4 Ways to Honor Your Body Through Food and Traditions
By: Kate Daigle
“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos – the trees, the clouds, everything.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
As we enter into the holiday season and plan for Thanksgiving, you might find that thoughts and feelings of gratitude fill the air. Alternatively, with 2020 proving to be challenging in many ways for individuals and families all over the world, maybe you’re finding it difficult to connect with gratitude and are experiencing a more unconventional holiday season than you’re used to – which is totally understandable as well!
When situations seem uncontrollable or uncertain, there’s quite a bit that might seem out-of-reach or disconnected. However, there’s at least one way we can stay grounded and connected: Gratitude. If we can allow ourselves to feel gratitude, even for the simplest things, like our bodies, we can begin to feel a bit better physically, emotionally and spiritually. It helps us feel more connected to our physical bodies and thus, better able to manage the chaos we may feel around us. So, how do we expand our relationship to our bodies and honor ourselves through gratitude?
Would you be surprised to know that one of the ways we can do this is through food? From a biological perspective, our bodies are composed of many structures that function in complex ways. Hydration keeps organs, systems, and biological processes optimally functioning, while certain foods provide energy and nourishment to the smallest of cells in our bodies. From spiritual and cognitive perspectives, food is more than a way to satiate and nourish biological processes but rather a way of connecting with heritage, meeting emotional needs and connecting socially. It’s important to remember that none of these ways are inherently negative. It’s when the connections become a means of avoidance that issues arise and we fall out of balance.
Here are a few ways to honor your body through food and traditions:
Find foods that feel nourishing to you – we know that fruits, veggies and foods rich in fiber are a few groups that are considered “necessary” but knowing what nourishes you as an individual is truly a unique and original process. The better equipped we are to tune into our body’s needs the better equipped we are to nourish them.
Connect with foods that provide a full-body experience – sounds strange, right? In a literal sense, foods that provide a full-body experience might include carrots (eyes), walnuts (brain), oats (digestion). In a more figurative sense, foods that provide a full-body experience might include foods that are naturally flavorful, which engage your taste buds and sense of smell.
Connect with foods that are good for your soul and evoke fond memories – oftentimes, food is paired with social gatherings and traditions. Think of important traditions or fond memories that evoke gratitude from your life. What foods were part of those traditions and memories?
Last but not least, find foods that provide you with a sense of balance – the goal here isn’t to be restrictive when it comes to health. Sometimes, foods that we deem as “unhealthy” might be healthy for us in emotional or spiritual ways. Deprivation and restriction don’t lend themselves to gratitude and honor. Rather, find ways of keeping balance between mind health, body health and spiritual health.
Remember, everyone’s path to gratitude and honoring ourselves mind, body and spirit looks uniquely different. Because of this, we all have our own set of obstacles and challenges that can keep us from feeling grateful. Try reflecting or journaling on these few prompts to better understand how you can connect and honor your body.
Think back to a moment where you felt grateful and present related to a meal. What was the moment? Who was involved? What kinds of food were present?
What are some of your own self-limiting beliefs when it comes to food and honoring your body?
What kinds of challenges do you face when it comes to how you view food?
What kinds of positive experiences have you had with honoring your body through food?
How do you feel after experiencing gratitude? How can you better allow yourself to sit in that feeling?
How often do you notice yourself feeling grateful? How might you be able to expand that feeling and connect with more depth?
What ways of honoring yourself mind, body and spirit do you already have in place? How are these practices helpful? Why do you connect with them?
Take the time to reflect – to fully allow yourself the time and space to understand your own ways of connecting and honoring yourself. Don’t be afraid to get creative! There are countless ways to make your relationship to gratitude and honoring yourself healthier. Find what works for you in healthy ways and run with it!
If you are wanting to better understand how to connect with your own path of gratitude and honoring your body, but are having difficulty, we are here to help you. Kate Daigle is a clinician who understands that making changes in our lives is not always straightforward – sometimes we all need a little extra support. She can help you explore obstacles to gratitude and find what works for you personally from a warm and compassionate perspective. Book a free 15 minute session with her here!