Special Diets/Loss of Appetite
I work in food service and being on my feet and moving around a lot, coupled with preparing food all day makes me lose my appetite. I don't appreciate a good meal usually, and I've been looking for ways to enjoy food again.
When I was in high school I used to smoke marijuana with some friends and that would often have me coming home and preparing a three course meal in the middle of the night, but smoking marijuana is not something I want to continue doing -- I'm a responsible adult now!
I've done a bunch of research on it and everything says to eat like six to eight small meals a day, or start exercising, which are all pretty large commitments for me, I think. I don't have the time, money, or patience to go out and get small fast-food meals, and I'm not at home in the kitchen very often and I passively resist any intention to cook anything unless my hunger is unbearable. Likewise, I'd like to get into an exercise routine but the winter season makes everything difficult.
Is there some kind of a panacea or home remedy I can make that will boost my appetite, and make me WANT to eat and ENJOY food? Something like the effect of marijuana but not illegal and preferably inexpensive?
I read your question with great interest, but it was not so easy to unearth your REAL question. You state your problem: a loss of appetite but a bigger problem is that you are a little spoiled, in the nicest possible way!You seem to want change without making changes. That won't work, will it? You seem to want results without putting in much effort. Now, when did that ever work? You seem to want circumstances to favour change, but from a holistic-spiritual aspect it is always your own tenet which determines (describes subjectively, or objectifies) the external conditions.
Since my expertise lies on a spiritual plain, I can only go into the holistic aspects of diet which I think, actually, is very relevant to your question; but you may not be very skilled, yet, at translating these ideas into concrete, wholesome, and self-improving actions.
The way I see it, our health and well-being (and soul-development) is not very well linked to fast fixes or instant results. It is always all about the journey. I hope the little I can share with you may inspire you to consider planning your route in a new and durable manner.
Your main problem is that you do not display much desire to renew your relationship with food and you cannot see the joy there lies in your natural ability to move. On a soul-level, at least, you may well be somewhat stuck in the muck, or in a daily grind. Your question then becomes a cry for help from the soul to the Higher Self to come into your life and take control. There are still traces of your previous addictive behaviour/mental make-up. A leopard and his spots… it takes a full mind-switch for real change to come about and stick and make a difference to your entire life.
Food is fuel for the soul. Not the actual molecular-level substance but the processes involved actually fuel processes of your potential. You could start to learn to see the world in DYNAMIC patterns. Food then becomes less a source of physical energy and more a carrier of light and its formative forces (which energise you). This life-force helps build up the Real I who can shape a life for the Self out of worldly experience/material. Relearning to see the world in a more holistic, organic context could really stimulate your appetite - for food, but first and foremost for life. You can learn to honor your spiritual potential in the way you do things - and nowhere more simply than in the departments of feeding yourself and being mobile (diet and exercise).
There are no cure-alls for laziniess or apathy, indifference or jadedness. You just have to get up and do it! Make a plan, make a decision (any will do really!) and stick with it (for at least a couple of months or so). One way to go is to strip down drastically. This is a kind of cold-turkey wake-up call which is asking you loud and clearly whether you want to "redeem" your un-health, or un-wholeness (fragmented or mal-integrated body-mind-soul-spirit). Maybe, you are not ready to become healthy and physically fit! That may sound odd, but there is no point pretending you are going to turn over a new leaf, when you are not really fed up or dissatisfied with the old one. Furthermore, you have to be really curious and feel challenged by the change you could possibly make. You have to want to change for the sake of the journey or experience, not a desired outcome. This outcome will always be different anyway, and one tends to keep shifting goal-posts, too.
So, first be honest about how much you want to study the ins and outs of your appetite. Here lies the leverage for the ups and downs of the following route.
I can lift the tip of a veil of what you might discover if you start to study them. You mention a lot of negatives and list a few foredrawn cliches. You presume a healthy life-style costs time, money and patience. True enough, since health means to be whole and be in tune with yourself you do need to follow a kind of routine and cultivate an awake and aware, dedicated mood, or mindset. This does take discipline (patience) and daily effort. It literally takes time to prepare a meal: but this is time very well spent. It is a moment of prayer and reverence to your gift of life (sustained by food amongst other great blessings from Mother Earth). You don't even need to get holy-moly about it: just open up a box of bran flakes, pour out some organic milk, slice a fair-trade banana, and you will have even honored half the world, which contributes to your humble life (by producing these foodstuffs). If you eat a big-brand candy bar or whopping burger you are more likely going to contribute to a get-rich-fast, exploitative, suppressive economy – which may have its place, even, but does not make for a great prayer. Even health foods can be brand names! But always try to find your personal relationship to every single ingredient you ingest. When you learn to cook and season food, you begin to understand how every tiny rosemary leaf or chili pepper seed makes a difference!
Once one embarks upon the path of health one cannot blame externals like the weather or the season for one's own failing to stick to a regime. Women may not cop out on their hormones and men may not claim to have two left hands when it comes to handling a frying pan. All very cliché examples, but you will have your own cleverly designed obstacles to sticking to your healthy ambitions. A diet is a regime. The art of health is to cope in all seasons, to adapt to all mental states, and improvise with limited means.
I must alert you to the fact, that your research seems a little one-sided, and specific to people with sugar level imbalances if you are aiming to prepare 8 meals a day. Three meals a day makes a very nice average. We don't want to be spending too much time on eating, either, do we? If our health acutely needs us to, so be it. But otherwise we must eat to live and not live to eat. Or rather: eat to feel more alive. Then it is not only about the calorific value or the vitamin content of food. But colour, fragrance, overall presentation, variety, and above all quality come to the fore. The enjoyment of food, ultimately, depends less on what you do and more on the way that you do it.
Your question tells me (and yourself) that you know perfectly well how important it is to take better care of yourself. But we all have a shadow within. In the long run, you will even appreciate this shadow if he teaches you the benefit of a fair and courageous fight. You must decide whether you want to face this shadow for real and take him on properly.
You must be prepared to put in the work. That's just the law of the universe. You only get what you have earned - although this is a complex algorithm, with many occult (hidden) ins and outs; but I am breaking it down here. In this light, it will be inevitable that you will have to WANT to work for your health. Happiness is just a measure of this health, or wholeness, or success at integrating your inner world with the outer world.
Enjoyment does not come naturally because we do not live in the natural world any more. You lost your innocence a long time ago. That's the way it must be. In exchange you have the ability to get to know yourself properly.
Ask yourself, If you were to take a trek through the desert on a camel for a week (with only a smelly goat sack full of water) what you would want waiting for you at the end of this scorching, dusty journey? I doubt you would dream of marijuana, or fast food, but probably a bottle of cold water would be heavenly! Or a piece of fresh fruit. You would quite naturally crave these things first. It is only a (literally) spoiled body-soul integration which makes us err and lead unhealthy lives. Sometimes a detoxing fast can help mark the decision to change. Such a physical exercise can help reset your alignment. You might like to research the options for this. It might sound a bit extreme to you, but 3 days on lemon and water or a week on juices could make for your trek through the desert. First, research this thoroughly though.
Why is health so important? Why does it matter what we eat? Or how we treat (or abuse) the body? Why is sleep necessary? And drugs no good? The aim of life is to become the best you can be, which is nothing more or short of being an original, unique, responsible, caring individual. This individual must naturally desire to be part of a group (you don't need to sit around a camp fire and hold hands). Without this desire you become a narcicistic sociopath. Only brain damage may excuse any dis-ability with respect to community building, which includes learning about life, yourself and others. Most of us are just weak and flawed. So be it. The challenge is on!
The Higher Self needs to become the trainer of your lower self. It must bring the dog-mind into calm submission. You must be kind to this servile creature, and give it what it needs. Punishing it will never work. The rest is up to the body. Once you still the mind you will be able to hear your physical needs (which tend to be simple and undemanding). The mind tends to snarl or dominate: it is usually fear that causes this, in turn caused by a lack of direction or sense of purpose. This remains a tricky challenge throughout your entire lif; only a kind of (humble) self-belief and awe of the surrounding cosmos may help settle a restive mind.
You really must see change as an exercise, much like a dog needs to be trained, you could make some overruling decisions to just "make yourself do as you're told". Two basic rules might be: only eat food you prepared as fresh as possible (from raw ingredients); cutting out all classically "bad" foods (sugar, salt, hydrogenated fats, additives, white flour, too much meat/eggs, sodas etc). And not to eat out for at least a whole month. This must go hand in hand with changing the way you treat your food and meal times. If you buy quality food you may have to be more selective (it costs more!) and you may buy the right amounts (not to waste any) and generally become more conscious about storage and preparation,and then next the actual consumption of it. No scoffing or snacking, but a proper sit down meal ENJOYED with a calm and centred mind.
A home-cooked meal is good because it has been prepared with love and dedication. Any attention and time spent on this is valuable. The meal is likely to taste poor if you don't give it due attention and some degree of vision (or blessing). Preprocessed meals (from the microwave) already have less of this energy in them (plus other energies are zapped out of them); but still when they are prepared for a family, and set on the table with care, there is this added ingredient which supports all health (i.e. loving attention). That is why sitting down to a meal at a table, with company (or otherwise some good, harmonising music), inviting the blessings of those intangible forces that help to cultivate and harvest our produce (cosmic forces, or spiritual entities, or God) is so important, and can make a meagre meal into a feast for the senses, the digestive system, and your whole organism. The power of growing, sourcing, preparing, enjoying food is highly underestimated in our culture. The energy of all these activities amassed make up the basic foundation of good health and wholesome functioning. In healthfood stores or farmer's markets there may be some pre-processed foods (in tins, bottles) etc, which at least will be as honest as possible.(Study ingredients, and eco labelling).
Food cannot prevent disease or cure things so simply, but it can play a pivotal role in working on improvements in health.
Your eyes have to be opened to a new reality about food and eating. You first need to believe that there is goodness in the blessing of nutrition. You might consider that people who cannot eat (the sick, the infirm, the starving) miss out on something.
Also, life-force is becoming very precious in our polluted and corrupted environment. You might look towards the raw food vogue to appreciate how intense a relationship to food can become. It can almost become religious and fanatic - which is not something I recommend you pursue! But you will need to understand food in a new way to rejuvenate your natural desire for it. Anybody with a healthy diet actually loves their food. Otherwise it becomes a martyrdom and an exercise in survival. This may be necessary, for a while, just like rehab can be necessary. But a healthy diet is a way of life which rests on a holistic understanding. You don't need a whole lot of science or metaphysics for this, just a new way of seeing.
You mention the word appreciation a couple of times which gives me much hope that you are able to open your eyes and appreciate the bounty nature has to offer you. It all depends in what food service branch you work, and perish the thought it is fast food, but my bet is that you need to re-sensitise yourself to natural ingredients. You might need to cleanse your palate (by eliminating excesses and chemical additions or cutting out all snacks, or even with a day-fast). This goes hand in hand with cutting down on alcohol (if applicable) and cutting out drugs. These substances, namely, only weaken your self-rule.
If you have been used to smoking marijuana for an extended period of time (say more than half a year, with a regular frequency of more than once a week) you have a serious task on your hands, because this particular drug leaves an enormous amount of residue in the brain which makes one very passive when it comes to taking one's life and one's own hands. It literally takes YEARS to become totally independent of former neuro-engravings and their subsequent effect upon the soul. You may well be easily tempted by addictions because you like a simple solution, and that is all any addiction as ever about: automatic reaction to what life hands you (be it having a drink, lighting a cigarette, or having an emotional outburst). Human nature equates pretty much an addictive personality!
It takes an enormous amount of work between the ages of 28 to 42 to work on self-rule. Any decisions you make between the ages 21 to 28 which are healthy and wholesome and believe in the goodness of spirit (however vague and seemingly insignificant your understanding of this might be) will work miracles for you in those years of hard labour ahead. I am presuming you are in that age bracket where what you decide now can make a massive difference when you hit mid-life – when good health will seem like a far-off dream to so many. Just look around you.
Your dreams needs to be built on solid foundations. Your ambitions need to be clad by wholesome experience. The field of nutrition makes for a fantastic ball park. We all need to eat every day (or find a healthy alternative to that, like for examle, when you are bedridden or on a fast, or an inedian). We also all need to move every day. It is overlooked in our society that mobility is a great soul impetus keeping us balanced. It precedes diet, actually (you need to source your food first: think of the original hunter-gatherer). You might not realise it if you are on a bus or in a car most of the time; and those who are unemployed and stay inside soon are brainwashed by depression that going out is futile. But if you take a walk of 25 minutes every day of the week for three weeks in a row, come rain or come shine you will thereafter never forget how great it is to have two legs and the ability to be mobile (even without legs you can learn to appreciate the gift of mobility; when you are paraplegic life really becomes a massive challenge because of that loss which is natural to man).
If we do not eat right we impoverish our soul. The fact that we have to eat every day is a rhythmic response to the soul that moves us through life. Your loss of appetite, therefore, is best seen as a weakened impulse to make something of your life. Again, the symptom can also be the cure, in the homoeopathic sense. You have to stimulate your appetite with a new appreciation for food. Study and discover the colours and textures (light consolidated and the alchemical processes). Make yourself aware of all the senses involved in eating: sound, fragrance, touch, taste, etc. The liver and digestive juices are stimulated by sight alone.
Imagine the creative force attached to (natural) food. There are so many stories, for each orange or tuna steak one! Follow the seed to the tree to the banana, or hear the calf grown into a lowly cow in the milk etc). It is ridiculous how we have made food so toxic. I don't even mean this on a physical level so much (polluted water, chemicals in farming, substances added in factories), but especially on a spiritual level: food has become a seductive, manipulative luxury and at the same time we are disgracefully wasteful. You might like to watch the film "Into the Wild"about a youth who goes off to live in the wilderness (Alaska, was it?)and he must learn to fend for himself, by himself on what nature provides. It's tough, and not without its risks…. Communities were built around our need to eat. A loss of appetite is also the beginning or reflection of an anti-social attitude. Take care that you do not loose interest in life, in general! Stay involved, cooperative, tolerant, animated, curious: there is so much amazingness on this tiny globe in the middle of a massively vast universe!
If you become sensitive to all these details, somewhere down the line a sensible conclusion should roll out: just have a breakfast that is light and nutritious; maybe with some amino acids, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins and lacto bacteria that help keep the body ticking over (i.e. a muesli with yoghurt). Or try a fruity breakfast, depending on your appetite…. But in winter fruit is not ideal. Think grains, perhaps, rather.
Pause in the middle of the day for lunch. Regroup your mind. Remember what really matters to you. Thank the fact that you have your four limbs, a healthy intestinal system, a clear brain which can think and feel and make right decisions. Keep this lunch light and fresh, it is just a marker especially if you don't have real hunger. Replenish with some "living" foods (i.e full of solar and earthy energy). Salads are great for this, but a warm soup with plenty of colour and chunks, or a wholesome sandwich with several ingredients can really pep you up.
Treat yourself to a wholesome meal in the evening (not too late preferably, and not too heavy). There are plenty of easy recipes out there that can go into making many exciting weeks of food experiments without asking you to turn into a chef.
Discover the goodness given to us by the bees. Their products very much support our real self and guide our willpower in right action. Honor the cow, who is wholly in her own way, with her service and loving connection to mother Earth. Compare her to the goat and the sheep who give us their milk, too: these are all different products with different properties. It may take a lot of retraining of your taste-buds to be open to all this, though! Be patient, why not? Where were you off to in such a rush, anyway?
Relish the beauty of flowers and the healing power of leaves in herbal teas. There is great nutrition in a tea! Learn about soul food new-style! Slow cooking begins with loving and lingering thoughts about your physical needs, your emotional desires, and your clearest brainwaves! Remember yourself as a spirit being and then rediscover your appetite. To re-member is to put back together. Focusing on your health can sometimes help you remember what you really came to do this life time (soul-mission remembered).
I hope you feel some support in these words, and will trust that the answer for a healthy lifestyle is very available to you. All you need to do is close your eyes and listen to yourself and then open your eyes and look around.
All the best, good luck, enjoy the journey.