What does food mean to you?
For some, food is a highly charged word. It can mean comfort, connection, sensuality, deprivation, neutrality, survival, the list is endless.
As human connection shifts and evolves with technology and the rapid pace of the world continues on without much hesitation, the slow food movement and farm to table meals have been on the rise. Food has become the connection point for community, while also inspiring innovation around the evolved meaning of human-to-human experience.
Each person has a unique connection with food, dependent upon his or her cultural and socioeconomic background, psychology and physiology, and life happenings. So why one diet for all, or one popular superfood? And how do you know that any of it is good for you to begin with?
As Western Yogi’s, we tend to be very aware of the connection we have with our bodies and how both the inner and outer world affect it. This contributes simultaneously to the excitement of being alive, while also making our food journey potentially tricky in this modern world.
With varying perspectives related to diet and food these days, it can seem impossible to truly know what is good for you and what isn’t. A popular wellness superfood one day like coconut oil, becomes a health crisis the next. To add a layer: there are varying levels of quality with regards to food out there. For example, in the herbs and supplements world, some are said to be more authentic and pure than others. There are green juices on the shelves that last a month and those that last a couple of days, the point of differentiation being how they are processed, impacting the nutritional benefits received. Also, there is added benefit to taking certain supplements with others, such as turmeric and black pepper for best absorption. The list only continues when you consider the value of food combining (knowing which foods to combine together for ideal digestion, such as protein and carbs).
Examined closely, it becomes clear that the red thread between all of these ideologies and studies can be your own connection to the food you choose to eat. Noticing which foods light you up and what your values are around food can be an ideal place to begin. Caring about where the food is sourced and who sources it can be another. After all, it’s not all about the end product, but the entire ecosystem from which the product originates. From the seasons during which the food is harvested to the community who harvests the food itself, this all impacts the end result and the sustainability of our food system.
From a macro and micro lens, food is connection. It connects us to ourselves, those around us, and the system from which it comes. It is a vital part of life that can vary with perspective. It can be rigid and boxed in or playful and enjoyed deeply. It can be intellectualized or it can be felt. Similar to the human relationships in our lives, food can mirror our relationship with ourselves. Just as in life itself, the potential for depth exists with food – and you, dear Yogi, get to decide – what does food mean to you?
Tanya Karine Windman
Artist, Yogi, & Activist