When nine-year-old Aisha started crying in the supermarket, I knew I was doing something wrong. The fact that she was crying in frustration over yoghurt choices made me realise that I was writing a story into her life that was harming her rather than helping her. So I stopped — collected myself, comforted Aisha, and then created a new dominant story about the food we choose to purchase and consume.

Ever since we visited a dairy farm in 2011, I’ve felt uncomfortable about conventional dairy products. The practices I saw (especially the ways the cows and calves were treated) directly converted to me being vegan for a season, which — in turn — led to Brioni adopting veganism at age five.

Since this time, I’ve felt reluctance to buy any dairy except, curiously, cheese — unless it is labelled as organic. My influencing story is that conventional dairy foods are the product of unhappy cows, and I don’t want to support that industry nor partake of food which was produced inhumanely. For food is energy.

We understand that all matter really is energy, and I believe that in generations to come, we’ll understand this science much better. When energy goes into our body, it produces energy, and I believe that foods that are composed of better energy come from meat that didn’t die traumatically or from plant-based foods that are closer to their living state. On this principle — on this story — I’ve guided the girls away from conventional meat and processed foods and asked them to choose food that was alive more recently.

I’ve also been told powerful stories about the nutrient content of certain foods, and this affects my belief about what is good food and what is a poor choice for our bodies. However, with an underlying principle that “living food is better”, I’d prefer to offer my children real fruit and vegetables over a multivitamin tablet any day.

More important than the nutrient content or the “living food” aspect of what we eat is the energetic content. Since food is essentially energy, I want to choose foods with “good” energy over foods with “bad” energy, and this is a subjective judgement, especially if I take into consideration the likelihood that food energy can be intentionally changed.

Ágúst looks at pictures of water crystals, Reyjekavik, Iceland, September 2013
Ágúst looks at photographs of water crystals which demonstrate a change brought by a blessing. The top row is before consecration by a priest, the bottom row are pictures taken afterwards.

Critical to my belief in the changeable energy of foods are the artworks of Masaru Emoto who photographed the obvious change in water crystals after exposing them to specific music, prayers, words and photographs. Emoto’s photographs show that blessing water creates a noticeable difference in the water-crystal formation, something that religions have known for millennia! It’s not difficult to extrapolate that — since water comprises such a large percentage of our body and our foods — the structure of the molecules that we put into ourselves can be changed by peaceful thoughts or gratitude.

The word
In Australia, a certain cordial manufacturer engraves words of virtue onto the base of their glass bottles — perhaps because they, too, believe that it affects the molecules of the drink within.

We read the labels on products and decide for ourselves whether something has “better” energy based on what we know of its production process. Is it organic? Free-range? Fair trade? From a permaculture establishment? Locally produced? Family owned? All these are factors that I’ve been sharing with the girls as we shop and travel, and they’ve guided our purchasing decisions in ways that are less economical but I believe are better for us, for our environment and for a sustainable future.

As always, a legalistic rule is easier to implement than assessing everything individually, and — for me — organic dairy was that rule. The girls know which brands of yoghurt are organic, and — after browsing the flavours available in the two brands on offer on the shelves this week — Aisha said that she didn’t like any of them very much. I know Aisha loves yoghurt, and I became impatient and asked her to choose one anyhow, “but it has to come from happy cows”, I said. And this is how the tears started.

Instead of assessing this particular food — yoghurt — by its specific energetic attraction to Aisha, I was allowing a label to dictate what was best for her. Although I don’t actually know anything about how an organic dairy farm works differently from a conventional dairy farm (we haven’t yet visited one, but I’d like to!), I had created a story that simply said “organic dairy is better”, and so that was what we bought. I was forcing Aisha to choose a flavour that she didn’t really like because of my dominant story.

Her dramatic reaction was necessary for me to realise how foolish I had become. In repenting to Aisha, I acknowledged that what I was saying was silly; I was saying that even a yoghurt she didn’t like the taste of was better than one she did like. I was completely ignoring the energetic factor of the food — the gratitude she would feel for what she was eating and how that would affect her body in real ways. When I explained all this to Aisha, she replied gently, “Yes, it’s silly — if I don’t like it, how will I get good energy from eating it?”

With the whole dairy aisle now available to her, it was much easier for Aisha to select a flavour she preferred. I’ll continue to encourage wise choices based on the principles of organic, locally-produced, family-owned, fair-trade, etc, but I’ll know now to not let that interfere with the personal energy we imbue into our food when we feel truly grateful for it.

Aisha eating yoghurt, July 2014
Since she's grateful for what she's eating, this is good food for her.

Thank you for the lesson, Aisha. I’m so thankful that you’re continuing to teach me so much about myself and the world around me, and I’m sorry I made you cry.