Putting Gratitude on the Menu

Winter can feel like an all out sprint between holiday gatherings, end of year work deadlines, and travel to see loved ones. While this can be a time of immense joy, stress often abounds especially with the cold and damp weather.

As I work to slow down and be present, I’m challenging myself to practice more gratitude. My theme, given the feasting of this season, is our food system. It’s easy to get bogged down with all the “bad” that exists in the industrial food system (E. coli scares, food access and equity issues, the prevalence of processed foods, etc.), so I’m trying to consciously focus on the good. After all, what we focus our attention on magnifies.

Join me this busy season in pausing to appreciate our local food system, in all its imperfection, and the hard working folks who keep it going.

Ideas for incorporating gratitude:

• While eating or shopping, consider the hands that planted the seeds, weeded, and harvested your food. Send them a mental note of thanks and appreciation for their hard work, skills, and perseverance. Or, if you know who grew your food, send them a note. It will go a long way.

• Wonder over the magnificence that is a seed. It always blows my mind to think that, combined with a bit of water and sun, something as small as a grain of sand has everything to grow a giant kale plant.

• If you eat meat, remember that a being gave up its life to nourish you. Give gratitude to that life that is now sustaining yours and the humans that lovingly cared for it.

• Notice the flavors, smells, and textures of the foods that you’re eating. What are you experiencing?

• Thank the retailers that carry local food products and are giving producers access to larger markets. 

How are you practicing gratitude?

Kelly Wilson, RDN is Taste the Local Difference’s Director of Community Partners. Share your food system gratitudes with her at [email protected]