For some reason, I have been very interested in the foods that I have been eating lately.

Honestly, it may be because I am working to improve my spiritual health with meditation and presence practices (AKA Zen Workouts). Meditation must be helping me to focus more on life’s present moments, because I am surely more aware of the types and amount of food that I eat than I was a few months ago.

I noticed that because I was paying more attention to the food that I was eating, I tended to prefer healthier foods. In fact, the junk foods almost seemed like poison!

For example, I was in a cafeteria at work and assessing possible lunch options. To one side of the room was the “HOT LINE,” in the middle was the “SALAD BAR,” to the other side was “THE GRILL” and to the far end was “THE SANDWICH”  line.

I first went over to the “THE GRILL” because I was in the mood to chow down on a hamburger and french fries. Normally, I would have stood in line and daydreamed until it was my turn to order. However, this time I decided to make myself present and pay attention to what was going on. I took a look at the bread, which was white and appeared to have been stored in plastic for decades. My eyes then veered to the fryer and the grease looked like a chemical that may have been imported from Gotham City. It was dirty and just smelled heavy. Finally, I looked at the meat, both raw and cooked. Then I asked myself, did this “meat” really come from an animal. I must admit that at that moment, I wasn’t sure…

Needless to say I left the line.

I proceeded to my next option, the “HOT LINE.” Because it was Friday, fried catfish was on the menu. I have had this fish plenty of times in the past and enjoyed it. Then I focused… I’m pretty sure the fish wasn’t fresh, for starters. Not to mention the batter used to crust the fish is just an additional simple carbohydrate that has absolutely no purpose in the realm of nutrition, and again, the fish was soaked in grease! I imagined the fried catfish going into my body and serving no purpose but to add more fat t0 the belly and clog some arteries.

I’ll pass on that…

I honestly was getting a bit frustrated because I just wanted to eat without having to make all of these judgments about food. Fortunately, the cafeteria had a “SANDWICH LINE,” so I proceeded cautiously.

Ironically, the woman making sandwiches was very pleasant, in contrast to the mean man at “THE GRILL” and the woman with a nonchalant attitude in the “HOT LINE.” Go figure.

There were many different wheat bread options, the meat looked fresh and the lettuce and tomato looked vibrant.

I pleasantly ordered a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with creole mustard and lettuce. When the pleasant woman handed me my personally made sandwich, if felt as if she handed me a healthier life − similar to a “life heart” in a video game. I also knew that I would enjoy the sandwich and my body would not expend its remaining afternoon energy trying to digest it. In a few hours time, the contents of this healthy sandwich will become part of a muscle, part of a bone and part of a readily available healthy energy source. I knew that the healthy lettuce would soon be going to work to fight off oxidants, which are the molecules that wreak havoc in the body and cause cancer, diabetes, vascular disease and other disease.

In walking towards the “SALAD LINE,” I was again impressed with the freshness of the vegetables. I hate to say it, but I think it was so organized and fresh because there was nobody around it!

So, I took the opportunity to put together a small salad to increase my daily vegetable intake.

In taking my time and assessing the salad bar, I felt the aliveness of the food. The radiance of the carrots, cranberries, broccoli and cucumber could not be ignored. The breakdown products of this kind of food is what I want to put into my body, my most sacred possession.

How could I have ever eaten greasy food?

Finally, came the beverage choice.

Considering that the human body can be up to 75% water, why not just drink that? So I grabbed a bottle!

However, if there was fresh tea I may have opted for that, because it contains water and other healthy nutrients.

Then, I looked at the soda tap… At that moment, I realized that soda was nothing more than syrup that was carbonated. Next, I looked at the dispense nodules and wondered if they had ever been cleaned…

I stopped there with my assessment…

After this experience, I took a new view on eating. I eat for energy. I eat for purity. I eat to help my body and not hurt it. I eat to protect myself against cancer and disease. I eat to enjoy being present with living fruits and vegetables and fresh meats from animals that have been sacrificed for our benefit.

Every bite is a privilege, and every ounce of food or drink consumed must have a positive purpose.

That’s why I eat. How about you?

Learn more about mindful eating.