By Maria Benardis
Cooking intuitively using healing ingredients that harmonise your body and mind make cooking and eating a time to celebrate, a joyful experience, a time to deeply connect with yourself, a time to awaken to new experiences and a time to heal. Here is some of the wisdom from ancient Greece. You can find more in my book: “Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health” (Balboa press)
-The Most Important Ingredient is Agapi
“Only food cooked with good energy and agapi can truly nourish and heal our bodies and souls. The presence of the heart over the presence of the mind is necessary when cooking from a place of joy. If you put love in your cooking you will give love to yourselves and others. Love conquers all”.
The Greek word for love is agapi, which is a deep sense of true love, with no expectations. Agapi is a joyous, harmonious state of mind, free of chaos. Whenever I ask my friends whose cooking they like the most, their mum’s cooking comes up most of the time. Mum’s cooking will always be the best because a mother loves her children unconditionally and therefore everything they cook and touch is made with bountiful pots of love and good energy. Always cook with love and good energy and have fun.
– Spiritually Connect with Your Senses When Cooking
“Cooking is not about measurements and precision, it’s about connecting to the ingredients and yourself. Your senses become your measuring tool and your soul becomes your guidance system”.
In Greek culture cooks are guided by their senses when measuring and determining what to cook. The five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste may be our primary receptors, but there is a sixth sense; the soul’s inner voice, which allows us to ‘know thyself’. When cooking do not merely allow the recipes and its measurements to dictate the ingredients and quantities you want to include. These measurements are just a suggestion and serve as a guide only. They are true measurements for the writer but not necessarily the truth for you. Adapt them to your preferences and to what suits your harmonious balance.
-Adopt the Use of Wholesome Ingredients and Make Conscious Choices
“Realize that your body is the garment of your soul and then you will preserve it pure. As he who wishes the best fruit must pay attention to the land, so must the greatest attention be paid to the soul if it is to produce fruits worthy of its nature”.— Pythagoras
When cooking use ingredients that come from a place of “agapi” that source local, certified organic and sustainable produce that is in season. Eating these types of ingredients is not only kind to you but also the environment and the animal. Opt to use good oils for your dishes. Some good sources of oils include extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. Avoid eating establishments that use oils such as vegetable oils, canola oil/corn oil and cotton seed oil (these are usually genetically modified oils).
Opt to not use ingredients riddled with chemicals and pesticides or that are genetically modified (GMO). The kind of energy emitted by chemicals and pesticides lowers or diminishes our spiritual energy and our ability to connect with ourselves. Chemicals, GMO and pesticides interfere with the energy flow and DNA and alter the harmonious balance of the food and when consumed alter our inner balance and are making many ill, both physically and emotionally.
-Listen to Your Inner Voice
“When looking for answers, tune into your own inner voice and tune out all other external chatter. You must quiet the mind and be still”.
When you know yourself better and you have a relationship with a harmonious and peaceful relationship with yourself then you can better connect with nature, food and the spiritual ritual of cooking. When you cook with your spiritual self you are divinely guided by the universe: your energy moves with a constant flow and you will heal your body by finding the ideas and answers to your own health and wellbeing. When you know yourself you gain your own voice and authenticity. The universe itself will act to move you towards what you want. All you have to do is let go while acting on your aspirations. Let go of fear, doubt, worry, disappointment or any other negative emotion that might make you feel low.
-Everything in Moderation and In Harmony. Simplicity is the key.
“When combining ingredients or when seasoning a dish always exercise moderation and balance. Let each ingredient speak for itself. To do otherwise confuses the flavours and interrupts harmony. Too much of one ingredient can overpower the others so that you are not able to differentiate the flavours in the recipe. The dish will lose its relevance”.
When adopting a healthy approach to your cooking, always season and add ingredients in moderation. Allow each ingredient to speak for itself, to tell its story and to shine. This will ensure balance and harmony in the dish and in our bodies and soul. Avoid complicated cooking techniques, heavy sauces, and fancy decorations. Plato believed that food should have simple flavours and wrote that ‘even sweets should sing with their simplicity’.
“You can achieve anything if you have belief, faith and gratitude”.
Any experience and time spent in the kitchen will not be a fruitful unless we have faith in what we cook. We need to trust, let go and allow the process of life to take over. When all our dishes turn out the way we want them to and our meals are a huge success, it is important to give thanks and show gratitude.
You can cook anything your heart desires if you have faith that you can. You have to trust your inner voice enough to let it guide you. By letting go of your fears and worries and any controlling habits, cooking will become a joyful, relaxed and peaceful experience. Include positive affirmations as was the practice in ancient Greece to assist in the process.
I hope some of these awakening wisdoms resonate with you. The ancient Greeks had an emphasis on cooking spiritually rather than stressfully. When you cook this way you will better connect with yourself and awaken to your new inner potential and self healing.
Healthy eating and a healthy mind were the two key components practiced by the ancient Greeks to ensure healthy living and longevity – “Let medicine be thy food and food thy medicine”. “The natural force within each of us is the greatest healer of disease” Hippocrates. Many people during these times lived up to the age of 200 years old a rare occurrence now days. We all have the potential to live long and healthy lives and “Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health” will provide you with all the know-how you need.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maria Benardis is a Gourmand Award winning author, health coach, teacher, chef and Founder of Greekalicious. Visit her site: here.
Maria published her first book titled “My Greek Family Table” (Penguin), which won the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards – Best Mediterranean Cuisine Book in Australia 2009 and this was followed by her ebook, “A Greekalicious Feast”. She also recently published her new book “Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health” (Balboa Press) – How the Wisdom of Ancient Greece can lead to a longer Life.
Maria is a slow food advocate and regularly appears on radio, television and the print media to enthusiastically share the Greek heritage, its food and healing wisdoms that create vibrant health, and a balanced and peaceful life.
Find out more, here.