"Part of me wants to go back in time...creating a golden world of fresh food, gorgeous ingredients, wholesome food with flavor. Where people laugh and are really happy as they eat." --Restaurant critic Patricia Wells

In Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Deepak Chopra writes, “The most significant breakthrough is not contained in isolated findings but in a completely new worldview.” Our current food worldview encourages us to look at food with binoculars. One moment we point them at protein, the next at carbohydrates, and than at fat—both in food and on our body. But toss away the binoculars and instead –view food through a kaleidoscope—and the four facets of optimal eating emerge:

Biological nutrition. Viewing food from the perspective of physical health means analyzing it for its nutrient content; as animal or plant-based; as processed (denatured); enriched (nutrients taken out have been added back) or fortified (new nutrients have been added to the food); or as neutraceuticals (components that provide medical or health benefits). The aim of this biomedical perspective is to turn to food for the effect it has on the body (or on an ailment). HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE FOR HEALTHFUL, OPTIMAL NUTRITION: EAT FRESH WHOLE FOOD IN ITS NATURAL STATE AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE.

Psychological nutrition. Do you ever wonder why you crave carrot cake instead of a carrot when you’re anxious? The facet of emotional well-being targets the effects your emotions and moods have on your food choices—and vice versa. Often called “food-mood” research, nutritional neuroscience, or behavioral medicine, this emerging field of mind-body nutrition assesses how food affects feeling via hormones (chemical messengers) that are released in the brain when we eat certain foods.

Spiritual nutrition. When you’re not paying attention, are not fully conscious, food becomes merely something to eat. But if you blend the produce on your plate with “non-sense”—that which the ordinary senses cannot perceive—you’re no longer eating only for your heart but also from the heart. When you eat with such conscious, mindful connection, regard, and appreciation, food becomes a path to spiritual well-being. The desired outcome: to perceive food as an “equal,” in that it contains the mystery of life as do we human beings, and to appreciate the alchemy, the interconnection, the “oneness” inherent in food and eating.

Social nutrition. Think about your favorite food experience. Ws it sharing food with some friends, family members, and or coworkers, or were you dining at a table for one? This facet is about the benefits that food can bring when you’re dining in a socially supportive environment.

Each of the healing facets of food is imbued with ancient food wisdom that has sustained us for millennia. They are a template, a time-tested set of nutritional guidelines that create a clear picture about not only what to eat, but how to eat and also how to live: consciously, filled with a sense of wonder inherent in the alchemical union between human beings and food—one of life’s vital, elemental elixirs.

Nutritional technology may have changed over the years, but the needs of our souls have not. What greater gifts can we give to ourselves than to let food nourish us multidimensionally each time we eat, to experience the essential qualities of our being through food’s power to heal socially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically?

Deborah Kesten, MPH is a nutrition and health researcher, educator, author, and health coach. You can discover more about the four facts of food in her books, The Healing Secrets of Food, The Enlightened Diet, and the award-winning Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul. Visit her at www.Enlightened-Diet.com to learn more about her Whole Person Nutrition Program, coaching, and FREE optimal eating quiz.

Author's Bio: 

Intent.com is a premier wellness site and supportive social network where like-minded individuals can connect and support each others' intentions. Founded by Deepak Chopra's daughter Mallika Chopra, Intent.com aims to be the most trusted and comprehensive wellness destination featuring a supportive community of members, blogs from top wellness experts and curated online content relating to Personal, Social, Global and Spiritual wellness.