Food For Thought

Rich Evans, former Committee on Publication for Arizona

Savory or sweet might be our menu preferences but Dr. Andrew Weil suggests that “Bitter is Better” in his recent Huffington Post article (April 28, 2014) regarding the food we eat. Of course, it makes good sense to rebalance our eating with some less sweet tasting vegetables along with our more habitual fare.  Variety in diet has always made sense.

It was Aristotle who promoted the Golden Mean…balance (moderation) in all things. Naturopaths have built a health profession on the premise that most disease is caused by the unbalancing of one’s normal physical composition. They seek to restore it naturally to balance, often through the food one eats. Focus on eating behaviors and negative outcomes for poor eating behaviors have never had more public, even governmental, attention. Most Americans are aware of the dedication of the First Lady, Michelle Obama, to healthy nutrition of the young in our country. Many media publications have complete sections devoted to diet and health.

But for all the focus on healthy nutrition, a wise precept from the past is often forgotten: “What defiles a person is not what goes into the mouth; it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles a person.” We are pretty careful not to ingest things that will upset our stomach, but are we equally as careful not to take in and voice ideas that are upsetting, even damaging?

It seems like most grocery shoppers are careful to examine the labels on food before purchasing or using. I’ve known friends who have considered every ingredient in organic garlic pepper, noting that it had a trace of organic sugar and therefore, they couldn’t eat the wild-caught salmon on the grill seasoned with it. We sensibly take stock of what we put into our mouth. But perhaps an even more important question is, how discriminate are we with the ideas or images we take into our thought that result in things we say and do?

On the positive side, thoughts that lead to unselfish acts toward others leave healthy imprints. But a diet of clever but biting humor, without any balance of mental uplift, can lead to dark and empty images. Dwelling on or sharing such images robs us of the opportunity to engage in enriching dialogue that might help resolve societal problems.

Unsolved problems often create anxiety, which isn’t a healthy state of thought. In keeping with Aristotle, we might better seek to balance our concern for food perfection, an elusive goal, with a diet for enriched ideas and beneficial conversation.  Our world needs our best thinking, conversing, and acting, more than anything.

There are many sources for finding help to balance our intake of good thinking and acting? I find balance in this statement from an inspiring and effective spiritual thinker: “Selfishness and sensualism are educated in [human consciousness] by the thoughts ever recurring to one’s self, by conversation about the body, and by the expectation of perpetual pleasure or pain from it; and this education is at the expense of spiritual growth”… a heavy expense.

If we focus a bit more attention on what we are consuming in consciousness and a bit less on physical diet, we might find the rebalancing we are looking for that includes a diviner, less food-centered, experience. Then what “comes out of the mouth” will be health-generating to ourselves and to others. That’s balanced food — for thought.

*Matt. 15:11 (New English Translation)

Science and Health With Key To The Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 260

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