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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Sacredness of Sharing Food and the Experience of Eating is SO Health-Empowering!

When we break bread and give it to each other, fear vanishes and God becomes very close.

I read the above quote by Reverend Dr. Henri Nouwen a few days ago. It made me jump back! As my friend, Alice, used to say, "as you go through life, every now and then --beams will intersect--and you will know that you have been 'LED' to be and ARE exactly where you are meant to be".

Beams intersected! This quote embodies much in life that I have experienced and continue to discover, even strive and LIVE FOR, personally and professionally.

You see, so much of my life and ME is about FOOD -- studying it, buying it, cooking it, and of course, eating it. But, the MOST significant aspect about food that has always been inherent, almost UNNOTICED, in all of the times that have POSITIVELY affected my relationship with food (for example, balancing my diet, optimizing my nutritional needs, appreciating FULLY its myriad of colors, textures, flavors and the easy availability of the cornucopia of foods wherever I've lived) VERSUS all the negative associations I've struggled with regarding food (overeating -- especially of junk foods, my obesity struggle, my obsessiveness and compulsiveness about it) is the role the SHARING of food has played.

That is, whenever the dynamic of SHARING FOOD has been 'on the table' (no pun intended -- I think! haha!), indeed, the fear, the negativity, the sinister, destructiveness, evil of FOOD and what it does when it is abused, OVERused, hoarded, not evenly distributed globally -- VANISHES! Even more profound, GOOD and WONDERFUL things happen: people get to know each other better, families laugh and learn about each other's triumphs and struggles, bodies become healthy and content, brains are nourished and innervated, those that 'have' eat just enough for their needs and learn the joys of a BALANCED DIET and those that 'don't have' also receive the blessing of eating enough for their needs and the joy of HAVING enough, rich and poor become dignified, humanity is equalized, love develops, and God becomes very close!

My beloved father loved sharing with me all the good foods that he enjoyed so much. He wanted so much to make me happy and feel cared for, secure, and loved. It was NEVER his intention to overfeed me and initiate a state of obesity in me that I would struggle with -- as a child and teenager, into my early adulthood, and, actually, through many of my adult years. It was ME who made FOOD the focus -- not the SHARING OF FOOD. And so, to 'replicate' those feelings of happiness, security, comfort, and love that I experienced growing up with my amazing Dad, especially during the times in my life that I have felt disappointed, unloved, frustrated, unappreciated, insecure -- I would 'comfort eat'! ONCE I realized that all the GOOD that I experienced with Dad was more about the SHARING of food and NOT the food itself, I stopped the comfort eating! It was more about the shared TIME with Dad, the shared JOY, the KNOWING that he wanted the BEST he could give to me, and the shared LOVE -- NOT really food FIRST. Food was just the means to the end! Alleluia!

Becoming a dietitian was my destiny! It has enabled me to perpetuate the POSITIVITY of FOOD and all that surrounds it -- for myself, but also for others. Understanding food and how and why it works, once it reaches the body (nutrition), has truly been an awakening for me. It has been my privilege to have dedicated my life to dietetics and the people I serve through practicing my profession. It's one of the ways I SHARE the 'bread of life', myself, and God's gifts and blessings of food and nutrition.

Personally, this 'sharing' occurs through the activities I occupy myself in with food study, purchasing, preparation, cooking, and eating -- with my family, friends, and in serving the greater global community -- in my local sphere and throughout the world.

Many people look at grocery shopping and cooking daily meals as mundane and unimportant. In fact, shopping for, cooking, serving, and sharing meals is one of the most holiest of activities and that which leads SO many people to 'wholesomeness' and 'holiness'. The SACRED personal connection to goodness that occurs through sharing meals must NEVER BE UNDERESTIMATED!

Health is holy. Sharing HEALTHY food is the ultimate in serving my God in every way I can as I strive to seek and follow His ways. When the Lord Himself broke Bread and gave It to His disciples and said 'Take and eat', this was as close as one could get to Another and He made it possible! It is this Promise and Assurance and Gift of my Daily Bread that gives me strength and sustenance! I am thankful and I am healthy and I am strong! When God becomes very close to me, I know I'm in Good Hands!

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