Blessed be the Earth for providing us this food
Blessed be the Sun for helping it to grow
Blessed be the Wind and Birds for carrying its seed
Blessed be the Rain for the water’s loving flow
Blessed be the hands that helped prepare this meal
May those hands and our hands, bodies too, be well and quick to heal
Blessed be our friends, our families, and all of our loved ones
Blessed be our mother earth, our father sky and sun*
Blessing your food is a beautiful and immensely practical ritual that can enrich your sense of gratitude, improve the way your body processes your next meal, and give food the genuine sacredness that it deserves.
When I was little, our family always said a prayer before we ate. Once I left home, I stopped praying because I had left the church and was searching for my own spirituality. I needed to find God in a way that made sense to me before I could pray again (it took a while, but I got there).
A while ago, when I found myself eating with two small children and a husband seated at the table, I realized the importance of giving thanks for the food on our plates. It’s a simple way to express our appreciation for each meal. And it’s meant that we start each meal on a joyous note, with a heart anchored in gratitude and a family united. (This is not how it rolls every night, given there’s a toddler in there, things can get a little less joyous than that!)
I knew blessing were good for us on an emotional level – I had seen the twinkle in my son’s eyes when he thought of new people and animals to thank for the food on our plate. (“Thank you truck driver for delivering these vegetables from the farm,” “Thank you Dad for grocery shopping,” “Thank you Mum for making my favourite meal,”) and the way our daughter copied him – but I had no idea that this act of grace was so healthy on a physical level too.
A gorgeous friend of mine – who knows how much I adore spirituality, food and scientific research – once told me about the very real health benefits to our bodies when we pause and give thanks. I researched it and what I found was so incredible.
It works like a delicious miracle at play. You see, when we pause to appreciate the simple or decadent flavours before us (even if we haven’t made the meal ourselves), we’re doing so much more than beaming out some loving gratitude to the universe. We’re diving in with all our senses.
We use our eyes to take in the colours and types of food, our fingertips to touch the textures, our nose to breathe in the aromas, and our ears to listen to each other… and, eventually, our mouth to taste the lot… while our body prepares itself to process the food as easily as possible.
While all this sensory deliciousness is taking place, your body is increasing its saliva, boosting the digestive enzymes, getting blood pumping around the digestive tract, releasing hormones that help metabolism, slowing down your breathing, relaxing abdominal muscles, switching the brain into eating mode, heightening the senses even more (which allows for more enjoyment of the meal as well as noticing any ingredients that are spoiled), and the neurons that line the gut are shifting into gear so they can better control the digestion and absorption of food.
All before you’ve taken one bite.
Here’s how to optimize your blessing:
When you sit down for a meal, turn off all screens and remove any distractions so you can focus on your meal.
Pause before you eat. Take a deep breath. Relax your body. Take in the food in front of you with admiration and sincere thankfulness.
Breathe in the fragrances altogether, let your nose stimulate your brain with the many layers of scents.
Touch the food gently with your fingers. If it’s appropriate, use your hands to hold some of the food before you eat it.
To enrich the experience bless the food in whichever way you wish, but you don’t have to say a word. Feeling grateful is enough. If you’re keen to try out some spoken words, have a read of this.
As much as possible, stay away from genetically and chemically altered or processed food, as these will negatively influence any kind of blessing benefits.
Now you’re literally ready to eat. Your mind, heart, spirit and body are all prepared to receive the food in front of you and make the very most of it.
Eat slowly, weaving your deep gratitude into every bite.
So much love
* Author unknown