The role of food in our lives

Food plays an important role in an individual’s life, as it is required for the survival of a human being and the nourishment of the body and mind. However, in modern times, people have developed an unhealthy relationship with food, in that they use (or abuse) it as a means of entertainment and comfort, to ward off boredom or to combat a feeling of ennui or emptiness in their lives.

Consequently, most people are engaged in perpetual warfare against their bodies by binging on food or by resorting to extreme diets, leading to health problems like obesity and eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

Nowadays, eating is not an act of giving our bodies nourishment, but something that makes us feel full as fast as possible. Mindless eating has led to the development of a fast food culture that makes it impossible for us to keep track of how much we eat. At the end of the day, we may even struggle to recall what we put in our bodies. Over time, we may find ourselves gaining weight without really knowing why, leading to an epidemic of obesity and lifestyle diseases like hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, which are so difficult to tackle.

Modern diet counselors and therapists advocate a technique called “mindful eating”, which makes the act of nourishing the body a contemplative practice. Mindfulness changes one’s attitude towards food and transforms the way one nourishes and cares for the body.

Interestingly, the Qur’an and Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) pre-date this advice by many centuries, serving as precursors to the principles of modern nutrition.