Recently, during a casual conversation with several students about food that ranged from Paleo to GMO, an idea came up to make a webpage where we could share recipes from past retreats and other food information. I liked the idea, but as I thought more about how to present the information and what information to include, it became clear that what seemed most important would be to explore how we can have a deeper energetic relationship with food in these non-agrarian times.
“Food” is one of the five branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Unlike the other four branches of TCM (qigong, acupuncture, herbs, and tui na), food is required to maintain life. Traditional cultures and many modern people use food as curatives for disease and for maintaining health and balance. This informs us that a special relationship with food, more than one just for survival, goes back to our beginnings and is a healing tradition for humans living on earth.
Since we live in a culture where the connection to our food sources has been largely disrupted, it has become more difficult to appreciate and understand the laws of food nature. However, we know fresh, local, whole food tastes better, is more nourishing, and therefore holds more abundance of beneficial qi for us to assimilate and enjoy. As we feel a deeper connection with the natural world within ourselves, even down to a cellular level, we activate and become aware of our natural desire to nourish ourselves in a way that reflects our energetic wholeness.
“The act of putting into your mouth what the earth has grown is perhaps your most direct interaction with the earth.” ~ Frances Moore Lappé
Many people experience an energetic connection with what they would like to eat and how nourishing certain foods do (or don’t) feel when prepared and eaten. Our bodies are expert at extracting the most benefit from what we eat and transforming it into energy. Even though in times of imbalance we may need help from others to figure out what is best to eat in order to regain harmony, we can reawaken our natural ability to listen deeply to our inner guidance so we can choose the best foods for us at any particular time. Qigong can help us hone our senses to choose what we eat with confidence and to know we are being nourished deeply by our food.
Thinking back on that casual conversation, I remember promising to share the popular recipe for Irish Soda Bread that Karen O’Connell and I have made for several retreats and workshops. Enjoy!