Why I say grace before meals

Before I eat my meals I like to say grace. Not in the traditional Christian sense, but in my own way.

Before I take my first bite, I pause. I close my eyes. Smell my food. I think about my gratitude for the food I am about to eat. I try to imagine all of the different ingredients in my dish. I appreciate them all individually.

I thank the chef who cooked it. If I cooked it, I thank myself for taking the time to prepare a healthy meal.

I think about how the food is going to make me strong and healthy. How it will provide me with nourishment and energy for the days ahead.

If it’s bad for my health, I don’t resist it. I think about my gratitude for the flavors I am about to experience. I appreciate the luxury of indulging myself. 

I think about how excited I am to eat this meal. Like I am bursting with energy ready to inhale the food in front of me. Then I take three deep breaths.

And then I open my eyes and take my first bite.

This whole process usually takes me about 30 seconds to one minute.

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Why do I do this? For one it helps me find a moment in the day to simply be mindful. To be present in the moment and appreciate the food I have in front of me. A small, actionable, easy to remember, mindfulness activity to keep me present and happy.

It also helps me to eat more slowly. I have a bad habit of eating quickly and scarfing down my food, but this helps me to savor each bite. I appreciate the food more, so I chew more slowly. I take my time with the meal. I don’t rush. I don’t think about where I’m going next or what I have to do for the rest of the day.

It also helps me to practice gratitude. Pauses throughout the day to think about what I am grateful for. To find nuances of gratitude. Rather than just appreciating the “meal” in front of me, I imagine all of the ingredients. I imagine it filling my body with repaired muscle and giving power to my immune system. These things help me to deepen my sense of gratitude, rather than simply saying “I’m grateful for my meal.” When I say grateful, I mean that I literally FEEL the gratitude.

Lastly, it makes me happy. I have better conversations with people if I’m eating with others. I enjoy my food more. I notice other ways to be grateful throughout the day.

It improves my life in a number of ways, all in under a minute. How’s that for a life hack!

Thoughts? Similar experiences? Let me know in the comments below!

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