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On Thanksgiving day, people do something they rarely do at any other time of the year – they sit down for dinner together as families and thoroughly enjoy their food, savoring every bite, completely relaxed, hearts light with gratitude for the many blessings they received throughout the year.
The typical Thanksgiving feast is a sharp contrast to the eat-and-run meals that most people devour today – grabbing the fastest and most convenient food and mindlessly bolting it down, barely even chewing it, thinking about nothing other than the next event to hurry off to.
I’ve eaten that way many, many more times than I would like. Even though I’ve posted before about how I’m trying to follow the old-fashioned principle of chewing ten times slowly, there are still many times when I end up rushing through my meal. We all have to rush through a meal once in a while, but the problem is that rushing can easily become a habit, even if there’s no real reason for hurrying.
It might not be possible to sit down for a Thanksgiving-style feast every day, and there are many times when a meal really does have to be eaten quickly, but the one Thanksgiving-like thing we can do every day is to spend a few moments at the start of a meal to be thankful for the food we’re eating.
Whether you’re with family holding hands around the table saying an old-fashioned grace for the food in front of you, or just thinking a quick thought in your own mind, pausing a moment before digging in to give thanks for the food on your plate can make the entire meal more enjoyable and beneficial for your digestion.
The Digestive Benefits of Giving Thanks
1) Giving Thanks Makes You Slow Down and Relax
When our days get hectic, our first tendency is usually just to grab something quick and bolt it down as fast as possible. Pausing to be thankful for the food in front of you forces you to slow down, though, even if for just a few moments.
Those few moments of giving thanks help you to feel more relaxed, and when you feel relaxed you tend to chew your food more slowly and thoroughly, and slow, thorough chewing helps to break down the food so it’s easier for your body to get nutrients from it . . . and you end up with vastly improved digestion over a hurried grab-and-go meal.
2) Giving Thanks Sets the Tone for Slower Eating and Chewing
Often, the first bite really seems to be what determines how the rest of the meal will be. A relaxed, slow, mindful first bite tends to lead to a relaxed meal, but if the first bite is gobbled down in a hurry, the rest of the meal seems to go downhill from there and the food is gone before you even have time to think about what you were eating.
Taking a moment to be thankful for your food keeps you from devouring the food right away. It slows down that very first bite and makes it much more likely that the rest of the meal will be eaten more slowly too.
3) Giving Thanks Puts Life Back in Perspective
Taking a few moments to be thankful for your food gives you a quick reminder of the blessings in your life – blessings like delicious, nourishing food! Giving thanks for food before eating it is like having a mini Thanksgiving every meal.
This brief time of giving thanks can help to take your mind off of your worries and problems. It’s hard to digest your food well when you’re all tense with worry about something, but the act of giving thanks helps you to focus on the positive things rather than the negative and gives your body the relaxed state it needs for optimal digestion.
4) Giving Thanks Encourages Mindful Eating
When I’m really in a hurry, I find that I hardly even think about the food I’m eating. When I stop a moment to give thanks for the food on my plate, though, I become more aware of what is in front of me. I’m more aware of the flavors and colors and aromas and more appreciative of the nutrients that will nourish my body.
I enjoy every bite so much more when I’m eating mindfully, and there’s nothing better for digestion than thoroughly savoring and appreciating every single bite!
Spending a few moments giving thanks is a win-win situation – you end up having a happier meal and better digestion. Even though we can only have a true Thanksgiving feast once a year, we can still take a little bit of time every day to give thanks.
This post is linked to Sunday School at Butter Believer, Natural Living Monday at Natural Living Mama, Clever Chicks Blog Hop at The Chicken Chick, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday at Granny’s Vital Vittles, Family Table Tuesday at The Polivka Family, Natural Living Link-Up at Jill’s Home Remedies, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, and Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.
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Sunday 23rd of March 2014
This is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate information_ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!
Sunday 25th of November 2012
This is a great post! Thanks so much for sharing. Being thankful for what we have and eating with intention is so great for our mental and physical health.
Thank you for sharing on Natural Living Monday! I am excited to see what you have to share this week!
Saturday 24th of November 2012
This post is perfect. Something we tend to forget about too often is HOW we eat our food. I love it when I actually remember to practice mindful eating because it makes a HUGE difference.
Thanks for linking up to Thank Your Body Thursday! Hope you'll come back this next Thursday! www.thankyourbody.com