Saturday, 18 January 2014


I'm going to try another experiment (if I can remember), but I hope it actually becomes a way of life.

This latest experiment was inspired by a play I read about.  In it, a young woman dies.  In the afterlife she wishes for one more ordinary day on earth.  "I didn't realize", she confesses mournfully, "all that was going on and we never noticed...Good-bye, world...And food and coffee...and sleeping and waking up".  That line struck me - how lucky I am to be alive, AND healthy enough to eat, AND living in a country of such abundance.  Sometimes I forget.

Most mindful eating resources talk about the concept of saying some form of grace before a meal to recognize and show appreciation for all the energy that has gone into supporting you.  The best grace I ever heard was at a lovely hard-core hippie retreat centre in B.C.  This is it:


Chanted in the style of "Om".  What made it awesome was the 5-year old girl who ate with us - she put such gusto into it!  Who can blame me for busting out laughing? (For a fascinating discussion of om click here. To hear om like you've never heard it before don't be shy - click here and skip to the 20 second mark).

Jan Chozen Bays suggests tracing your food back through all the steps and hands it passed through to get to your plate as a mindful eating exercise before you eat.  I did try that once - it took forever!  And I make my food from scratch with mostly local or basic ingredients.  What if you tried this exercise with a Big Mac?  The thing would congeal - but never, ever decay - before you finished your mental world tour of industrial "food" production.  (Aside: am I the only person who didn't know what the little white squares on a McD's hamburger were?)

Two things I'm grateful for; NOT two things I'm going to eat:
 my best buddy and a great garden harvest last summer
At the very least I can take a moment to acknowledge the origins of my food: to consider the people who worked to make it available; to appreciate the plants, soil, water, and sunshine that are the source of all food; and to respect the animals who died so I can nourish myself.  Most cultures have a tradition of doing this - there must be a reason.

I knew a wonderful person who died of bowel cancer much too young.  Not long before he died Tom and his wife invited me for supper.  I'm pretty sure we had pizza.  Tom explained that because of his cancer he HAD to eat doughy, low-fibre foods.  He had two wishes: to go for another paddle in his favourite provincial park with his friends, and to be able to eat a fresh-picked, crunchy apple.

How can I not take a moment to feel gratitude for life (and think of Tom) when I enjoy a beautiful apple from a local orchard?

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