I remember our sweaty, mud-clad arrival at a scenic North Devon beach-front inn, having just hiked a gruelling, yet satisfying, stage of the South West Coast Path. The undeniably mouth-watering abundance of heaving plates transported by graceful waiters, the tantalising aromas and the beautifully handwritten A-frame chalk boards with their flowery lettering, gave promise of ‘Beer Battered Cod Fish Fingers, Tartare Sauce and Iceberg Greens’. Can you taste it?
Language and use of words around food is influential, and so too is the way the food makes you feel. That dimpsy Spring evening, on arriving at that pub, there was a promise of fuel, yes, of a full belly, absolutely, but there was something more than that. An energetic satisfaction, an ethereal fulfilment, and the perfect spiritual celebration to complete our perfect day.
Because food, at its best, crosses the boundaries of practical, necessary, physiological fuel and lovingly navigates us towards emotional, connected, heart-warming experiences. Have you ever felt that you’re straddling the worlds of spiritual and earthly, when enjoying your favourite dish? Has there ever been a foodie experience that has been so heavenly that you lost track of time? I truly hope so.
Add food to a celebration or festivity and you can be transported into yet another blissful realm. On this day, with the thrill of accomplishment in our hearts and the throb of lactic acid in our sore muscles, that fish finger sandwich was simply the best possible energetic match.
As a lifelong student of science, anatomy and physiology, being a pragmatic and logical Personal Trainer and Yoga Teacher, I’ve completed over 1,000 hours of education in guiding the human body. We all know that our body uses food as energy. You may also be familiar with the process of the body turning food into ATP and ADP, in order to perform every daily task you need, from getting out of bed to bungee jumping. Food keeps our heart beating, our lungs breathing, aids growth and repair. Food is our natural healer. But how about this more celestial, intangible meaning of the word ‘energy’ when you eat? What does the word ‘energy’ mean to you, when talking about food?
Thanks to a whole heap of intuitive learning and utter devotion to my craft, I am now starting to gauge everything in terms of its energy. What colour is your food, energetically? Are there certain foods you find calming, or some you find invigorating?
Try this simple exercise. For your next meal, take just a couple of mindful moments with your plate of food in front of you. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply through your nose, pausing at the top of your inhale for just a moment, and then breathe out, long and slow, through your mouth. Keep your eyes closed and picture your plate of food, but look, with your internal eye, past the colours you know your meal is made up of. What other colours are there, on your plate, beyond those which appear obvious? Is there a sense of warmth, of yang, of excitement, a buzz? Or is there an anticipation of cooling, of yin, of serenity? Take one more of those delicious, conscious breaths. Then open your eyes, smile to yourself and tuck into your meal.
I can’t promise you will ever find a more soulful conclusion than my fish finger sandwich on the South West Coast Path. But I know there is always a little magic to be found in your food. Take it slowly. Every day. Savour. Enjoy.
The above article was written by Luisa especially for ‘Soulfood September’, hosted by the fantastic ‘Soulhub’. “A hub of individual and collective thoughts and feelings; events and expertise to provide guidance for us to reach our best version of ourselves.” Check them out at soulhub.co.uk and follow along online on Instagram.
Need even more soulful inspiration? Join Luisa’s brand new women’s circle on Zoom.
As women, we need this connection. This year more than ever.
Saturday 17th October 4pm – 5.30pm UK time. I’m keeping numbers small to keep our circle safe and intimate. Read more, or book, from just £5, here.