Okay, so I’m not talking about making a mess.
But I am talking about cultivating a different relationship between you and your food!
The benefit of play applies to a few different aspects of food.
If you only ever go grocery shopping with an exact list, this tip is definitely for you! Next time you go to the farmer’s market or store, be open to the possibility that you don’t know exactly what you are going to get. Perhaps you know you want to get some kind of vegetable. Stand in the vegetable aisle, and scan the selections. Simply notice where your attention naturally goes. I find that, often, the foods I am attracted to have elements of nutrition that I am especially needing at that moment.
You may feel magnetized to a food that you don’t even exactly know what it is, or how to prepare it. If you’re feeling adventurous consider trying it anyway! If you are at the farmer’s market you can often ask the people you are purchasing from how they recommend preparing certain foods. Or if you are at a grocery store, you can always search on the internet for recipes or instructions. (Always exercise care and caution for your specific allergy and food needs.)
It is super healing and nutritive to cook for yourself. Firstly you are giving yourself nourishment directly, which can go a long way in feeling supported (by you!) in your life.
Secondly, you can prepare the foods in new, fun, or different ways! There is something to be said for recipes, and there is something to be said for developing taste and desires for certain qualities of cooking and preparing. One great example of this is spices! It is a whole wonderland of cooking in and of itself! As in the shopping example, see what you are drawn to. You can also taste and gauge as you go how you will best enjoy a dish.
I LOVE to practice being grateful before eating. I say, either to myself or aloud with the people I am with, “I am grateful for this food and all the hands it has passed through to get to me!” And then I start getting creative, listing people and energies for whom I am grateful, “Farmers, chefs, waiters, sunshine…”
Then I give myself free license to presence whatever else I might be grateful for in that moment. Often this includes my health, my family, my friends, recent adventures, inspiration or ideas… Whatever I think of in the moment. You might think this will take “too long” but really it can all happen in less than a minute.
If I am with others, I often presence and express the gratitude I feel for being there with them, and encourage them to share what they might be grateful for, too! This creates a beautiful shared experience of feeling gratitude together.
Consider eating with your cleaned fingers! I’ve heard a couple of different reasons you may want to eat with your hands. One is that eating with your hands helps infuse your food with energy.
Another thought is that digestion can be enhanced and informed by eating with the hands. Similar to the sense of smell, some say eating with your hands gleans insights for your digestive system about energetic qualities of the incoming food, what enzymes you might need to digest it, etc.
Consider eating with someone… And feeding them! And allowing them to feed you. It can be a hugely nourishing to experience literally feeding someone, and being fed by them.
I’ve heard the following story, and will allow this Wikipedia version to do the telling. It is much more descriptive that the way I can retell it.Allegory of the Long Spoons - click here to read it
Rabbi Haim of Romshishok was an itinerant preacher. He traveled from town to town delivering religious sermons that stressed the importance of respect for one’s fellow man. He often began his talks with the following story:
“I once ascended to the firmaments. I first went to see Hell and the sight was horrifying. Row after row of tables were laden with platters of sumptuous food, yet the people seated around the tables were pale and emaciated, moaning in hunger. As I came closer, I understood their predicament.
“Every person held a full spoon, but both arms were splinted with wooden slats so he could not bend either elbow to bring the food to his mouth. It broke my heart to hear the tortured groans of these poor people as they held their food so near but could not consume it.
“Next I went to visit Heaven. I was surprised to see the same setting I had witnessed in Hell – row after row of long tables laden with food. But in contrast to Hell, the people here in Heaven were sitting contentedly talking with each other, obviously sated from their sumptuous meal.
“As I came closer, I was amazed to discover that here, too, each person had his arms splinted on wooden slats that prevented him from bending his elbows. How, then, did they manage to eat?
“As I watched, a man picked up his spoon and dug it into the dish before him. Then he stretched across the table and fed the person across from him! The recipient of this kindness thanked him and returned the favor by leaning across the table to feed his benefactor.
I suddenly understood. Heaven and Hell offer the same circumstances and conditions. The critical difference is in the way the people treat each other.
I ran back to Hell to share this solution with the poor souls trapped there. I whispered in the ear of one starving man, “You do not have to go hungry. Use your spoon to feed your neighbor, and he will surely return the favor and feed you.”
“‘You expect me to feed the detestable man sitting across the table?’ said the man angrily. ‘I would rather starve than give him the pleasure of eating!’
“I then understood God’s wisdom in choosing who is worthy to go to Heaven and who deserves to go to Hell.”
Feeding or being fed by someone is vulnerable. And remember; stupid funny moments will almost inevitably happen. You may accidentally get cream cheese up your friend’s nose. Someone might sneeze in the middle of it all. It won’t all look perfect like a movie scene because it’s not! It’s not edited or censored. It’s life! Can you stay present and connected in the midst of imperfection?
What if it wasn’t serious, and was all just… Play?
In this post, we’ve shared a few choice ideas and suggestions about how and why to play with you food. I hope I’ve given you some valuable, ahem, food for thought about ways to have more fun and feel more nourished by what you are eating!
Now it’s your turn. Comment below: are you gonna play with your food? Why or why not? Do you know of more reasons to play with your food? Would love to read ‘em!
Wishing you Love, Intimacy, and Pleasure,