Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. With the word diet, it is often implied the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons. Although humans are omnivores, each culture and each person holds some food preferences or some food taboos, due to personal tastes or ethical reasons. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy. Proper nutrition requires the proper ingestion and absorption of vitamins, minerals and food energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Dietary habits and choices play a significant role in health, mortality and can also define cultures and play a role in religion.
Breathe and eat correctly is one of the Thirteen Goals of a Witch. Our religious tradition has no dogma, so different Paths will define terms like ethical eating or dietary values in different ways. Food production has become a complex industry with potentially harmful effects, including: the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides; the mistreatment of food animals and workers; possible unintended consequences of genetic engineering; obesity among the poor who lack access to healthy food; energy lost by eating at a higher level of a food chain; conflicting ethical eating values; and classism, racism, and sexism.
The point of this post is not to propose a dietary code or insist on adherence to a particular set of rituals or religious beliefs. It aims instead to help someone feel confident in making easy, tasty, nutritious food choices that fit with your individual ethical and spiritual values. The "Nordic Diet" book is where many of these guidelines can be found. And June 5 was the start of the Think. Eat. Save. action, to reduce the foodprint.
One of the principles acknowledges the “Temperance and harmony protects the rhythm of daily life”. Others affirm the importance of rights, respect and love. Together the principles form one holistic statement that helps to define a Path. Again, this is just one thought, you are free to adjust to your own Pagan Path.
Eating, of course, is an essential element of our everyday experience. If we can approach our daily meals with a sense of reverence, if we can recall each time we slip a forkful of food into our mouths the many miracles it took to cultivate, harvest and prepare that bite, we will be moving toward truly living this radical principle.
· Food wrapped in plastic or styrofoam is ethical only if you're an astronaut. Reduce food processing and packaging energy (by eating foods as close to their original fresh state as possible).
· Reduce food waste (by buying sparingly and using leftovers).
· Transform your front lawn into a garden. Growing our own food helps us tune into the seasons and to what our own local environments can support.
· Eat for social justice (by supporting fair trade initiatives that promote fair prices and sustainable production practices).
· Reduce transportation energy (by eating locally produced meats, milk, grains, fruits, and vegetables whenever possible).
· Eat lower on the food chain (which would have positive impact on health, land use, water quality and soil conservation). The environmental cost to produce a plant-based diet is dramatically lower than that of a meat-based diet.
· Eat and act to promote good farming/fishing practices (that is, reward those who do it right).
Many Wiccans of several Paths share an intentional moment before a meal, to dwell in gratitude and remind ourselves of our ongoing commitment to use our gifts in service of our values. Such table graces create a space of centering and deepening, and give thanks for the effort and delight involved in bringing food, family and friends together. Table graces can be silent, spoken or sung. The specific forms and words are less important than the intention, and cumulative effect, of pausing in gratitude for and awareness of life’s gifts and potential.
"Loving spirit, be our guest, Dine with us, share our bread,
That our table might be blessed and our souls be fed."
The Fehu rune f represents mobile wealth. To our ancestors, as with us in today’s society, the accumulation of wealth, when gained honorably, is a positive thing. It ensures survival as wealth in its purest sense is a steady food supply. The cattle gives financial security, which in turn delivers comforts needed on all levels.
Naudiz n is a rune meaning need. This rune represents ‘need’ in all its forms, from the need for food and shelter, to the need of personal fulfillment. When you are in need and are aware and understand those needs, you are able to find a way to fulfill those needs.