Energy of Food
As you increase awareness about the foods you consume, consider that each food has its own unique energy, beyond vitamins, minerals, fats and carbohydrates. When we eat, we assimilate not only the nutrients, but also the energy of the food. Food has distinct qualities and energetic properties, depending on where, when and how it grows, as well as how it is prepared. By understanding the energy of food, we can choose meals that will create the energy we are seeking in our lives. Virtually no one in the ﬁeld of health and nutrition speaks about the concept of food having energy, but if you stop and think about it, it intuitively makes sense. Vegetables have a lighter energy than proteins. Animal meat from tortured animals has a diﬀerent energy than meat from animals that lived a peaceful existence. If you practice yoga or have been to India, you may have heard the word prana, a Sanskrit word simply translated as “energy.” This word is just one way to describe the vital life-force energy that exists around us and inside of us.
Energy comes from the universe, from air and from food. Yogis believe that certain foods, such as fresh produce, have a greater amount of energy than foods that are heavily processed or that have been reused a day or two later. It makes sense: when you eat foods with more energy, you will have more energy. Steve Gagné, author of Energetics of Food: Encounters with Your Most Intimate Relationships, says that all food has an essential character. He analyzes where foods come from to help identify their essence. Plants sprout from a seed; some animals are hatched from eggs, while others are birthed by their mothers and nurtured through infancy. Regarding plant food, consider where, when and in what direction it grows. Greens, such as kale, collards and bokchoy, reach up toward the sun, soaking up the chlorophyll. Eating foods that are rich in chlorophyll provides our blood with oxygen. For this reason, greens are powerful mood enhancers, lifting the spirit. Squash and gourds grow level with the ground and help balance moods and energy levels. Root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, beets and burdock, grow into the ground and absorb the nutrients from the soil in which they grow. Therefore, they have a strong downward energy and are great for grounding us when we feel overstimulated.
In contrast to these vegetables, reﬂect for a moment on the character of a donut. It starts with dough, made of wheat and sugar; then it’s deep fried, probably in a less-than-desirable oil. Often it’s ﬁlled with jam, cream or custard, or topped with a sweet glaze of icing. What kind of energy do you imagine you get from this donut? How would that diﬀer from the energy you get from eating organic roasted root vegetables? As you cultivate awareness around the energy of your food, and how it is passed onto you, you will begin to make greater strides in recognizing your own mind-body connection.