Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Take a Moment to Thank Your Food

Insights + Opinion
Eating is a reciprocity that we experience multiple times each day. Being mindful of it opens us to a greater understanding of our place in this complex world.YES! Illustration by Enkhbayar Munkh-Erdene

By Kathryn Lafond

During the holidays, talk is often of feasting. Even as a former chef with decades of experience raising plants and animals, I choose not to get into conversations about dietary choices—vegan, carnivore and everything in between. I prefer to ask: What fed you today, and were you thankful?


Connecting to something larger than ourselves is the delicious benefit we receive when we step into a state of gratitude, a deep-felt sense of appreciation. We understand what is larger than the reach of our arms and the strength of our hands when we acknowledge the gift of life that feeds us: the plants and animals that share our world.

When we enter as participants in this web of life, we are changed by it. Research shows gratitude has the power to heal. Even on a short-term basis, feeling grateful tends to build qualities of compassion, generosity, and forgiveness that make us better people. So consider the healing benefits of living in a state of fundamental thankfulness. To live that way opens us to awe and beauty.

We can begin our journey to gratitude by gently shifting our perspective every time we sit for a meal or prepare food.

Eating is a reciprocity that we experience multiple times each day. Being mindful of it opens us to a greater understanding of our place in this complex world. Simply reflect on the beauty of the lives given to become ingredients that feed us—seeds from stalks of rice or wheat, fruits of blossoms, flesh from furred, feathered, and finned beings.

Author Erica Bauermeister refers to the mystery of life feeding life in her book, The School of Essential Ingredients: "Every time we prepare food, we interrupt a life cycle. We pull up a carrot or kill a crab—or maybe just stop the mold that's growing on a wedge of cheese. We make meals with those ingredients and in doing so we give life to something else. It's a basic equation, and if we pretend it doesn't exist, we're likely to miss the other important lesson, which is to give respect to both sides of the equation."

Creation myths abound of how plants and animals and people arrived and how they sustained each other. Indigenous people were instructed to reciprocate, such as by gifting cornmeal or a piece of one's hair for a plants' sustenance. Hunters would dance before a hunt to honor the life of the animal and call forth its spirit.

For most people today, dealing with busy days and consumer culture, intimacy with our food is often lost.

Becoming gratefully aware of our interdependence with all living things increases as we ponder the essence of what we are consuming.

Consider a carrot. Does it surprise you that it could become brightly colored while growing underground? Do you feel in alignment with nourishing minerals rising up its stalk similarly to your own flowing blood? How big might it have grown had it not been plucked from the ground? Who else would it have fed?

A breath of gratitude taken to heart is an instantaneous connector.

"Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you," Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude." Indeed, gratitude shifts us from takers to makers, from disconnected to participating as a miraculous piece of the whole.

Reposted with permission from our media associate YES! Magazine.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Activists of Greenpeace and Fridays For Future demonstrate on a canal in front of the cooling tower of the coal-fired power plant Datteln 4 of power supplier Uniper in Datteln, western Germany, on May 20. INA FASSBENDER / AFP / Getty Images

The Bundestag and Bundesrat — Germany's lower and upper houses of parliament — passed legislation on Friday that would phase out coal use in the country in less than two decades as part of a road map to reduce carbon emissions.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Tara Lohan

Would you like to take a crack at solving climate change? Or at least creating a road map of how we could do it?

Read More Show Less
Climate campaigners and Indigenous peoples across Canada have spent the past several years protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline. Mark Klotz / Flickr / cc

By Elana Sulakshana

Rainforest Action Network recently uncovered a document that lists the 11 companies that are currently insuring the controversial Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in Canada. These global insurance giants are providing more than USD$500 million in coverage for the massive risks of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, and they're also lined up to cover the expansion project.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Leah Campbell

After several months of stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many households are beginning to experience family burnout from spending so much time together.

Read More Show Less
Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz

With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less