I recently read an article that was all about what drives us to eat. Written by Dr. Ed Bauman of Bauman College, the article explains Dr. Bauman’s Eating for Health™ process and his Levels of Eating concept. The levels represent steps or stages in a person’s journey towards health. I found Dr. Bauman’s concept very interesting and thought you might benefit from it as well, so here’s my version of Dr. Bauman's Levels of Eating.
To understand the Levels of Eating, you must first have a better knowledge of the Eating for Health™ process. Eating for Health™ integrates the best of both ancient and modern nutritional philosophies in order to support recovery from illness and promote a state of complete health. It is based on the idea that our cellular health is determined by the food we eat. “Damaged foods damage our cells. Fresh, healthy food sends the right messages to our DNA, encouraging healthy gene expression, as well as efficient growth and repair.” Overall, this philosophy focuses on eating fresh, organic, local, seasonal foods without rules about vegetarian/vegan vs omnivorous, raw vs cooked, caloric intake, etc. (Doesn’t all this sound familiar?) My favorite aspect is that Eating for Health™ says a person’s diet “can and naturally will evolve over time with changing circumstances,” suggesting that not only is there no one right diet but there is no one diet plan that will work forever, even for the same person.
Now that you have that foundation, we can move onto the levels. I'm a bullet point kind of girl so here's my quick and hopefully easy to follow summary of the levels.
Level 1: EATING FOR PLEASURE
- Immature and impulsive approach to eating.
- Focus is maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain; immediate gratification.
- “I ate it because it tasted good.”
- Diet higher in refined sugars/carbs, poor quality dairy products and unhealthy fats.
- Food choices often reflect what we were fed as children to quiet and appease us (which is why we shouldn’t do this for our children, but that’s a whole separate topic.)
- Emotional eating, compulsive eating, eating as a response to pain, tension and stress.
Level 2: EATING FOR ENERGY
- Driven by blood sugar regulation.
- Goal is to fill up and not have to eat again for 3-4 hours.
- Some improvement in quality of food but still high in grains and a fair amount of refined foods.
- Processed and convenient food choices. Fresh fruits and vegetables still play a minimal role.
- Overall, this is a highly acid-forming, allergy-inducing diet.
- Typically unconcerned with the ecological impact of your food choices (their impact on the environment, earth and even the economy.)
Level 3: EATING FOR RECOVERY
- Diet plans! Aiming to recover from the poor body composition and health caused by Level 1 and 2 eating.
- Food quality still not of utmost importance.
- Focus is on vanity, even if that means unbalanced eating to achieve the desired result.
- Tiresome and judgmental method of eating. Sometimes supplement-driven.
Level 4: EATING FOR HEALTH
- Learning about optimum nutrition, the healing effects of food and possibly even the aesthetic and spiritual approach to culinary arts.
- Often still have a “diet” mentality but the focus is shifting to better quality food and what the body really needs rather than being stuck to a rigid plan.
- A variety of food choices eating in moderation and carefully prepared to be within the healthy guidelines being learned.
Level 5: SPIRITUAL EATING
- Food is understood and appreciated as an instrument of personal healing.
- Eating is a daily practice based on a mature self-awareness.
- Periodic fasting and cleansing.
- Slower eating in order to really enjoy the subtle textures, aromas and flavors of food. True savoring of the moment.
- Enhanced digestion and assimilation of the nutrients in the food.
- Desire for S.O.U.L. foods = Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed and Local
Where do you see yourself now? What steps do you feel you can make to move toward the next level. I'd love to hear from you!
Happy, Healthy Living!
JoAnn Newton is a Holistic Nutrition Educator and Master Massage Therapist with a private practice in Graton, CA.
Passionate about helping people transform their health through holistic nutrition, she facilitates the 23 day online Nutritional E-Cleanse Program seasonally with coaching, compassion, and humor.