consume an enormous amount of fruit and vegetables, so we are being super nourished with beautiful colours, vitamins, minerals and fats (quite a few avocados in there).
So, how can you choose products that you know have not been tortured and beaten before they were picked?
For produce, the most important thing is that it is organic. I know that organic food is generally more expensive, but actually, you can find cheap(ish) options these days. In many cities, you can also access farmers and order your products directly from them.
The reason why it is so important to choose organic is pretty simple… Chemicals are… not natural. They are bad for your health, and they are not contributing to your feeling of connexion to nature. Try to eliminate chemicals in your food, and you will start to feel more appreciative of the beauty and wonders of nature. Take a good look at your organic produce: appreciate that their shapes are not perfect. Each little carrot has its unique shape. Look at all these colours. Take your time preparing that beautiful food to be fully mindful of this beauty; smells, colours, tastes… That is an authentic spiritual experience.
Some substances that we might call food, but that are not actually food. These are foodlike substances. They have tastes that are somewhat pleasing to the brain, notably because they usually contain a lot of one or all of the 3 ingredients: Salt, sugar, saturated fat.
I won’t tell you never to eat processed foods because it is not my place to tell you what to do. Just ask yourself this question:
Is this food contributing to your spiritual journey? Or not?
Usually, it’s not.
It’s for you to make a choice and through these foods away. So don’t worry about wasting food when chucking out that can of cheese spread, because… well. It just is not really food.
The 2 rules for spiritual nutrition:
Rule 1: Would your great grandmother eat that food? Are the foods you eat the same as your great grandmother would have put on the table? If the answer is no, look no further. If the answer is yes, investigate a bit further, but generally, it’s a good choice.
Rule 2: Look at the packaging of the food. If there is an ingredient that you do not understand, you should not eat it. Don’t eat it if it is a chemical formula such as E-0123. If you doubt what you will put in your body, don’t eat it.
The exceptions to the rules
The aim here is not that you suffer or miss out on stuff. Remember that, if you wanted to, you could eat all the trash in the world. Fast food restaurants are very easily accessible. This is a choice you are making for your health and personal and spiritual fulfilment. You are not depriving yourself of anything, on the contrary. You are treating yourself with the best foods you can find. Here is a bonus rule for the road: Don’t cheap out on food. I know money can be tight, especially these days, but see if you can cut off elsewhere before settling for more affordable foods. Maybe you can cancel one of those streaming subscriptions. Or perhaps you can take public transportation a bit more and save on petrol. Maybe you can stop smoking. Perhaps you can make your own coffee and save on all those lattes on the way to the office. Again, it is your choice. Remember that you are what you eat and that the quality of your life depends on the quality of your decisions.
Some foods are not considered healthy foods, such as pizza. I like to talk about pizza because even though I have robust protocols and am cautious with the stuff I put in my mouth, pizza is my treat. And so, I eat pizza from time to time. Sue me.
Here is the thing, though. A treat can also be a spiritual journey. That beautiful smell, that thin and crispy crust. The smell of the wood or stone oven. That lovely cheese and tomato sauce. The oregano… Now I am hungry.
Of course, as a pizza amateur that grew up 5 minutes drive from Italy, I am talking about authentic pizza. Pizza with natural ingredients. Real tomatoes and real cheese. I don’t eat pizza from dominos or these fast food brands. So if I’m going to treat myself to a pizza, it’s going to be the real thing.
Don’t be a vegan preacher.
It is essential to spread the word about meat consumption and its repercussions on our environment and our health. However, I never think preaching or shaming is the right way to lead.
When I go shopping, I buy meat for my family, because they feel they need meat. I have significantly reduced my meat consumption, but it happens now and then that I will have a delicious, pasture-fed steak. By lowering my meat consumption, my family naturally reduced it to having more meals together. And everyone is happy. I will never forbid my wife and son not to eat meat. I make sure that I buy the best possible quality so that they don’t ingest toxins and chemicals and so that I know that I don’t participate in the atrocities we often see in slaughterhouses.
The bottom line is this: Be mindful of what you buy, be aware of what you put in your mouth. That’s it. Trust your instincts. They will guide you, and what is natural or spiritual will just feel obvious.