divine pleasure of food, Anya El-Wattar


Ancient Tantra approaches the Divine through awareness, sensuality, and pleasure. Tantra teaches us that all pleasures that we experience are a reflection of a higher Divine pleasure—and through these pleasures, the Divine can be experienced here and now, in the body, while we are alive in the daily reality. By becoming fully present to our self and to our lover with our mind, heart, body, and all our senses, we experience our self, our lover, and the world as living Divine creations.

Tantric approach can apply to any aspect of life. We can have a profound spiritual and sensual relationship with food. In sensual Tantra, we feel, touch, look, listen, smell, and taste our lover with reverence and pleasure. We can do the same with a meal. The Tantra of food is about slowing down and being fully present to the living creations that nourish us and give us life. We can fall in love and dance together with their little spirits as they merge together with our larger human spirit. It’s about preparing food consciously with joy and love, eating with awareness, gratitude, and pleasure; savoring each bite, each flavor, each texture with all our senses. Why wouldn’t we do this? Food is earth’s manna, a miracle of life, a gift of creation. It is earth, water, energy, and sun in living form. Three times a day, we partake of the alchemical mystery and primal pleasure of food. We take part of the material world into ourselves, and it nourishes and becomes a part of us. Rightly prepared, eaten, and savored, a Divine alchemy transforms food molecules into a healthy body, a peaceful spirit, and a loving heart.

In The Tantra of Food, knowing what foods are good or bad for us is only the beginning. Equally important is how we eat—relating to our food in a loving, sensual, sacred way. Imagine eating in a spirit of loving gratitude. Thank you, food; you give us life! Thank you, farmers, for the fruits of your labor! Thank you, self, for being present and available for this miracle! Thank you, life, for flowing through me! Such an attitude of reverence transforms a seemingly mundane activity into a sacred occasion, three times a day. It allows us to digest and assimilate more than mere matter. Our life force flows through our awareness, feelings, and intentions. And we infuse into our food the consciousness and spirit with which we prepare and eat it.

So much of our potential and our pleasure are diminished in our world of highly processed foods, denatured foods, junk foods, fast foods, and in all the sterile, mechanical meals our culture provides. And our lives are unhealthier and shorter as a result. A healthy, sensual, loving relationship to our food is as important as its quality and nutritional value. Both are essential to a long, healthy, happy life.

May you recognize and honor the living spirit in yourself by eating healthy, nutritious foods. May you infuse your food with love and eat with real pleasure. May your food be a sacrament and every meal a sacred occasion, whether you eat alone or with others. May your relationship to food energize your body, satisfy your senses, prolong your life, nourish your family, and awaken your heart.

I’m Anya El-Wattar—and here’s to a happier, healthier us!