In the month of March, I decided to be more conscious of the food I put in my body, in hopes of changing my habit of eating processized and otherwise unhealthy foods. I used Facebook as an outlet to hold myself accountable to eating better by publicly announcing my Compassionate Food: Photo Blog for 30 days. According to the New York Times, taking pictures of food is a common practice, increased with the amount of social networking tools out there.
During the month, I highlighted one meal throughout a given day that traveled to my plate compassionately. I tried to eat locally to help stimulate the local farming economy. I started ordering meat from Green Zabiha, a grass-fed and organic meat provider in the VA area. Naturally, I ended up eating less meat because the process of attaining the meat was intentional and costly, but I was willing to pay the premium, knowing where my meat came from and knowing that the animals were treated with dignity. I ended up cooking most of my meals which yes, also took time. But again, it was worth it to me to take time out for myself and prepare a healthy a meal.
It was an incredible month of conditioning, self-reflection and appreciation of my blessings. Through each day, I felt as though I was creating a reciprocal relationship of compassion and nourishment for my body. The process became a way for me to worship the Creator for providing me with sustenance as well as demanding respect for my body, while making sure it was nourished with good foods. By making a production out of the meals, I felt as though I was preserving the integrity of the food and allowing myself the opportunity to be intentional about what I put in my body.
Habits change slowly and steadily. The vision behind this change of habit was not a reactionary approach; I wasn’t trying to deny myself by going on a diet. Rather, I allowed myself to think about the possibility of fresh and healthy meals which made me feel better than I ever have about my diet. Instead of thinking about what I wasn’t eating, I conditioned myself to think about everything I was enjoying and how it was preserving my health.
Also, food unites people. By making an event out of my meals, I took the time to invite people over and share what I was eating. This strengthened the bonds between friends. It felt like we were all in this fight together. Sharing my images on Facebook also put me back in touch with people I haven’t talked to in years because again, food brings people together. That is also what I have been seeing in Jamie Oliver’s show Food Revolution. Oliver won a TED award for his work of revamping Britain’s school lunch program. In his show, Oliver goes to a city in West Virginia, labeled as the unhealthiest in America by the CDC, to hold up a mirror to folks about the rubbish children are eating in schools. You can watch free episodes here.