Human beings thrive on love.
We “feed” ourselves with heart symbols plastered on t-shirts, bumper stickers, books, cards, even our social media outlets. Our speech is littered with the word “love” – “I loved that movie!” “I love that song.” “I love you!” The meaning of the word “love” can be stretched out in a vast continuum — all the way from romantic love to platonic love to familial love. Without a doubt, the heart is front and center of our lives.
In fact, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the heart is referred to as the “sovereign,” or the ruler of the body, and is claimed to house the spirit of the person. All the emphasis that has been placed on the intellect for so many years is now proving to be misplaced, as current research from the HeartMath Institute shows that the heart generates a more significant field than the brain.
In several cultures, food is used to show love. Think of all the chocolate exchanged for Valentine’s Day. Dating couples typically spend their time together eating a meal. Mothers bake for their children. The message being delivered on many levels is that if we care about someone, we share food with them, whether preparing it for them, donating it to them, serving it, or even eating with them. Our love travels through the conduit of food. Also, we may overlook love for ourselves, but it is through the act of eating that we show we value and love our bodies.
Religious traditions have used the phrase, “Your body is your temple.” Indeed, loving and caring for ourselves implies providing our bodies with quality nourishment and making healthy eating choices.
The Heart Chakra
The part of our subtle anatomy that connects to the heart is called the heart chakra (in Sanskrit, Anahata). It holds not only the heart but the lungs, breasts, shoulders, armpits, arms, wrists, and hands. The arms and hands are an extension of the heart chakra, as they provide us with the ability to reach out, receive, and give. Touch is the sense associated with the heart chakra. Additionally, the blood vessel network and circulation of blood throughout the body is connected to the heart chakra. The heart chakra is unique from the lower three chakras in that it has more of an air quality associated with it, rather than some element that is concrete and physical. Entering the heart chakra territory is like stepping into another universe – one that is vast, cosmic, and infinite. Some traditions perceive the heart chakra as the center point where body and soul, heaven and Earth, meet.
When our heart chakra beats to our optimum rhythm, it will sit comfortably and peacefully on a throne surrounded by love, feeling and discernment. Like the sacral chakra, the heart chakra works with emotions, but on a different level – it translates the raw emotions spun from the wild wheel of the sacral chakra into a tapestry of pure feeling with a basis of wisdom. It is common to think of someone with an “open heart” as being endlessly giving and self-sacrificing; however, a well-developed heart chakra implies loving discernment and detachment as the highest expression of love – this is “emotional wisdom.” Like to the solar plexus chakra, the heart chakra can easily find itself in overdrive by giving without an equal balance of receiving – women, especially mothers and caregivers, are usually in this position.
However, a healthy, balanced heart chakra can harmonize feelings and love for others without compromising the expression of feelings and love of self. Those who are truly tapped into their wellspring of love will let their emotions be their guiding principle for decision-making, or, in other words, they will “follow their heart.”
Ways to Promote a Healthy Heart Chakra:
Growing, eating, and serving food with love and gratitude
It is quite a treat to have nurturing baked into your nourishment, as it feeds the body along with the spirit. Without a doubt, love is the highest earthly vibration possible. When food marinades in love, it is saturated with a high vibration, along with making it taste sweeter and more flavorful. People who buy organically grown food claim that it tastes better than conventionally-grown food when compared side by side, even when they do not know which one is which. There certainly is an element of ‘love’ that appears to go into organic gardening that you don’t find in mass, industrial farming. When we make the selection for organic food, we are actively tapping into the energetic lineage of love that has grown into the food imparted from the sun, stars, moon, sky, farmer, harvester and grocer.
Sharing food with others
Love grows when we share it. By loving others, we never become depleted of love. In fact, quite the opposite! In much the same way, sharing meals with others feeds our heart chakra. The more we share, the more nourishment that is available to all. Try inviting others over to eat and trying new recipes – this is the perfect meal for the heart chakra. Eating in a communal setting is important for us as human beings as we are interdependent on each other. Our lives at their essence are truly about giving and receiving love. When we build walls of isolation or separation around us, we close off the heart chakra. Eating with others blossoms the heart with joy, especially when the meals are prepared and eaten together.
Food for the Heart Chakra
Out of the 7 chakras, The three lower chakras revolve around the macronutrient universe – the root chakra grounds into protein, the sacral chakra flows with fats, and the solar plexus chakra burns carbohydrate. The heart chakra doesn’t feed on calories from these nutritional “big guns.” Instead, it loves to take in plant foods because of their complexity. Plants are some of the most tenacious life forms on the planet – they are confined to one place and are able to survive, a very similar quality to that locked within the essence of the heart chakra (“love conquers all”).
A healthy heart chakra vibrates at a frequency similar to the color green. Therefore, green foods provide the vibrational rate needed to help balance this chakra. On a nutritional level, green foods usually contain relatively high levels of plant compounds antioxidants like chlorophyll which is “king” of the plant-based antioxidants. In addition, green foods contain an essential nutrient known as folic acid. This nutrient, along with vitamin B6 and B12, is needed to lower levels of a reactive compound known as homocysteine in the blood. Studies indicate that there is a correlation between blood homocysteine levels and the incidence of heart disease. Examples include avocados, limes, lettuce, and fresh soybeans. If you want more love, eat GREEN!
The heart is the inner fulcrum from which our eating experience balances. Without a solid foundation of love and a free, open heart, we are unable to lovingly assimilate any quantity or quality of nutrients we ingest, no matter how pure and adequate they may be for our body. People who are preoccupied with obtaining the proper balance of calories, protein, carbohydrate, and fat are lodged within the earthy mud of the lower chakras – this is not the best and only way to approach nourishment. Remember this next time you take a bite — love energizes every particulate we pass through our lips. If we eat with an expansive heart, we amplify the healing effects of foods compared with eating from a place of non-love. Truly, the greatest nourishment we could ever take in is that of love. The take-home message is that if we do not infuse our food with love, we starve our hearts, and ultimately, our spirit.