More than just burnt rolls
This week marks the beginning of the holiday season – and holiday food. Some food is welcome with mouths wide open; some not so much. As Americans, we seem to have a love-hate relationship with our food; many of us struggle with a food holiday because of either poor eating habits, struggles to lose weight, struggles with body image, dietary issues, etc. As I learn more about how addictive food can be (like sugar) and how many products are literally made so that we have difficulty stopping, I see how, in our busy lives, it becomes harder to be mindful of what and how we eat, therefore resulting in eating too much, not enough or too much of the wrong stuff. We eat when we are stressed, depressed, and we eat to celebrate. It becomes something we just do, and often we forget what it is that we are doing. How many meals have you had and when finished can’t recall what it tasted like, or the days you went home and couldn’t recall what you ate that day?
I also know that food can provide the exact fuel we need to keep our bodies healthy, functioning and disease-free. Good, clean food can offer so many great things for our health and wellbeing. Sometimes we just need help to ensure our fuel is the right octane, you know what I mean?
But rather than start a discussion of what should and should not be on your plate tomorrow, or if you should even care, I thought I would focus on the fact that half the time we miss out on the experience of the meal. I found this quote from the late Anthony Bourdain:
“Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.”
This Thanksgiving, my wish for you is that you will take notice of the moment. It’s not just paying attention to what you are eating and how it tastes. Become mindful of the environment, and laugh when you burn the rolls (who needs the extra carbs anyhow :-) and who cares if the potatoes are lumpy when you like whipped better. Take notice who is sitting next to you, and across from you, and that your meal is more than just inhaling that which was placed in front of you. Enjoy family and friends in all their quirkiness. Sincerely tell Aunt so-and-so that you came for her company, not a second helping of her (fill in the dish), so that she knows she is loved for more than the food she brought.
Every other day we are balancing crazy schedules. It’s not often we can get together with others and share a meal, so make sure it isn’t just about the meal, but the community in the room with you. And take a breath. And then when you get home, or when your company leaves, reach out to someone who wasn’t there and tell them you were thinking of them. Feel your heart get a little bigger, and maybe even get a little choked up about it. You'll both hang up and smile!
I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.