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Finding your own solutions

August 6, 2010
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My Buddha bowl

My Buddha bowl

Feedback is an essential part of the process of feeding your true self. Making space and time to learn your internal feedback signals and listen to them grows your ability to make sustainable, enriching choices for yourself. I’ve learned that balance is a feedback response I can listen for. Listening for balance is a critical differentiator in being able to take on a behavior change that sticks from the inside out, rather than trying to beat it into ourselves.

For example, figuring out what I needed to have on hand in order to feed myself was a process in itself. If I have to chase down a different ingredient each time I make a recipe or wonder what the heck I am going to make….well, as they say in New Jersey, fuggedaboutit! (Its hard to believe, but I spent nearly three months after the wedding thinking it was my job to cook something NEW for dinner each night. HUHN?!) Listening to what actions gave me back energy and when became a critical part of identifying feeding solutions that worked for Me. Not in my head, but for my being. For the every day me, not some future me I wanted to get to. That is a solution for which I can be present every day, rather than a solution someone else tells me I should want for myself.

Figuring out your feeding solutions begins with working out the answers to questions along the entire feeding spectrum. This week’s low hanging fruit describes the following questions in more detail:

  • What is food? That is, what do I define as food? What feeds me? While the answers to these can get bigger than food (for example, I consider meditation as food for myself), we can keep the focus on items that land on your grocery list for now. Read Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food to kick start your exploring.
  • Where do I go to get it? Defining the source of your food for yourself is also an empowering act. (Read another Michael Pollan book, Omnivore’s Dilemma to understand farming practices in these United States, and how that leads to the food you see in your markets, whether that is a grocery store or farmer’s market.) The answers to this question defines where you shop for groceries, how often and where you eat out, and what you decide to grow on your own (herbs? Tomatoes? More? ). I have becoming very interested in sourcing my food and and am conscious about where I go for a particular food item and why.
  • How much of it do I need and do I spend on it? I am a very pragmatic girl. Having been in a situation where I slid from having more income to less, I learned to make choices about where to spend my limited food dollars. I learned to care very much about how well I could feed my family on how little. (This is why, as much as possible, I try to identify the cost per serving on recipes I post.) Earlier this year, I finally came around to my husband’s notion of a two sentence diet book (“Eat less!” he says, and it inspired the name for this site and writing) and learned how by consuming much less quantity of certain items (such as grass fed steak), we could add high quality meats on a more regular basis to our lives.
  • How do I prepare it and feed myself? This can include anything from the extent you want to cook the food before you feed yourself (versus the rawness of it), to the flavors you choose to how much time you want to spend on it. For some, this also includes colorful place settings or candlelight. Why not?

So the question “What is food” really becomes a bigger question because of all the choices you have on what you allow to enter your mouth—from the taste of it, to the contents, and to the amount. Then there are also the steps to what it takes to get the ingredients to what you consider “food”…a piece of steak is an ingredient, it can’t feed you until its been raised, obtained and prepared. All of these steps are part of the overall solution that will feed you.

And all of these, in my experience, must be lived through you, as you. Seeing your choices, owning the choice as yours, and making it…that’s what makes a solution yours. It seems to me that there could be a thousand websites out there full of answers of how to create meals in under 30 minutes, and the value of organic to conventional, and the dangers of eating enriched flour. But…well, I got a bottle of Elliot’s Amazing juice once in college from a street vendor in Philadelphia. The bottle cap had a saying on it, as they do from time to time. Mine was a quote from Buddha, “Work out your own solutions, do not depend on others.” (I have always kept that bottle cap and it has served as a huge source of guidance. In fact, I am looking at it now on my desk. Find it in the photo above.)

This is really at the heart of the message here on eat less, feed more. Other people’s solutions—from your mother’s to Food Network’s to mine–cannot stick for you. Only you can take on yours. Just like you pick out a great shirt or blouse or shawl for yourself—that is how you must define and form what feeds you. So, when I say your wellness is within you, take the You part of it to heart and take it all the way in. It is all about you–your particular priorities, preferences at constraints at this moment in time.

When I tried putting on someone else’s solution for me (equating cooking everyday with being a model spouse), I realized I didn’t enjoy it. But I was getting unhealthy from the food choices I had been making so it forced me to examine what I was doing. But I can only really feed myself when what I am giving to the act of feeding myself is in equilibrium with the energy I am receiving back from it. That is balance. That is conscious awareness and it promotes the ability to make responsible choices with desire, and oddly, without effort. More on that in a later post.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 9, 2013 9:56 am

    Great post! Thanks Monisha!

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