Food and Integrity

"Opening of the Heart Chakra" by J Slattum

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “integrity” as “firm adherence to a code, incorruptibility, soundness and completeness.”

When imagining the integrity of your body, imagine its “code.” Given everything it needs, your body will be sound and your immune system will do its best to keep you incorruptible.

There are genetic dispositions that make you more vulnerable, perhaps, to blood sugar imbalances or gluten intolerance. Whether or not you turn those genes of illness on, it’s true that you can turn them on.

But beyond that physical layer of what is just-plain-true about you, there is a code of your heart.

Your heart might soar when birds come to your birdfeeder or when you hear the saxophone or when you salsa dance. There’s no right or wrong about it, it’s just-plain-true about you.

Chances are that somewhere along the way, this just-plain-truth about you got obscured by social norms, responsibility or a harsh judgment by someone you respected. There are many things that can obscure and interrupt the “code” of your heart.

In a similar way, there are a great many things that can obscure and interrupt the “code” of your body. Things like white flour and sugar, caffeine, drugs, toxins and stress can corrupt the “incorruptibility, soundness and completeness” of your body’s unfolding.

Anxiety, depression and anger, as well as diabetes, high blood pressure, skin rashes, painful PMS, headaches, etc., are all signs of physical imbalance.

These are signs that your body’s integrity has been breached. Left to its own devices, your body ceaselessly works towards healing and balance. Those efforts can be lost amidst a sugar addiction, trapped emotional pain that expresses itself in the form of bingeing or a continuous denial and overriding of fatigue.

When people begin to support their body’s healing, their physical integrity starts to shine. This can be a slow process if you’re starting from a place of profound imbalance, but it never DOESN’T happen.

Your body is a living organism with a sacred code of life force running through it. When the integrity of that sacred code is protected and supported, something happens with the integrity of your heart.

When you get around what you love and have always loved, you start to shine.

It’s like the state of physical balance and vitality is a prerequisite to coming out as yourself.

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”

–Mary Oliver

Deeply nourishing yourself is an act of self-love. Nourishing your body with nutrient-dense ancestral food, lots of water and sleep and an exercise routine that IS your spiritual practice is paying homage to the sacred code that runs through you. You did not design it but you are its custodian.

The soft animal of your body is a wise creature that yearns for healing and vitality.

Trust it.

When you honor your body in this way, you pave a path before you of deep integrity. You create a container for the light of your heart to shine without shame or second-guessing.

Come out as who you really are. Don’t wait to give your gift to the world.

Start by eating more kale.


Holly Noonan writes about self-nourishment and food empowerment every month in her Mind Body Nutrition Newsletter.

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