Image by AllNikArt
The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” refers to treating others the way you want to be treated. This applies to our food, those living beings—vegetable, animal, and mineral—that provide us with nourishment and sustain our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy. And if you truly accept that we are individual manifestations of the same whole, embodying one another in a state of interconnectedness, then it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to harm any other living being anymore than you would consider harming yourself.
Cultures from around the world have eaten everything you can think of: from peoples in the Far North, who mostly had a meat diet due to harsh weather; to peoples who are vegetarian or vegan due to belief; to peoples who believe hunting is sacred; to peoples who developed in fertile areas that were prosperous and peaceful, who focused on food as art and ate a little bit of everything.
In modern times there have been endless scientific studies telling us the right way to eat. I think diet is incredibly personal, and there is not any one correct way to approach diet outside of this important dictum: Be kind, and do it with reverence.
Let’s start esoterically and work our way down to the physical. It’s important to understand that food is memory. Mother Earth has been refining herself from the beginning of time; every species of plant and animal has contributed to her evolution. Each carrot, deer, marigold, etc., possesses a cosmic memory, has a unique story to tell, and reflects the light of the universe, which in turn helps us remember our own origins and evolution. Humankind as a microcosm contains within itself all of the elemental kingdoms—mineral, plant, and animal.
Plants are a divine boon and greatly influence us on a subtle level, kneading and forming our energetic bodies by linking our physical self with nature’s divine intelligence. The more you ingest a specific plant, the more its energetic signature becomes your energetic signature. Once it is understood how plants inform so much of our behaviors, the question becomes, how do you want to treat this plant creator of you that you will consume? I would say mindfully engage with plants with the greatest respect and reverence and do what you can to create an ideal living situation for them. The grace of the plant kingdom will aid you regardless, but if you want to forge a relationship, put forward actions that will cultivate connection.
There is now a wonderful trend toward supporting small local farms, as evidenced by the farm-to-table movement and the proliferation of farmer’s markets. These are not merely places to shop for food, they are considered outings that rival going to a museum. Many people keep their own gardens, showing great creativity in growing food in small outdoor spaces or in containers. This tells me that people want to connect with their food personally; they understand that the happier the plant, the more dynamic its prana, or chi, will be.
Today we find more and more organic options that reduce our risk of exposure to harmful pesticides. Dr. Valencia Porter, a leader in environmental and preventive medicine, states:
Organophosphate pesticides (OPs) were originally developed as neurological poisons for chemical warfare in World War I and act as a poison to the nervous systems of insects, plants, and humans. High levels of OPs are associated with increased ADHD, decreased IQ, and dementia. A different class, called organochlorine pesticides, poison insulin-receptor sites, worsen metabolic syndrome and diabetes, and have other effects on hormonal and immune systems. The herbicide atrazine, found in 94 percent of our water supply, has been linked to birth defects, infertility, and cancer. Combinations of these chemicals with other toxic agents such as arsenic and aluminum can have synergistic effects, making matters worse. The good news is that blood levels of these toxins can decrease quickly after switching to organic foods.[Porter and Chopra, Resilient Health, 51.]
If pesticides affect us this harshly on a physical level, not to mention their subtle effects on us, just try feeling into the experience of a plant that is continually poisoned from birth to harvest. This is not a nourished or nourishing space. It’s no way to treat our fellow beings of the plant realm.
A few rules of thumb do apply for keeping your produce vibrant and radiant: the fresher the better, as more of its vital energy is still intact; grown with love from a source you know; organic if at all possible; and once at home, handle with love and attention. Finally, take time to give thanks and show your respect when you store your produce, prepare it, and cook it.
Get The Latest By Email
If you cannot swing it to buy local, organic, lovingly raised produce, please do not stress or judge yourself. If you live in an area with fewer options or if financially it’s not possible to obtain these premium foods, do the best you can with what you have at your disposal, and always give thanks and show respect.
The same principles that apply to vegetables apply to the animal products we consume. The quality of life for farm animals and the land on which they are raised is paramount when it comes to the energetic value of the food they provide us with.
On a purely physical level, when antibiotics and added hormones are introduced into your body via poor treatment of animals and land, as in factory-farm situations, it’s more than likely that your meat was exposed to bacteria and viruses and inhumane living conditions. And it’s well-known that factory farms pollute the environment and poison drinking water, and as more of these animals must be fed, this means more industrial farming practices that introduce toxic chemicals into the land and waterways. On the other hand, free-range, pastured animals raised on natural forage supplemented with healthy food have a higher nutritional value and taste better and offer numerous well- documented health benefits.
Let’s Talk About Ethics
The members of the animal kingdom wear their hearts on their sleeves, so to speak, and they are a direct reflection of we humans in that they feel things physically and emotionally. They have complex inner lives, family structures, and unique languages and personalities. How can we not shower them with love and care?
Ask yourself, “What do I need to thrive?” Of course we need plenty of space; balanced, nutritious food; a comfortable shelter; a family unit that is happy and where you feel safe and loved; and the chance to enjoy life. If this is so for we humans, then shouldn’t we provide the same to those animals we consume as food? A unique role we have as human beings on this interconnected planet is to be stewards of the many animals who do not have free-will choice like we humans do.
There is spiritual wisdom to be found in “all our relations,” including different animals, who can be our teachers and guides and help us to understand our place in the cosmos. Many belief systems state that not only can we learn from animals through observation, prayer, and study, but they also teach us behaviors and lessons on a subtle level when we take them into our bodies as physical nourishment.
There is a strong ethical consideration and responsibility when it comes to the energetics of the animal products we consume. Beyond the physical and environmental concerns, beef from a factory farm, for instance, does not provide the same energy as pastured beef humanely raised and slaughtered.
Jamie Sams, a member of the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge, reminds us how paramount it is to give other beings their space, be it protecting wild habitats or promoting proper animal husbandry: “Nature teaches us how to know ourselves in the purest way possible. If we listen and watch, every lesson of human living is given by the animals, the changes in the Wind, Father Sky, Mother Earth, and All Our Relations. Each aspect of your world has its space in which to create. If that space is respected by others, growth continues in harmony.” [Sams, Sacred Path Cards, 319]
It is important to remember that you take into yourself not only all the cosmic memories but also cellular memories from the meat, dairy, and eggs you consume. It is vital that that you source all from an ethical and humane source, as their memories and emotions become your memories and emotions.
I live in rural Oregon where small farms, hobby farms, and homesteading are common. Here it’s easy to source meat, eggs, and dairy from people who have devoted their lives to mindful and loving animal husbandry and stewardship of the land. Even if you live in a city, increasingly there are options for choosing ethically and sustainably sourced animal products, whether at the local farmer’s market or at a natural foods store; and nowadays, in response to a growing movement recognizing the health benefits of eating humanely raised animals, some large supermarket chains are offering pasture-raised products. So wherever you live, try your best to source your meat, eggs, and dairy from a source you trust.
Processed Foods and Other No-No’s
Processed foods have a bad rap, but in reality any time we cook, bake, or prepare food, we’re processing it. There is the prewashed and bagged lettuce or spinach (preferably organic) that we use for convenience sake, or precooked whole grains, Greek yogurt, nut butters, organic stock, tofu, frozen vegetables, and unsalted canned beans—all acceptable from a vibrational standpoint.
In contrast to these benign forms of processing there is the other end of the spectrum—foods that have been heavily altered with chemical preservatives and damaging, questionable, rancid ingredients and added colorings; snacks that come in packages with a long list of unpronounceable additives; pre-made microwavable meals; and frozen pizza. These foods, as you probably have guessed, are energetically “dead” and to be avoided.
Refined sugar is another taboo in vibrational nutrition. It is extracted from foods like corn and sugar beets (which are usually genetically modified crops) and sugar cane. The chemically produced sugar that results from the extraction process, including the worst, high-fructose corn syrup, is added to foods and beverages such as crackers, packaged cereals, flavored yogurt, tomato sauce, and salad dressings. Low-fat foods are the worst offenders, as manufacturers consistently use refined sugar to add flavor.
Most processed junk foods add calories and unhealthy forms of sugar and have no nutritional value, in contrast to natural forms of sugar such as fruit and unsweetened milk, which have vitamins and minerals, fiber and protein. As well, a diet of junk food is not only dead in terms of nutritional value, it is also a leading cause of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments of our modern, “civilized” society.
Following Oscar Wilde’s dictum “Everything in moderation, including moderation,” I do use certain processed foods in moderation in my cooking, including canned tomato paste, anchovy paste, canned unsalted beans, jarred artichoke hearts, olives, tofu, soy sauce, and so on. These items obviously do not offer as much chi or nutritional value as their fresh counterparts, but they still carry the energetic blueprint from the foods they hail from. For example, you want to explore the energy of pinto beans, you could use either dried or canned unsalted beans to access that frequency.
The final word on processed foods is this: as embodied beings, pleasure has a role in our lives. Cooking for the sake of the taste experience or making a recipe exactly the way your mother made it offers certain pleasures that makes our lives fun. Needless to say, if any of these foods cause harm or contribute to an imbalance or disease, you should eliminate them from your diet.*
*Remember, I’m writing from an energetic point of view, so if you’re interested specifically in how food impacts your physical health, especially if you have food allergies or specific health problems, I recommend Resilient Health by Valencia Porter and Deepak Chopra; and Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra.
It is such a rewarding and life-affirming practice to get to know the foods we eat a little bit better! Our foods offer a multifaceted range of gifts. I encourage you to deepen your own relationship with and knowledge of each food.
©2021 by Candice Covington. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Healing Arts Press, an imprint of InnerTraditions Intl.
Vibrational Nutrition: Understanding the Energetic Signature of Foods
by Candice Covington
Most of us are familiar with the physical health benefits of fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, and spices and their nutritional effects on the human body. But what about the vibrational benefits of foods? How does our diet affect the energy body and our emotional, mental, and spiritual states?
In this comprehensive guide to vibrational nutrition, Candice Covington explores the vibrational signatures of the foods we eat and how they help form the energetic structures that influence our behaviors and spirit. She details the energetic and spiritual qualities of more than 400 common foods, drinks, and seasonings. Offering a selection of recipes along with interpretations of their energetic stories, the author explores how to intuitively select foods and food combinations to reinforce your energy patterns, support you in any endeavor, and provide nutrition for body, mind, and spirit.
About the Author
Candice Covington is a certified aromatherapist, massage therapist, healing arts master, and energy worker. A former instructor at Ashmead College and former aromatherapist for the Chopra Center, she is the founder of Divine Archetypes, an essential oil and flower essence company, and the author of Essential Oils in Spiritual Practice.
Visit her website at DivineArchetypes.org/