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Friday, November 26, 2010

Foodie Friday: Infusing gratitude into your relationship with food

Analiese is a writer, yogini, holistic health counselor-in-training, and aspiring whole foods chef based in the Washington, DC area. As a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she is passionate about helping others make natural and sustainable food choices. She writes about food, health, wellness, and creativity on her blog, Tulips & Tea.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving, Tranquilistas!

Although the holiday has passed, Thanksgiving is always a wonderful reminder of the importance of gratitude in our lives.  For this month's Foodie Friday, I thought I'd share some ways to keep the flame of thanks burning year-round by infusing gratitude into your relationship with food.

1. Practice mindful grocery shopping.  Avoid peak hours so that you won't feel rushed or stressed.  Slow down and savor the experience of choosing your food.  Notice the sheen of the apples, the rich colors of the squash, the texture of the curly kale.  Give thanks that you have access to such beautiful fare.  Bring your own reusable bags.  Upon returning home, unload and put away your items with care.

2. Reduce waste.  Practice gratitude toward your food by reducing the amount that goes to waste.  In the most recent issue of Whole Living, it was reported that Americans waste 14% of their food.  Take regular stock of what's in your fridge and pantry, and challenge yourself to make creative use of ingredients that may be reaching the end of their lifespan.

3. Set the scene.  Encourage gratitude by creating a serene environment for cooking.  Have your ingredients ready (removed from fridge or pantry, unwrapped, pre-measured) to avoid last-minute scrambles.  Light soy candles (preferably unscented though, as scented candles can interfere with the sensory experience of cooking).  Turn on your mood music of choice (I like jazz while cooking).  Quiet your mind and become fully present.

3. Cook with intention.  When cooking a meal, take time to set an intention for the process.  It could be something as simple as I am thankful for the farmer that grew these gorgeous veggies, or you might dedicate the act of cooking to a person or situation in your life that could use some love and positivity.  Setting an intention reminds us that food is not only there for our own consumption, but also - in a very tangible way - connects us to the earth and other living beings.  As you prepare a meal, be grateful for this miraculous bond between us and all of nature's bounty.  This can become a meditation or mantra for your time in the kitchen.

4. Eat and give thanks.  Even if you're dining on carry-out, taking time to set the table shows gratitude for the food you're about to consume.  Use pretty dishes and carry some of those soy candles from the kitchen to the dining room to arrange a glowing makeshift centerpiece on the table.  Avoid watching TV, reading magazines, or compulsively checking your phone throughout the meal, and instead, focus on the experience of eating.  Give thanks (silently or out loud) for the meal you have just consumed.  And if you should be so lucky as to have someone else cook a meal for you, be sure to thank the cook!

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Kim said...

What a great post, thanks for sharing your ideas. Love the one about playing jazz - will give that a go. We don't have Thanksgiving in Australia, but your advice on being grateful works for me. Cheers!

Tiffani said...

Excellent post! I have just started declaring 2011 the year I tackle the kitchen and as I write this I am watching Julie & Julia for the third time. This post is exactly what I needed to make cooking a more personalized experience. I am sure this will help me make thoughtful food choices as well.