Growing up, gratitude for the family meal (usually dinner) always took the form of a prayer. Today, I have a different relationship with food and am always deeply thankful for the quality of food I have access to, and the healthy things it does for my body. My gratitude usually comes in the form of conscious acknowledgment now that I am older: not everyone has access to such fresh, organic foods; I am painfully aware. I am also aware that these foods have healing properties and without them, I wouldn’t be enjoying health or life as much as I can today. I trust that it is nourishing my body.
Part of the healing process comes not only in what we’re eating, but also how we’re eating. Are we eating in a spirit of thanks — to mother earth, to the farmer, to the store down the street for stocking the goods, to friends and family for enjoying it with us? Eating isn’t just about the nutrients in the food, but also how positive the experience is.
Being grateful can also mean slowing down, chewing thoroughly and really tasting the food we’re eating. In doing so, our stomach muscles relax for proper digestion, our mood lifts, and we connect with the other people at the table, creating deep and meaningful relationships, and we can actually sense when our bodies are full. Gratitude is truly a psychosomatic (mind-body) experience.
How do you show gratitude for your food? What is your ritual, before, during, and after meals? Do you try to slow down while eating?