Connecting With Nature Through Food
One of my goals was to connect with nature more. At the offset, it seemed like the logical next spiritual step to connect with nature. Connect with nature? What does that even mean! I struggled to define what a closer connection with nature looked like for my life, and I grew frustrated that I wasn’t connecting.
One way I like to help sort my world out is through precise definitions. So ok, I’m unhappy that I can’t connect with nature. How do I connect with nature??? *crickets* I couldn’t even define for myself what connecting with nature looked like. Again, things start with language. So I made a thought organizer diagram with nature in the middle and branched bubbles for ideas for connecting with nature. I did a lot of thinking and got nowhere.
I spent hours thinking about what connection to nature meant still. I live near the water, I take walks out there (sometimes), I get sunshine. I proceeded with my weekly routine of work, then farmer’s markets on the weekends. Farmer’s markets all the time, just absorbing the energy thinking. I walked across a booth that I had walked by many times before for microgreens. But I had never noticed how the greens’ roots were a bit covered in dirt. They were alive, vibrant little stems, and they were literally connected to the earth.
It hit me — literally interacting with and consuming food is a connection to nature. We literally swallow nature every single day if we’re doing things right and eating a vegetable.
I am mentally ill. I used to think that simple solutions are too cheap, too simple to be able to provide me worthwhile relief for symptoms. I used to think that healing and wellness had to be complicated and complex, a lengthy and time-consuming process. Sometimes the solutions to our desires come in a simple form. By taking a look at my past and current habits and connecting them to my future desires, I was able to give myself a simple solution for my struggles with nature.
I am able to connect with nature through food. And I have defined it in such a simple way that: I do not feel overwhelmed, this desired new quality can be achieved through practical action and minimal effort beyond my current habits within a short frame. I used to define connecting nature as the Instagram and doctor recommended ideal: go hiking, go camping, take your dog to the lake, visit a jungle, and so on. But those things take effort, strength, time, training, supplies, or other obstacles I feel underprepared for. By refining my desire with a concrete definition, I was able to continue a mindfulness practice that I had wanted to incorporate within myself.
If you desire a deeper connection with nature as part of your healing and wellness, connecting with nature through food is an excellent way to satisfy that desire. Trigger warning: the parts ahead might seem vegan culty, but I am speaking about my own experiences. Do not take this as medical advice, and please see a medical professional before you make any drastic changes to your diet.
There are tangible benefits to connecting with nature through food, besides the pleasurable sensations it provides.
- Knowing what you eat, and tracking it, can help you identify how food affects you mentally or physically.
- Buying food locally allows your local environment to support the community and reduce waste associated with food transport.
- Selecting good produce is an interactive experience and can be treated mindfully: smell the scents, look at the wide variety of colors, notice the textures.
- Being more mindful of what we eat allows us to adjust our diet to nutritional needs versus unhealthy cravings
- Cooking at home increases the interaction time with the natural world
- Eating more plants is healthy, period.
But What About Meat?
On this journey, I’ve learned that my connection with nature seeks to be one that creates a symbiotic relationship between people and other living things on the planet. So connecting with nature means incorporating more plants, fruits, vegetables into my diet. How much I can eat is finite, and as I’ve incorporated more plant-based foods, I literally have less room in my stomach and diet for meat. I’ve also monitored what I eat many times, and meat just doesn’t make me feel good. In my definition, my connection with nature doesn’t make animals my food source. Plants became my main food source. But this was, for me, a gradual shift, and one that was natural.
Do I Have To Be Vegan To Connect With Nature?
Nope! Not at all! just try eating more plants!
Baby steps, my friend, baby steps. Do the work, but take baby steps.
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