Mind-Body Connection, Part III: How Our Beliefs Affect the Food We Eat (Opinion)
Thursday, October 01, 2009 by: Alexander R. Lees
(NaturalNews) There`s an old adage: We are what we eat. But, what
determines what we eat? All of us are given one body for life, and how
we treat our body will affect everything we do until the day we die.
Some people regard their body as a temple and treat it accordingly.
Others never stop and think about how they treat their body and can end
up abusing it. The majority of people make some attempt to maintain a
healthy and fit body. What`s the difference that makes the difference
for each one of us?
One of the factors that determines how we treat our bodies is our perceptual filters.
All information coming into the brain is filtered; some information is
allowed in and other information is kept out. Whether the information
is allowed in or kept out is determined by a number of things. For
example: our socioeconomic status, where we live, our skin colour, our
gender, our culture or heritage, our religion, our education and our
politics, to name but a few.
The world renowned
environmentalist, Dr. David Suzuki in his article, "Our Perceptual
Filters Shape the World," (August 27, 2008 - http://www.davidsuzuki.org/about_us...)
states, "Even though we detect our surroundings in the same way through
eyes, ears, nose, skin, and tongue, our brains actively filter that
incoming information so that it `makes sense` according to our
individual values and beliefs. This creates huge dissonance between
fossil-fuel executives, environmentalists, and politicians when we
discuss an issue like climate change."
Perceptual filters play a
huge role in how we experience and live our lives. Perhaps one of the
most rigid of all our filters is our beliefs, and we`re going to focus
on our beliefs regarding food.
Dr. Mark R. Vogel, a clinical
psychologist, professional chef and food writer states, "In essence,
what we think about something influences how we feel about it. It
doesn`t matter whether our thinking is right or wrong. What matters is
our appraisal." In one of his articles (CyberChef Comment - December 9,
2003 - http://www.culturekiosque.com/chef/...) Dr. Vogel sites the following example.
father had a belief that only iceberg lettuce was worth eating. Knowing
this, Dr. Vogel served him a Caesar salad made with romaine lettuce.
Even though his father wolfed it down with obvious pleasure and
delight, he couldn`t help criticizing his son for using romaine
lettuce. The point of this story is it was his father`s belief, not his
taste buds, that dictated the preference.
To some, a foreign
food is automatically considered unhealthy, distasteful or
nutritionally inferior simply because it is "foreign." For many, their
diet changes practically monthly, simply because they believe the
information that accompanies the latest fad - be it low fat, high carb,
low protein, high fat or so on. The point is all food contains one or
more of the main elements necessary to maintain health: water, carbs,
proteins and fats.
In Science Daily (August 22, 2006)
Marieke Saher reports that even people with higher education can be
just as susceptible to food fads and various superstitions regarding
food, even though these beliefs directly contradict the available
science. In other articles, Saher sites examples of the need to supply
cause and effect, that is, which food must have caused that
upset stomach, or pain in the leg, or lower back discomfort. In many of
these cases, it was the belief about the particular food that had more
to do with generating the symptoms, not the food itself.
emotions are generally not thought of as perceptual filters, they can
and do act as filters. Consider the following example. Person A
considers a statement made by another as humorous. The resulting
behaviour, voice tone, facial expressions and body gestures will all
reflect the emotional state.
Now, contrast this with someone who
has different beliefs, and hearing the same statement, reacts in anger.
Again, the behaviour, voice tone, facial expressions and body gestures
all reflect anger and annoyance. Instead of patting Person A gently on
the back or shoulder, the angered individual may well terminate the
conversation with threats or leave the room.
An experiment done
by one university showed the effects of the emotional state on how the
body responds to cholesterol. Four actors were hired to play two
couples who had been close friends for years. They were getting
together to share a meal (pizza) and talk about fond memories. A blood
sample was taken prior to the meal, and another sample after the meal.
The blood (after the meal) was then tested for cholesterol. Granted, it
was there, but later, when tested again, it had "disappeared."
Something in the blood had broken it down.
The experiment was
repeated, but this time each person was to act as if they were almost
mortal enemies, and anger and resentment permeated the meal. The same
amounts of pizza were then consumed by each person, complete with the
same precisely measured amount of cheese. This time, the cholesterol
did not dissipate within the blood sample. Remember, the only variable
was the state of mind, yet the cholesterol (lipid) in the blood was
It becomes evident then that to really be
healthy and do the best we can, we have to take into account beliefs
and mental attitude concerning food.
Let`s suppose you are given
a vehicle, and you are told it`s the only one you will ever have. In
other words, this vehicle must last for the rest of your life, and
other than a few replacement parts here and there, you best decide to
look after it well. What kind of maintenance would you decide to do?
How would you drive it, or otherwise use it? In a like and similar way,
you will only have one body in this lifetime. The food you put in it is
the fuel. Are you going to use the good stuff, or the quick and the
Your beliefs about why you eat what you eat (and the
amount) as well as the quality of the water you drink, and the exercise
you choose or shun, will all contribute to how well your body performs.
It will also determine how long, and how well, your body serves you.
Examining those same beliefs will help you to understand why you don`t
have room for one more carrot, or a few more peas, but plenty of room
The next article will provide a short review of all
the "parts" making up our model of the world. This will provide for a
better understanding of the fact we do not operate upon the world
itself, but rather on our perception of it. We will also be introduced
to the main "driver" that causes us to choose the foods we do, and also
prevents us from exercising properly. Then we will learn how to change
it so we can be healthier and happier.
References: Behavioral Science NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)