When I wrote my first book, Nourishing Wisdom, I wanted to create a whole new approach to nutrition and eating habits that was fresh, real and meaningful. I was committed to discovering a way to talk about food and nourishment that honors the timeless wisdom in these topics. Like so many people, I was bored with the quick fix, sensationalist approaches to health and weight loss that populate the nutrition field, and keep the conversation in a stuck and outdated place. About 24 years later, the book is still in print, has been translated into 7 languages, and is considered a timeless classic. It’s a great lesson to have faith that messages from the heart are as important, if not more so, than those that issue forth from the head.
Here’s one of my favorite sections from Nourishing Wisdom that so many readers have enjoyed over the years. It’s called The Eater’s Agreement. I think you’ll find that it gets to the core of who we are as eaters – body, mind heart and soul. If it’s meaningful for you, then please share it with others. And as always, let me know your thoughts…
The Eater’s Agreement
I hereby agree, from this day forward, to fully participate in life on earth. I agree to inhabit the appropriate vehicle for such participation – a body. As a requisite for the sustaining of that body, and of the life that dwells therein, I agree to be an eater. This agreement fully binds me for the duration of my stay on earth.
As an eater, I agree to hunger. I agree to have a body that needs food. I agree to eat food. I recognize that as the biological need to eat is fulfilled with greater awareness and efficiency, the benefits of my well-being will increase. I further acknowledge that ignorance of the eating process may cause undesirable consequences.
Because the essence of my participation in life is one of learning and exploration, I agree to experience uncertainty as an eater. I recognize there are a great variety of foods to choose from, and I may not know which to eat. I may have a choice of different nutritional approaches, and not know which to follow. I may have an assortment of habits, and not know how to manage them. I recognize that my relationship with food is a learning process, and I will inevitably make mistakes. Therefore, as an eater, I agree to accept my humanness and learn as I go along.
I acknowledge that as the body changes from infancy to old age, so will the eating process change. I recognize that my body may call for different foods as the days, seasons, and years progress. My dietary needs will also shift in accord with changes in my life-style and environment. I understand that there is no one perfect diet.
As an eater, I accept pain. I recognize that I may suffer pain when the body is disturbed by my choice of food or eating habits. I may also experience pain when emotional and spiritual hungers are confused with physical hunger. I further understand that eating to cure a pain that cannot be remedied by eating may bring even more pain.
I further agree to accept a body that is imperfect and vulnerable, that naturally decays with the passage of time. I recognize there will be moments when I am incapable of caring for myself. I agree, then, that to live in a body is to need the help of others. I also agree to be vulnerable as an eater. I acknowledge that I will be helpless as an infant and will need to be fed. I may be equally helpless when I am old and unwell. I further recognize that even when I am fully capable, I may still need the warmth and care of someone who can feed me. Therefore, as an eater, I agree to be nourished by others.
If I have a woman’s body, I acknowledge that I have a special relationship with eating and nourishment. I recognize that as a giver of life, I am the nourisher of life as well. Whether through my cooking or the milk of my body, I acknowledge that the union of food and love is a quality that marks my womanhood and has a profound effect on human kind.
As an eater, I acknowledge the domain of the sacred. I recognize that the act of eating may be ritualized and inspired. It may be given symbolic meanings that are religious or spiritual in nature. It may even be joyous.
I further agree that eating is an activity that joins me with all humanity. I recognize that to be an eater is to be accountable for the care of the earth and its resources. I acknowledge that despite our differences, we are all ultimately nourished by the same source. As such, I agree to share.
I recognize that at its deepest level, eating is an affirmation of life. Each time I eat I agree somewhere inside to continue life on Earth. I acknowledge that this choice to eat is a fundamental act of love and nourishment, a true celebration of my existence. As a human being on Earth, I agree to be an eater. I choose life again and again and again . . .
Many people find this Agreement to be personally impactful. What part of the agreement speaks to you and why?
Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2018