5 Super Important Questions to Ask Yourself About Food

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Here’s a suggestion: if you care about health, if you care about nutrition, if you care about good eating, then it’s a good idea to keep asking good questions about food.

Asking the right questions about food inevitably points us in a smart direction with what we put in our body.

The greatest advances in science, technology, philosophy, art, and culture have so often come because somebody somewhere was asking the right questions.

Questions can be quite powerful.

  •  Who am I?
  •  What’s my purpose in this world?
  •  How can I reach my highest potential?
  •  How can I contribute?
  •  How can I find true love?
  •  What do I need to be happy?

Such questions activate the mind and guide the soul. They’re like fine tuned honing devices that help us access a greater wisdom.

So in the interest of having a healthier body, a well functioning metabolism, and a nourishing relationship with food – here are 5 powerful and important questions to ask yourself about you and food.

1.    Do I eat in the ideal state of digestion, assimilation, & calorie burning?

This is a foundational question that I consider one of the top two questions that anyone could possibly ask in the realm of eating and nutrition. That’s because we could be eating the healthiest food in the universe, but if we’re not eating under the ideal state of digestion, assimilation, and calorie burning – which happens to be the physiologic relaxation response – then we’re in no way getting the full nutritional value of our meal.  If we eat under stress, we’re excreting nutrients, digestion is impaired, hormones such as insulin and cortisol are secreted which can stimulate weight gain and de-regulate appetite, the function of healthy gut bacteria is impaired, and the list goes on and on. We are physiologically designed, by the brilliance of evolution and a higher wisdom – to be optimal processors of nutrition when we’re in the state of parasympathetic nervous system dominance – a fancy term for relaxation. Ask yourself this powerful question at every meal, and commit to techniques such as deep breathing, slowing down, taking time with food, and calming your mind – and you’ll officially be a nutritional superstar.

2.    Am I nutritionally flexible?

Being nutritionally flexible means that we’re willing to explore when it comes to food and diet. We live in a time when the nutritional landscape is changing rapidly. We re exposed to stressors, toxins in the environment, poor quality food, and all kinds of assaults on our immune system. It’s a good time to be flexible and experiment. Are you willing to try different supplements? If you’ve been a heavy meat eater for all your life, are you willing to go vegetarian for a while? If you’ve been vegetarian for a long time, and your health is suffering, have you considered eating high quality animal foods? Are you open to cleansing?  Would you consider going gluten-free for a few months? Switching to organic foods? Buying locally produced foods? Have you tried including more healthy fats in your diet? Do you try new foods? Nutritional flexibility gives us the greatest chance for long-term health and long-term survival. Plus it can be a lot of fun.

3.    Am I in my body?

This might be the hardest question to wrap yourself around. A lot of people eat well, exercise, and do good things for their body. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are “in” the body. Another way to say this is that there are a lot of us walking around a bit “checked out” from the body. Such people are disembodied. This is a subtle distinction, but it has profound effects. When we’re checked out of the body, we’re not fully present, we’re not fully sensitive to body wisdom and body feedback, and the mind is always wandering somewhere else and not paying any attention to the thing that the body is doing in the moment. When you exercise, are you focused on your body or are you in your head? When you eat, do you focus at all on the food, or are you living inside your mind that’s chattering away? When you’re touching your loved one, or hugging your kids, are you really feeling them and truly embracing them? Fully embodying your life is a powerful practice and a metabolic game changer. Simply asking yourself, “am I in my body?” throughout the day helps us to embody. And the more we embody, the more metabolically powerful we become.

4.    Do I put love into the equation?

Good for you if you focus on good nutrition, good for you if you read up about health and healing, and congratulations for learning as much information as you can about food and eating. What I often see happen with people who have a solid interest in nutrition is they forget vitamin L – love. Love is the missing ingredient in a majority of weight loss diets and nutritional approaches, it’s a missing ingredient in the food industry, and it’s often absent in the offices of practitioners who help us with food and body. No matter what you eat, what kind of nutritional philosophy you adhere to, or what foods you think are the right ones for everyone to eat – if there’s no love in the equation, then our nutritional strategies are deficient. This is a great homework assignment for you: get creative about all the ways you can add more love into your relationship with food.

5.    How do I nourish the world?

Nutrition, food, and health are no longer a mere personal affair. How our food is grown, produced, marketed, and consumed impacts all of us. There are a lot of people out there who don’t have enough. There’s a lot of people out there who are lacking in education and understanding of good health. There’s far too much social and nutritional injustice in the world. So, how do you nourish the world? How do you give back to others? How do you share your good bounty? What goes around comes around. Nourish yourself, and nourish the world, and the best of who we are is automatically born.

I hope these questions were helpful my friends. I would love to know what you think!

Marc David
Founder of Institute for the Psychology of Eating

© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2014

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  • nur

    thank u so much for this aspiring article. love ur energy. im gluten free not by choice but because of an intolerance and going through tough times adjusting my life style. listening to ur summit is helping a lot .thank u sooooo much. so far the most bothering thing is not being able to socialize like i used to. seems like most of the gatherings are food related and i feel terrible. also when i try to share the things i learn friends get very defensive of their food. after a year of reading about food i got intrigued and started school for nutrition. but everybody is so dogmatic like as if they have been lulled into the same information such as cholesterol is bad for u, energy drink is good for u…etc. and no one is willing to accept anything aside from what the popular media is saying. it is very discouraging especially after i started to go to school. reading this Particle i believe will help me at least to ask the right question when encountered by a witty person :)

    • http://www.psychologyofeating.com Marc David

      Hi there,

      Thank you very much for reaching out and sharing your story. Big adjustments like the one you shared about can be tough, but it sounds like you are on a great path to improve your health!

      So glad that you connected with the article and good luck moving forward!

      Best,
      Marc

  • Anna

    As always, Marc, you “hit the nail on the head” yet again! When I read your posts, I’m always amazed at your profound ability to see the larger picture and communicate from a place of Love and realness. Many thanks for all that you are!

    • http://www.psychologyofeating.com Marc David

      Hi Anna,

      Thank you very much for reaching out and sharing your kind words. It really means a lot to know how much you connect with my work!

      Thanks for being a part of the tribe!

      Warmly,
      Marc

  • Alesea

    Amazing article!
    Do you have any tips of how to be “in your body” (question 3)?

    • http://www.psychologyofeating.com Marc David

      Hi Alesa,

      That’s a great question. I think it is different for everyone, and I would love to hear what others have to say so let’s open this up! What does everyone think?

      Thank you for reaching out and starting a great conversation!

      Best,
      Marc

      • ellie

        Alesea –
        I tend to live in my head a lot so #3 really resonated with me. One thing I’ve used successfully is setting the alarm on my phone for different times of the day with a gentle ring. When it goes off it’s time to turn attention to my body – how do my feet feel on the ground? If I’m sitting, how does that feel on my legs? Basically it’s running a status check from toes on up so see how the body is feeling – and to hone my awareness of my body. all best, ellie

      • Laurie

        Hi Alesa,
        This excerpt is taken from Geneen Roth’s Women, Food and God. She refers to it as Beginning Inquiry – it is intention is for you to start connecting to feel and understand what it is like to be “in your body”. Hope this helps!
        “Give yourself twenty minutes in which you won’t be disturbed.
        • Sense your body. Feel the surface you are sitting on. Notice the point of contact your skin is making with your clothes. Be aware of your feet as they touch the floor. Feel yourself inhabiting your arms, your legs, your chest, your hands.
        • Ask yourself what you are sensing right now—and where you are sensing it. Be precise. Do you feel tingling? Pulsing? Tightening? Do you feel warmth or coolness? Are the sensations in your chest? Your back? Your throat? Your arms?
        • Start with the most compelling sensations and ask these questions: Does the sensation have shape, volume, texture, color? How does it affect me to feel this? Is there anything difficult about feeling this? Is it familiar? How old do I feel when I feel this? What happens as I feel it directly?
        • At this point, you might begin associating a sensation with a memory or a particular feeling like sadness or loneliness. And you might have a reaction, might want to close down, go away, stop writing. Remember that a sensation is an immediate, primary experience located in the body, whereas a reaction is a secondary “feel when I feel this? What happens as I feel it directly?”

        Excerpt From: Geneen Roth. “Women Food and God.”

  • Caterina

    Thank you so much for this!! Sometimes I forget that nutrition is and should be because I love myself! This really brightened a bad day!

    • http://www.psychologyofeating.com Marc David

      Hi Caterina,

      I’m glad that I could brighten your day, and that you are remembering to love yourself.

      Thank you for reaching out!

      Warmly,
      Marc

  • Matty

    Want to know what I think? I think you do a tremendous service for all of us when you write articles like the one above. Now, how can we get more folks to listen? Thank you so much for zeroing in on what is most important and expressing your thoughts with such love.

    • http://www.psychologyofeating.com Marc David

      Hi Matty,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to reach out with your kind words. You made my day!

      Warmly,
      Marc

  • Lora

    How does being in our bodies impact our metabolism? I am interested in any resources or additional learning on that. And the nutritional flexibility is my favorite point from this article, and I think it’s an especially useful and needed message for people who work in this field. I know I need to hear it often, even when I encourage others to practice this flexibility and curiosity and acceptance with themselves.

  • http://www.psychologyofeating.com Marc David

    Hi Lora,

    You bring up some good points here – flexibility, curiosity and acceptance are important for sure!

    In regards to your interest in metabolism, you may want to check out a few of my other articles:

    Nutrition, Rhythm and Metabolism

    Can the Psychology of Eating Change Your Metabolism? – Video

    A New Definition of Metabolism

    I hope this helps!

    Warmly,
    Marc

  • http://www.psychologyofeating.com/ Psychology of Eating

    Hi Julia,
    I am so glad you found this post different and refreshing! Please come back and visit soon!
    — Marc David

About The Author
Marc David
Founder

Marc David is the Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, a leading visionary, teacher and consultant in Nutritional Psychology, and the author of the classic and best-selling works Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet.

His work has been featured on CNN, NBC and numerous media outlets. His books have been translated into over 10 languages, and his approach appeals to a wide audience of eaters who are looking for fresh, inspiring and innovative messages about food, body and soul.

He lectures internationally, and has held senior consulting positions at Canyon Ranch Resorts, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the Johnson & Johnson Corporation, and the Disney Company. Marc is also the co-founder of the Institute for Conscious Sexuality and Relationship.