Rooted in Hindu tradition, the spiritual dimension of food yoga has meaning for people of all faiths. In Hinduism, all food is first offered to God – the very source of that food’s creation. Such offerings can be elaborate rituals conducted with great fanfare using expensive paraphernalia and food ingredients while other offerings may be humble gestures consisting of no more than fresh fruits and water. In all cases, however, it is the intention or the devotion of the aspirant that is foremost. Such offered food is considered pure, karma-free, and spiritually nourishing. Hindus call this food prasadam or the mercy of God.
Hinduism is a complex and varied belief system that accepts many gods and goddesses as emanating from a single source, Brahman, which is understood either as an impersonal, formless energy, as in the Advaita tradition, or as a dual (male/female) god in the form of Lakshmi-Vishnu, Radha-Krishna, or Shiva-Shakti, as in Dvaita traditions. To the naturalist, the Goddess is simply “Mother Earth.” After all, all food comes from the earth. Some currents of Neopaganism, in particular Wicca, have a concept of a single goddess and a single god who represent a united whole, glorified as the Lord and Lady (Frey and Freya, literally translated), with the Lord representing abundance and fertility and the Lady representing peace and love as well as vast powers of magic.
Whatever your belief, the fact that you are reading this book tells me that you may be open to accepting a higher power, and in your own unique way, you honor that higher presence. My goal here is not to explore the entire subject of foodism, but rather to focus on its more divine aspects, beginning with an acceptance of a benevolent presence in our lives and evolving to appreciating that presence through the offering of pure food, much the same as when you honor a friend in your home. Giving food is the most fundamental act of kindness a human can do, and eating food is one of the few things all humans have in common.Food yoga springs from the belief that the kind of food we eat affects our consciousness and subsequent behaviors.
According to the Bhagavad-gita, sattvic foods can be energetically purified by being offered in devotion, thereby raising one’s consciousness. For this reason, food yogis avoid foods saturated with fear and suffering, such as meat, fish, eggs and commercial dairy products, in favor of plant-based meals prepared with loving intention and made with fresh, organic ingredients. Moreover, if people prepare the food you eat with a polluted consciousness (e.g., disgruntled employees working in a dirty restaurant kitchen), you are sure to absorb negative psychic energies.
That food should be prepared and served in its purest possible form is central to the belief and practice of Food for Life Global, a worldwide network of plant-based relief projects. Without adherence to this single principle, Food for Life Global would be no different than any other food relief agency. In fact, the non-profit sees itself more as a social change organization, with pure food as its preferred medium of expression.
At the root of all purity is an adherence to honesty and cleanliness, and both of these attributes can easily be applied to the food industry. The purest food for consumption is food that is energetically pure in every phase of its life cycle.
When you look beyond the immediate gratification food offers and see food for what it truly is – energy – you tap into one of the greatest wonders of life and open the door to higher awareness.
All the world’s great spiritual traditions have elaborate food offering rituals carefully designed to expand consciousness. From the Holy Eucharist to Passover to Diwali, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and even the mushroom ceremonies of the Shamanic traditions – all use food as a means to represent or please the Divine and to expand the consciousness of their followers.
Food yoga is, in essence, a discipline that honors all spiritual paths by embracing their core teaching – that food in its most pure form is divine and, therefore, an excellent medium for expressing our unconditional love and purifying our consciousness.