The Healthy Ritual of Giving Thanks

Blessing your food is a beautiful and immensely practical ritual that can enrich your sense of gratitude, improve the way your body processes each meal, and give food the genuine sacredness 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).

Giving thanks for food is a simple way to express your appreciation for each meal. It starts each meal on a joyous note, with a heart anchored in gratitude and a family united in reverence for the offerings of Mother Earth.

Since starting my own family, I’ve felt connected to blessings on an emotional level – I’ve seen the twinkle in my young 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.

Blessings work like a delicious miracle at play. You see, when you pause to appreciate the simple or decadent flavours before you (even if you haven’t made the meal yourself), you’re doing so much more than beaming out some loving gratitude to the universe. You’re diving in with all your senses.

When you use your eyes to take in the colours and types of food, your fingertips to touch the textures, your nose to breathe in the aromas, and your ears to listen to each other, and, eventually, your mouth to taste the flavours, your body prepares itself to process the food as easily and optimally 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, let your nose stimulate your brain with the layers of aromas.

Touch the food gently with your fingers. If it’s appropriate, use your hands to hold some of the food before or while 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, read this.

As much as possible, stay away from genetically and chemically altered or processed food, as these will negatively influence any kind of health benefits.

Now you’re 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.

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

Author unknown

Try this blessings or create your own and share with family and friends.

Much love,

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