Consume Mindfully

19 05 2017

Cow in india in road.Many religious groups have prohibitions about food and drink consumption. For example, certain Christian groups (Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, and Mormon), Buddhist, and Muslims are restricted from drinking alcoholic beverages. Jews and Muslims don’t eat pork, while Jews additionally avoid shellfish and other bottom dwellers. Seventh Day Adventists, Buddhists, and other Indian groups refrain from eating animals completely.

Perhaps the main point of these religious restrictions is that consumption should be a thoughtful process, not to be taken for granted. Blessings before and/or after eating and drinking are common religious practices, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging our awareness and attention to what we are doing.

Original Title: Stop Smoking_3.jpgWe know that what we put into our bodies impacts our health, with clear examples such as cigarettes and some less obvious ones (artificial sweeteners, sugar, MSG, and so on). Exponential increases in diabetes and obesity highlight the importance of what we ingest.

Additionally, consumption choices can impact the world around us. In our First World way, we dedicate significant acreage for grazing instead of using it to grow food directly. And many of our products require large amounts of water; it takes 2,000 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef, for example. Both water and land are becoming limited commodities and yet we are often unaware of that and how we impact them.

no tvJust as important as physical consumption is emotional exposure to healthy information and entertainment. When we allow ourselves to read or listen to certain news shows or violent material, our visceral responses cause hormonal reactions in our bodies. Our anxiety or fear rises. Instead we can choose what we read, watch, and use as “entertainment” and skip the adrenalin and cortisol rush. In addition, we can increase our exposure to trees, which produce a substance that actually improves our immune response. Our leisure time choices make a difference.

Likewise, we often find that certain relationships can be toxic. We can respectfully and thoughtfully wean ourselves of excessive exposure to these. It may require changes in jobs or friends (or even family), but it is worth our mental health to do so.

Consumption is multifaceted when looked at in this way. Being mindful of all that we bring into our environment, and how we impact the space around us by our choices is a broader way of thinking about what we ingest.

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