“Food has more than fuel – it is living experience incarnate” Steve Gagne
Recently I came across an interesting book Food Energetics: The Spiritual, Emotional, and Nutritional Power of What We Eat, by Steve Gagne. Steve looks at the principal – we eat according to who we are, nourishing our qualities and limitations with foods that match them. You become what you eat, and your body is in a continuous process of change and adjustment and needs to be nourished with these changes in mind. This can be done most effectively through an open-minded inquiry into what you eat, digest, absorb, and assimilate. Knowing who you are is key, the qualities of yourself are what you tend to look for in the foods you choose, you must be able to recognise who you are in order to consciously recognise the foods that will nourish you.
Food has never just been fuel for humans and throughout history, we have noticed the effect it can have on us, you feel different when you eat different foods.
Most often our food choices have little to do with the food nutrient value and more about what we think about the food either consciously or subconsciously, what someone else thinks about the food or blind habit.
Here are three basic principles essential for understanding food energetics.
- Food Quality – Food quality is about more than how the food was grown, was it sprayed with chemicals or farmed organically, quality is not something that is seen but known, it is the living personality and character of a food in it’s natural state not artifically grown or reared.
- History and Origin – Knowing about where the food we eat originates, how it was originally cultivated and used, gives us an insight into the energetics of the food as in times past people where more unified in their interactions with nature, recognising their own nature or qualities they desired within the food they gathered and hunted.
- Food Character Observations – The foods you eat have their unique characteristics and through observation you can get an insight into how a particular food can nourish you through its correlations to your body and mind. By observing how a plant grows and develops, you learn about its needs, what it requires to become a food that you will consume. With animals, you can observe their growth and development too but you can also observe their behaviour and in the case of factory farmed animals the behaviour modifications due to the disruption of their natural lifestyles.
Looking at food’s essential character
All food has an essential character or essence, what is it meant to be, it will always be the sum of the parts you can observe and describe, this essence describes what the food is. A duck is a duck, because of the characteristics that make it a feathered, webbed-footed creature with a bill, no matter how it is raised or fed a duck will not become a chicken or a cow. Each food is uniquely diverse and follows a unique process.
- Motion: Patterns of growth – direction of growth is another indicator of food energetics. Narrowed down, any plant or animal will grow downward or upward, inward or outward, and to it’s own specific level. eg. pears and parsnips grow downward but pears seek their level above ground whereas parsnips grow at soil level and penetrate the soil
- Rhythm and Speed– For simplicity we can look at rhythm as either regular or irregular and speed as fast or slow. This behaviour can have a profound effect on your biological and psychological behaviour, eg Alcohol is a slow, irregular rhythm, that produces an unwinding effect, whereas coffee has a fast irregular rhythm. Chickens also have a fast irregular rhythm evident in their behaviour.
- Temperament – foods are graded as one of four temperatures hot, cold, warm or cool and have moisture components as either dry or damp. Beef is hot and damp, but so are eggs. Tofu is cold and damp, and butternut is dry and warm.
- Body Position – Each food resonates with a particular organ in the body
I have really just given a brief outline of the book however, I would encourage everyone to read it as it gives us another perspective with which to look at the food choices we make.