A guest post written by Anne Hughes from Malibu, California
Recently while driving in Los Angeles I listened to an interesting morning edition health segment on NPR about how our thoughts about food affect the body in physical ways. When I looked it up online, the print version was called, “Mind Over Milkshake: How Your Thoughts Fool Your Stomach.” Many people are concerned with nutrition and read nutritional labels when making food choices, so the main part of the program focused on a study done by Alia Crum, a psychologist from Columbia University, who wanted to know if reading nutritional information for foods can actually affect the body biologically. She had studied the effects of placebos and saw a possible connection.
Crum set up an experiment where two groups of people were given the same batch of vanilla milkshake, but one group received it in a bottle labeling it as a low calorie drink, while the other group received the same shake in a bottle describing it as a rich, delicious treat. A hormone called the hunger hormone was monitored and the group who drank the “Indulgent” shake showed a response as if they had just eaten three times more food than the other group with the “Sensi-Shake.” Although this was a small study, it points to how much our thought affects our health and comfort.
As a teen I was troubled with a skin condition and was told that proper food choices could help me. It made no difference. Then I decided to talk with a friend of my dad’s whose work was healing through prayer in Christian Science. I remember dancing home from one of our visits because I had learned that I did not have to accept the picture of an ugly complexion – God who is Love never gave me such a sentence. It wasn’t about the food at all. Before long the skin condition improved so noticeably that my friends wanted to know how it had come about.
Later on while raising my own children in Christian Science, I wanted to provide proper food and care. I realized that wise choices reflect the intelligent Mind that is God. At the same time I knew that health was more about thought than about these choices.
Mary Baker Eddy, health researcher and the founder of Christian Science, knew from her own experience that “…neither food nor the stomach, without the consent of mortal mind, can make one suffer…” She also states, “In divine Science, man is sustained by God, the divine Principle of being.” These ideas have continued to give balance to my thoughts about food.