Sunday, 16 November 2014


In Canada we celebrated Thanksgiving several few weeks ago.  This coincided perfectly with the last assignment of my online mindful eating course: looking deeply into our food.

(An aside: I'm sorry, my American friends, but it makes SO much more sense to have this holiday in October. I recently visited your fair country and saw plenty of Christmas decorations, but no cheerful orange pumpkins, happy turkeys in pilgrim hats, or wreaths of colourful autumn leaves.  So why bother celebrating Thanskgiving at all?)

The point of "looking deeply into our food" was to trace the path the food took from a seed in the ground to my plate, and then to feel gratitude for each person and energy source involved in each step.  I struggled with this one.  I'm pretty righteous when it comes to food choices, and for my most righteous foods the exercise was so easy it seemed almost pointless.  It went like this: farmer's market, shopping bag, bicycle basket, fridge, cutting board, stove, plate, mouth.  Or even better: backyard, hand, mouth (this applies to my fall raspberry harvest).  

Of course, if you want an A+ on this one, you could think about the people who first domesticated raspberries from the wild fruit, the carbon sources that went into making the soil I planted the canes in, the First Nations people who were displaced when Europeans founded this city and started building it, the family who first built my home 100 years ago, etc. etc.

Although I'm righteous, I have my vices, too.  For the vice foods (say, instant hot chocolate or coffee), this was so difficult and abstract I couldn't train my mind to concentrate on it.  I found it easier to do this when I actually went to Nicaragua and saw how coffee is grown.

But being the keen student that I am, I wanted to make sure that I completed the exercise properly.  I chose a beautiful heritage squash that I had bought from  Freedom Farms, my favourite vendor at the local farmer's market.  I've visited this farm during an Open Farms event, so I could even picture where the squash was grown.  This farmer is friendly and chatty so I know a little bit about the trajectory that brought him to the farm, and the squash to my home.  

Here is a list of gratitudes that came up as I prepared, cooked, and eventually enjoyed my lovely little squash.

As I look deeply into this heritage squash, I am thankful that:

- it was part of a lovely centrepiece I arranged for the Thanksgiving meal I shared with people I love

- there is some left over to eat on another day
- it is full of intense orange nutrients
- it is feeding my healthy body, which I will use to go do fun activities
- there is an amazing farmer's market down the street from my house
- the farmer that sold me this squash is so pleasant
- I can roast the seeds for a yummy snack
- I can put the skin into my compost and one day it will become part of my garden

Who wouldn't feel thankful buying beautiful veggies from these smiling faces?

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