Does our diet affect our disposition?

—A Devotee

Our diet affects our disposition to a great extent. It affects our state of mind either favorably or unfavorably, and whatever affects our state of mind affects our disposition. All food has a relationship to the mind. To have a healthy brain as well as a healthy body, it is necessary to eat the proper food.

The human machine is not unlike an automobile or a steam engine. The efficiency and overall behavior of engines is dependent upon the fuel they use. Similarly, the general condition of the human machine is largely dependent upon the food a person eats. Food also has an effect on our character, abilities, and social habits.

The quality of a food’s taste, color, and overall appearance is reported to the brain through the nerves of taste and sight, and is experienced as pleasant or unpleasant sensations. Repeated experiences with food result in definite eating habits which, in time, become an important aspect of a person’s daily behavior.

Remember, you must eat to live, not live to eat. Greed is the servant of wrong eating and the enemy of digestion, good disposition, and overall health. Greed seeks to please the sense of taste, no matter what the cost in terms of your overall happiness.

Never eat only for greed or to please the palate. You must eat to nourish the body. While eating, do not concentrate on your palate but think rather of your health, digestion and self-control. Good eating habits include 1) eating only when you are very hungry, 2) good mastication, and 3) eating plain food.

The element most likely to be lacking in the average diet is calcium — cheese and milk being two of the main sources of calcium. Calcium is necessary for healthy bones but when it is lacking, the most serious effect is upon the nervous system, causing not only physical illness but also changes in one’s mental characteristics. Too little calcium can make people excessively changeable, unbalanced, and at times, violent. Plenty of calcium tends to make people more temperate and well-balanced.

While we know that food supplies the body with energy, we must also remember that good thoughts are also nourishing for the mind, while thoughts of any other nature are poisonous to the health of both body and mind. Food should not be eaten with the consciousness that it will produce physical health only, but rather that it will spiritualize the body.

Food values are not a delusion, but follow natural law. Diseases are not due to “fate” but to wrong eating and transgression of God’s laws. The physical causes of disease include over-eating, eating the wrong foods, lack of exercise, and immoderation in sex life. Diseases are simply poisons trying to find a way out of the bodily system.

Try always to preserve the body temple for Spirit within and to deliver “sermons” of perfect health to all.

From Inner Culture, February 1940.