Eating is a powerful act filled with the potential for healing or harm. After all, we eat several thousands of pounds every year and interface with food and eating on an average of 200 times per day. There are probably not too many activities more integral to our survival than eating – and as a result, it says a lot about who we are. Even though I am a nutritionist that has been trained to look at food as calories and to put people on “diets”, what I have discovered is that foods and eating are conduits to our personal growth at our innermost core. Knowing what someone eats tells me volumes of information about what needs healing in their lives.

One way to access our healing needs is to use the ancient Vedic chakra system which supports the idea that we are composed of a multitude of vibrations. These vibrations are found within the body and correlate to various aspects of life. Since these are subtle energy centers, they can be impacted by the vibrations of food and the spirit of eating. We may be choosing certain foods to heal these centers or those that throw our energy off balance.

(1) Root chakra (Key word: Survival; Color: Red): If you’d like to release some fear around eating and shed some layers of feeling unsafe and not being able to trust, the root chakra is the place to be. In fact, layers of eating issues stem from the need to protect oneself. The root chakra also helps us to feel grounded, in our bodies, so that we can be in the present moment. When we overeat or undereat, we may become more scattered or flighty. Assist your root chakra by eating with others in community, honoring your body’s instinct on what to eat by dialoguing with your body on food choices. Foods for grounding and protection: Protein, minerals, root vegetables, edible and medicinal mushrooms, red-colored foods

(2) Sacral chakra (Key word: Emotions; Color: Orange): Whereas the root chakra likes to keep us stable and planted, the sacral chakra opens us up to flow and movement. Not expressing emotions, creativity, or having fun are all indicators that we are not “going with the flow” of our childlike self. Consequently, we may become prone to overeating and stuffing ourselves with food to keep the emotions down. When we unleash our emotions, it gives our spirit the energy to create and enjoy! Allow your sacral chakra to swim freely by spending time to create meals, and by paying attention to your senses when eating. Foods for flow and feelings: Fats and oils (especially omega-3s), fish, tropical fruits, seeds, nuts, orange-colored foods

(3) Solar plexus chakra (Key word: Power; Color: Yellow): The solar plexus chakra puts the spark in us to get things done and to transform energy inside and out. The issue becomes when we are set on fire, into overdrive, and lose our power rather than keep a flame burning bright within. We can harness our energy and power to transform by looking at what foods we give ourselves over to – do we deplete our bodies with sugars, soft drinks, and artificial sweeteners? Step into your power once again by eating more frequently through the day, and by eating foods that sustain our energy like low glycemic carbohydrates. Foods for power and transformation: Complex carbohydrates, fiber, whole grains, legumes, yellow-colored foods

(4) Heart chakra (Key word: Love; Color: Green): The heart chakra encompasses our ability to give and receive love. Sometimes we are more open to giving than receiving, leaving our heart energy dry and lackluster. Food enters in because often it is used as a way to show love. Through the process of sharing foods with others in a mutual exchange, we can practice giving and receiving love in a healthy way. The heart chakra blossoms when we express gratitude for eating, donate to food banks, and infuse love into our food and water. Foods for love and compassion: Vegetables, sprouts, raw foods, foods rich in chlorophyll, any green-colored foods

(5) Throat chakra (Key word: Truth; Color: Aquamarine): The throat chakra, conveniently nestled in the throat area, illuminates our truth, authenticity, and choices. It is also the portal of entry for foods and a center of high activity: swallowing, chewing, talking, breathing. When we do not speak authentically about our desired foods choices – saying “yes” when “no” is meant, we create imbalance in the throat chakra. Uphold your throat chakra’s personal truth by honoring your body’s choices. And, by eating mindfully, chewing carefully, you release distraction from all the potential choices and communicate focus. Foods for communication and truth: Sea plants, soups, sauces, juices, fruits

(6) Third eye chakra (Keyword: Insight; Color: Indigo): The many “I”s of the third eye chakra: intuition, insight, imagination, inspiration. When we listen to our intuition rather than letting other things come in the way, we nourish this center. Sometimes we allow our intuition to be overridden by the intellect, so we lose sight of our highest path. Several foods stimulate the intuitive center, such as coffee, alcohol, and dark chocolate, keeping the mind and moods on overdrive. Respect your third eye chakra by avoiding external substances to enable your intuition to be heard. Foods for intuition and insight: Herbal tea, blackberries, blueberries

(7) Crown chakra (Keyword: Unity; Color: Lavender): The crown chakra is the part of us that connects us to all of life. If you feel severed from something larger – the cosmos, the planet, the human race, or your community – or you are longing for deeper meaning in life, choosing to see eating as an event of interconnection may be satisfying. In essence, eating is a divine act that connects you with the lineage of every form of life that was involved in the creation of the food - field, farmer, grocer, and cook. By using foods as a symbol of connection, you can connect to that which is sacred and deep. Foods for unification and interconnection: Sun- and moon-light, clean air, unconditional love.

Author's Bio: 

Deanna Minich, PhD, CN, (foodandspirit.com) is a nutritionist who sees more to food than calories and macronutrients. She blends cutting-edge nutrition information, quantum physics, and the ancient chakra system to guide others to use foods and eating as tools for spiritual growth and nourishment for the soul. With her latest book, Chakra Foods for Optimum Health: A Guide to the Foods that can Improve Your Energy, Inspire Creative Changes, Open Your Heart, and Heal Body, Mind, and Spirit, she opens your heart, unravels your intuition, and guides you on a journey to inner and outer bliss with every bite you take!