Gratitude Challenge Day 2: Give Thanks for Your Food

This is Day 2 of the 14-Day Gratitude Challenge held in Aug 2013, where we practice gratitude for 14 days. The challenge is now over but you can do the tasks in your own time. Visit the overview page for all the challenge tasks.

Gratitude challenge

 Hey everyone! Today is Day 2 of our gratitude challenge. Are you ready for today’s task?? :D

Day 2: Food

Healthy food

Food. We eat it every day, but do we ever give thanks to it?

Giving thanks for food is a practice observed in many cultures and religions.

In Japanese culture, the Japanese have a practice of beginning their meals with the phrase “itadakimasu” (いただきます). While it literally means “I humbly receive”, the phrase actually takes its roots in gratitude–to express gratitude for all who played a role in preparing, cultivating, ranching or hunting the food. (Read more: Eating and Drinking Etiquette in Japan.)

In French culture, the French say “bon appétit” which means “have a good meal” or enjoy your meal”. Some see it as a way of giving thanks before a meal.

Islam has a specific criteria on the foods that Muslims are allowed to have as well as how the food should be prepared. These foods are also termed as “halal” foods (halal is an Arabic word meaning “lawful” or “permissible”).

Under the Islamic Shariʻah, Muslims can only consume animals (non-pork) which have been slaughtered in the name of “Allah” (the Muslim God) and slaughtered in a way that minimizes their pain before death. The reason is because the Quran teaches that all animals, as creatures, should be treated with respect and care. It teaches Muslims to show mercy to animals due to the mercy of Allaah upon them. (Muslims, please correct me if I’m wrong!).

Then before beginning a meal, Muslims recite the Basmala (an Islamic phrase); after the meal, they say ” ‘Al humdu lil Allahil lazi at’amanaa wasaqaana waja’alana minal muslimeen” (which means “Praise to Allah for feeding us, giving us to drink and making us Muslims”). (Read: Islamic grace)

Then in Christianity, there is an established practice of saying your grace before your meals. Some of my religious Christian friends would say their grace before every meal, so I’ll always take my moment of silence every time they say their grace.

Some typical Christian prayers (courtesy of Wikipedia):

  • Ecumenical. God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. Amen.
  • Catholic. (before eating) Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
  • Anglican. Bless, O Father, Thy gifts to our use and us to Thy service; for Christ’s sake. Amen.
  • Australian (any denomination). Come Lord Jesus, be our Guest, let this food of ours be blessed. Amen.
  • British / Australian religious schools. For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. Amen.

Yesterday I gave thanks while having my dinner with Ken at a Glasgow restaurant. I ordered their soup of the day, which is chilli, sweet potato, and coconut soup, as well as breaded bocconcini.

Us in a Glasgow Restaurant

Us in the restaurant

Breaded Bocconcini

Breaded bocconcini — that’s fried bread with cheese inside for you. Along with some mixed salad. As a rule I don’t like fried stuff as it’s not the healthiest food around, but I’ve never had bocconcini before so wanted to see what it’s like!

Bread & Soup: Chilli, Sweet Potato, & Coconut Soup

The soup of the day — chilli, sweet potato, and coconut soup, along with bread. That’s garlic butter (I think?) at the bottom of the plate!

After the waitress served the food, and before I ate, I said outloud (while Ken watched in bewilderment before I told him later what this was all about)):

I want to give thanks for the food I’m about to have today.

I thank the farmer(s) for growing the chilli, sweet potato, coconut, and other ingredients that went into the creation of this food.

I thank the trucks for delivering the food to where it needed to be.

I thank the chefs of this restaurant who made this food I’m about to have.

I thank the waitress for serving the food to me.

I thank Mother Nature for creating chilli, sweet potato, coconut, among other great and healthy food in the world today.

I thank 狗狗 / “Gougou” ‘s company for sending him to Scotland for work or we would not have the opportunity to be here right now. (“Gougou” is my nickname for Ken which means dog in Chinese, because he calls me 猫猫 / “Maomao” which means kitty cat in Chinese.)

I thank Gougou for bringing me to Scotland with him and taking me to this restaurant or I would never have had the opportunity to have this meal now.

I thank everyone and everything that went into the creation of this food.

I thank the universe for the opportunity to eat and not starve while millions of people out there are starving on the streets and in their homes, be it in Africa, India, or third-world countries.

Itadakimasu! (いただきます)

(Yes, I really said those lines out loud while sitting in a public restaurant in front of my fiance who had no idea what I was trying to do at that point in time.)

The food tasted especially good during that meal. :D Giving thanks for my food made me more aware and appreciative of the efforts that go behind what I eat, and reminded me to continue to be thankful for all the food I’ll consume from here on out.

For today’s task, I would like you to give thanks for your food. You don’t have to be religious to give thanks (I mean, I did it and I’m not religious!); it’s simply about being grateful for the food you get to have which keeps you well and alive.

Your Task: Give Thanks for Your Food

  1. Take a picture of your meals (one of your meals or all of them, whichever you please!). The objective is to share with the other participants in the challenge and to keep a personal log of what you ate for today in your gratitude journal!
  2. Before you tuck in, give thanks for your food–be it verbally out loud or mentally in your head. Do it in whichever way you desire, based on your religion (if you have one) and your culture.
  3. Last but not least, enjoy your food! Take small bites, chew it slowly, and savor every bite of it (conscious eating is the way), while remaining aware and appreciative of all the hard work and time that went into the creation of your food.

Daily Journaling: Write 3 Things You Are Grateful for Today

On top of today’s task, identify 3 things you are grateful for today. These 3 things can be events that occurred today, mishaps which could have happened but didn’t happen, or simply things which have always been in your life but which you suddenly came to feel grateful for today.

3 things I’m grateful for today:

  1. I get the opportunity to touch your lives every day, even if in a little way. Because of you, I live.
  2. Your amazing participation in this gratitude challenge! Seeing your responses (text comments and pictures alike) for Day 0 and Day 1 so far are creating such a fuzzy feeling in my heart!
  3. For the opportunity to touch the life of my latest coaching client, T*, and to support her in her goals for the next month ahead.

Share Your Results!

What did you have for your meals today? (Share your pictures, please! Simply click the little icon on the bottom left corner of the comment box.) How did you give thanks for your food?

What are 3 things you are grateful for today?

Share them in the comments section! :)

Once you’re done, proceed to Gratitude Challenge Day 3: Write a Gratitude Note to Someone.

(Images: Gratitude, Healthy food