Food glorious food. We celebrate with it. We commiserate with it. We need it for our very survival.
Isn’t curious then that so often we lose sight of our gratitude for it?
Hold on you might be saying. I’m grateful for the food I have. Yes you probably are. You just likely forget about your gratitude when it comes to most food related activities. All you have to do is catch yourself talking the next time you are shopping for, preparing or even eating food.
- There is no place to park.
- Darn it they are out of my favourite brand of whatzits.
- The line in the grocery store is too long.
- I’m too tired to cook.
- If I eat this I’ll get fat.
- I don’t like brussel sprouts.
- Doing the dishes is such a pain.
And so on.
Maybe you are like me. My favourite food related complaint is about putting my groceries away. I’m okay going shopping. I’m usually okay standing in a line. But I grumble about having to come home and put my groceries away. I often joke with the cashier that I would pay a little bonus if someone could come and unload the bags from my trunk, carry them into the house and unpack them.
All of these mutterings disconnect us from our gratitude for the abundance of food we have. If you are reading this, you probably can count yourself in the group of people who have food security. You have access to an abundance of food. You might not like what is in your cupboards but there is indeed something in there. People experiencing food insecurity worry about whether their food will last until the end of the month when their next pay cheque arrives. Some people don’t know where they will find their very next meal.
This is not a problem that only exists in developing countries. In Canada one in eight households have difficulty getting enough nutritious food to eat. That puts a different perspective on standing in the produce aisle debating whether you will buy Gala or Red Delicious or Spartan apples.
Add to that the shocking statistic that we throw away about 40% of our food supply at home, in grocery stores and in restaurants. Canadian families toss out 215 kg of food each year. That’s food that likely cost $600.
My point is that gratitude is not an abstract concept. It’s not enough to say we are grateful for something. We have to stop and pay attention to it long enough to experience it. Gratitude understands that the blessings we enjoy today might not be there tomorrow. It most definitely understands that everyone is not blessed in the same way.
Our gratitude is reflected in our thoughts and words and actions. So the next time you find yourself grumbling about a food related activity, stop and count your blessings. The next time you stand looking in the refrigerator lamenting that there is nothing to eat, have a little reality check. The next time you go to throw out food, remember that it is a privilege. Practice mindfulness about your food.
And lastly, support your local food bank. They are the front line people who are working on your behalf to create someone else’s security.
Please post a comment and share:
What’s your favourite food related complaint?