This past summer after 13 years of following a vegetarian diet I began to eat fish again. I’d fallen ill and found myself so depleted that my body could not get the necessary nutrients from vegetable proteins. Over the years of my spiritual practice I’ve noticed that different wisdom traditions prescribe different eating practices. Some say to forego pork; others say to cut out all meat and fish. Specific teachers create other rules like “no onions” or eat only raw foods.
Moving into a more spiritual life naturally invites reflection on diets and often some adjustments are needed. I cut out coffee and I cut down on processed sugar and carbs. I’ve experimented with many of the diets including vegan, where I cut out dairy – which I found beneficial, and an all raw diet where I realized my body could not get the nutrients it needed from suddenly shifting to only uncooked foods.
But as the body becomes more sensitive it may also mean recognizing allergies to gluten in certain wheat products or intolerance of dairy products. Maintaining a healthy body creates a solid basis for sound spiritual practice.
Often spiritual-minded individuals forget that we are also physical beings in a physical body. If the body isn’t healthy, vibrant and sound doing spiritual practices will be much more challenging. If you feel called to change your diet pay attention to your physical body and be practical about its needs. I find that by seeking equilibrium and gentle, slow change as opposed to rapid jumps and starts, my body feels happiest and healthiest. What’s yours saying?
Bio: Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, May 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at http://www.awakeintheworld.com and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/DebraMoffittAwakeintheWorld