eat your way to independence: symbolic foods for freedom

eat your way to independence: symbolic foods for freedom

As specific holidays approach, I get an increasing number of emails from readers asking for articles, recipes, spells, and advice relevant to the upcoming holiday: aphrodisiacs before Valentine’s Day, oils and herbs for gratitude before Thanksgiving, and so on.

This year, I noticed for the first time that many people are hoping to put certain things behind them as Independence Day approaches.

There are lots of different things compelling us: for one friend, it’s the jarring memory of being hit by a drunk driver over the 4th of July weekend a few years back. For one client, it’s about putting an unhealthy relationship in the past. For yet another client, it’s about healing the memory of the loss of a pet. Just this morning, a friend on Facebook thoughtfully shared a photo asking a neighborhood to forego their fireworks altogether in deference to a veteran service member in the community who suffers from PTSD.

Many of us have little things that hold a small piece of us back and keep us from feeling free.

And all of us have better things to be doing this Independence Day than staying stuck in the past, whether it’s a day hike, camping trip, barbecue, block party, or a nap in the shade. To wit, I offer you a short list of things you can discreetly align with today that will raise the energy you need to declare your freedom from the past so you can get on with grilling, hiking, playing, or napping…

For Protection

Sometimes we want to feel like we have extra energy looking out for us. Raising protective energy doesn’t have to be complicated: we can just eat protective foods! Oh, I know, so hard, right? Who has time to formulate a protective food menu? Trust me: YOU DO. Even if all you’re doing is trolling your neighbor’s backyard barbecue…

The fact is many “everyday” vegetables are aligned with protection, including artichoke, bell pepper, cabbage, corn, onion, potato, radish, and tomato. If you’re the chef today, feature aromatic ingredients aligned with protection in your recipes. Look to fresh herbs like basil, garlic, parsley, and rosemary and dried spices like black pepper, cayenne, clove, and paprika. Where possible and relevant, slice vegetables into spears (a protective shape) and keep serving items round (the shape of your secret protective bubble!). If you are comfortable with it and so inclined, you can also trace the image of a five-pointed star over your foods for added protection.

Not the one cooking? No worries. You can have an extra, protective helping of appropriate foods made by somebody else.

It's not just food: it's your personal protective platter. Corn on the cob, cole slaw, and spicy sauces all contribute protective energy.
It’s not just food: it’s your personal protective platter! Corn on the cob, cole slaw, and spicy sauces all contribute protective energy.

Spicy sauces and fired foods are perfect, so a barbecue is your best friend today.

Add extra protection by drawing a star or a cross (“+”) on your burger bun.

Look for hot items like chili or even nachos. Fiery salsa will work, too. Crisp cole slaw (hello, protective cabbage!) or cool potato salad are also great bets.

Grilled corn on the cob is perfect–it has fiery wand energy.

Take that corn to a whole other level of fierce protection by sprinkling it with some chile pepper or cayenne and gesturing with it like a wand between bites. People will think you are animated while you are actually actively, energetically declaring and defending your space.

For Severance

There are times when we just want to leave something behind us: cut ties and walk away.

If you’re lucky enough to be in huckleberry country, bake or bring a huckleberry pie to the day’s festivities.

Huckleberries help break perceived negative bonds and can help you move on. (If you are trying to move on from a person, you get extra points if they eat the huckleberry pie, too…)

Generally speaking, sage, rosemary, basil, lavender, lemon, and lime will all help break away from whatever haunts you. If you are inclined to indulge in alcoholic beverages, look to mojitos (peppermint helps purge) or gin and tonics (as juniper is banishing!).

summer mojitoKeep a wedge (not a wheel!) of lemon or lime in your cocktail today; with each sip, toast your magical, wonderful, liberated life.

(Be sure to put your energy to what you want instead of what you are severing from your life!) The fruit will help drive a wedge between you and what you seek to leave behind.

If you’re looking to forget some fool who did you wrong, don’t bury yourself in the Ben & Jerry’s when you get home tonight–dive into a huge bowl of pistachios! Pistachios help to break the hold your former lover had over you.

If you are still feeling especially raw and emotional about the experience or person you want to leave behind but want to move ahead without them, eat an apricot sprinkled with a small amount of nutmeg and cinnamon to build your courage to move forward. When you’re done, take the apricot pit with you outside on a walk. At a point when you are sure you will not cross the same path again on your way back home, throw the apricot pit over your left shoulder without looking back. From there, just keep on walking…

For Freedom from Emotional Pain

Honestly, friends, this one begins and ends with you treating yourself with kindness: be gentle with yourself today.

Sometimes healing an old wound isn’t about adding something new to your regimen, but rather avoiding the triggers that exacerbate your pain.

Candidly, I am intimate with this one in conjunction with Independence Day: I had a terrible experience on the 4th of July over 20 years ago that was exacerbated by the noise and spectacle of the fireworks display going on in the background. To wit, I’m not a fan of celebrating the day, especially not with fireworks…. My friends are used to me declining the big stuff on the 4th. Quiet hike in the woods? I’m in. Cozy picnic on a secluded lake? Let’s do it! A cocktail on a quiet, private deck with close friends? Maybe. Lots of drunk, noisy, anonymous people and big explosions in a public place? Hell to the no.

It’s not necessary to tell people why you have a specific boundary–it’s only important that you see it, set it, and maintain it, particularly when and where some details are out of your control (like, say, a crowded, rowdy public environment).

Do what you need to to feel as good as possible.

When you need to heal, honor your self. Keep your food as fresh, whole, and pure as possible. Stay away from frozen, canned, and processed foods and use a stove or barbecue–not a microwave–for foods that need to be heated.

Take a moment to quietly bless every. single. thing. you consume. Visualize it contributing to your emotional balance and nourishing your inner peace before you take so much as a bite.


With each bite, savor the flavor of what your are consuming so that it helps to keep you present in the here and now….

Often, avoiding trigger foods and flavors can help you to feel stronger. Watch out for sharp, bitter flavors, too much salt, and too much sugar (especially refined sugar!). If you have deep seated emotional pain, I recommend you avoid alcohol as it can compromise your ability to remain present and stand tall (not to mention trigger feelings of hopelessness and depression….).

Generally speaking, sage and rosemary are beautiful and gentle spice for encouraging healing at all levels. Find a way to incorporate them into your food today. Make a sage or rosemary butter for your corn on the cob, a rub for your chops, or add one or the other to your potato salad.

If you feel heavy and burdened, look to lighter, brighter foods.

Consider a salad of lettuce, cucumber, and tomato with a sweet, creamy dressing or sunny foods like a fruit salad with apple, peach, watermelon, and pineapple sweetened with a little bit of honey.

fresh fruit.jpg

If you are feeling unsteady, look to foods, herbs, and spices that are grounding. Focus on whole–not processed foods–including proteins like cheese, meats, nuts, eggs, and grains.

[Pssst: If your healing looks like you in a dark room with a can of spreadable cheese and crackers or you at a party with a drink in your hand, that’s cool and compelling and relevant to you. There are no rules here. If it feels good, isn’t a lie, and hurts no one, get down with your bad self. You’re doing it right.]

Whatever you’ve got going on, I hope you have much in your life and many things to celebrate today–especially if you’re free now from something that once held you back, down, or under. BE FREE!

Bless and blessed be!


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