Do you eat your ice cream or drink your glass of wine with a guilty feeling? Do you find pleasure in these things or do you feel they have a hold on you?
Bringing consciousness into all that you do frees you from any bondage you may have to a particular food or drink. Feeling that something is “bad” will create feelings of guilt. Alternatively, convincing yourself that eating three cream cakes is “good” for you, and then finding a spare tyre around your waist, will make you feel bad. So how can we enjoy life’s pleasures in a beneficial way?
The good, the bad and the ugly
Nothing is bad stand alone, but always in relation to what you wish to achieve. Let’s take coffee as an example. I get asked regularly, in my work as a health adviser, “Is coffee bad?”. I say,
“Do you have fluctuating energy levels? Do your moods swing? Do you have sleep disturbances? Do you suffer anxiety? Do you use coffee because you need an energy boost?” If you answered yes to these questions, then it’s likely that coffee isn’t doing you much good right now. If you choose to increase your energy and get a better night’s sleep, then you could say that coffee is “bad” for you. On the other hand, if you don’t rely on your cup of coffee for energy, drink good quality coffee and simply enjoy the coffee experience, or have even made it into a daily ritual of “me time”, then it could be considered a “good” thing, something that is serving you without being detrimental to your health.
The same can be said for cakes. What sort of cakes do you eat? Why do you eat them? Do you over-eat them? Do you use them for emotional purposes? You could be eating a delicious, healthy carrot cake baked lovingly with quality ingredients, or you could be eating, what I would call “a dirty cake”, loaded with refined sugar, bad fats and additives made in a huge factory somewhere that has been sitting on a supermarket shelf in a packet for weeks on end. The difference between these two cakes is remarkable!
The sensual pleasures of life and how to enjoy them
- Moderation is the key.
- Enjoy what you do and choose the best of everything.
- Choose quality over quantity. Avoid processed “treats”.
- Eat cakes that contain wholewheat flour and little sugar. Or bake your own using dried fruits for sweetness.
- Drink organic coffee and never on an empty stomach. One to two a day and no more.
- Drink sensibly and choose quality red wine for its antioxidant content.
- Drink your vodka or gin with soda water and a squeeze of fresh lemon instead of tonic or Coke.
- Swap high sugar chocolate bars for minimum 70% cocoa (the dark stuff) or even better, opt for raw cacao.
- Instead of ice cream, eat fruit “softies” – simply press frozen fruit through a juicer or blender.
- Identify your “trigger foods” and keep a food diary to see how you are feeling around food.
- See a nutritionist to get the low-down on what may be affecting your health and how to make healthier changes without sacrificing your taste buds.
The master simply sets things aside as he no longer needs them
The spiritual master, Osho, spoke to his students about making everything you do a meditation, even smoking a cigarette. The simple act of being totally aware and “in the moment” with the smoking of it, will bring an enhanced connection to it. You are likely to notice that many of the cigarettes you smoke don’t make you feel so good, so only sparking up when you are consciously aware and in enjoyment of it, will naturally make you smoke less.
So, embrace the sensual pleasures of life, but do so with joy, wisdom and with a connection to your own inner health and vitality. Look at how you are feeling and find your balance.
Article by Jo Rowkins dipNT MBANT, nutritionist, founder of awakening health and executive health adviser of The Spa Resorts.