Eating is a primal nourishing act that connects us to the world around us. By the very process of taking in food, we transform the external environment into our internal environment. Meals are a celebration of our interdependence with nature. Yet in these modern, frenetic, convenience-ridden times, that sense of celebration has been banished from the few minutes we call lunch or dinner. Mealtimes have become more of a bother than a pleasant daily ritual that gives focus to our lives.
There are some psychologists who adhere to the Systems approach to mental health. The central idea here is that each individual lives and functions within a larger psychological system, like the family unit, a peer group, etc., and that within that system, our sense of self and well-being are derived and nurtured, this, of course, is especially true for young children, who, in their immature sense of personal boundaries, are wide open to external influences. Even a person’s sense of his own separateness is learned within the setting of the family system. If this system has the qualities of openness, truthfulness, acceptance, and love, then a child’s emerging self-image will naturally tend to be healthy. Where the communication is stifled or warped in a family system, the individual’s self-image can easily become unhealthy. Besides exploring our own personal history to clean up unhealthy impressions we may be carrying and acting out, there are some life-style choices we can make in our present circumstances to keep our psychological environment “clean”.