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Depowering Food

  • Eating

It’s amazing the false power we give to food, how we offer ourselves up as its hostage and let it dominate our lives. We fork over our power, then spend the rest of our lives trying to grab it back. When this happens, it’s time to think of Dorothy and her friends in The Wizard of Oz—we need the courage to unmask food and see it for what it really is so that we can get it working for, not against, us.
Food is nothing more than molecules, some natural, some artificial that contain the nutrients we need to live. Any specialness we perceive is conferred on it by us. Although one food may taste better than another, likes and dislikes are a matter of preference. Food may have mood-altering and anesthetizing properties, but unlike alcohol and drugs, it does not have the chemical make up to actually remove us from reality or render us totally unconscious.
Think of food as fuel that tastes good so that we’ll eat it to stay alive and flourish. To become more marketable, it has been made more palatable by technology, and has certainly become tastier over the centuries. Yummy as it is, however, its purpose remains the same as ever: to keep you going. It’s not there to tempt or challenge you. It has no will of its own and, ironically, is there only to serve your best interests.
Absurd as it sounds, try this exercise. Using a food that’s a challenge because you give it false power over you, take it and put in on the floor in front of you facing a mirror. Notice the amazing difference in size between one large human and one tiny portion of whatever. Notice too what this food is doing—nothing. It’s not reaching up or calling out to you, jumping into your mouth, or trying to seduce or strong-arm you in any way. Food is inert. In fact, standing right there, you could squash it with your foot or kick it into a corner and there it would remain forever. So, I ask you, who has the power?
My point is to show you how you willfully relinquish power to something that doesn’t deserve it. Every time you say that a food is shouting you’re name, you’re projecting your feelings onto it, while it’s not doing a damned thing. Think about it: you don’t have to bar challenging food from your life; you have to reshuffle your thinking about it. The problem is not with the food, but with your attitude toward it. Again, as we learned in The Wizard of Oz, the ability to take charge of your life has always been there, within you all along. Try reminding yourself every day that food is just food with no magical qualities and that you’re powerful enough to make decisions about it that will keep you happy and healthy.