The Secret Ingredient : Love

 

By Annette Ramke, CHHC

It’s mealtime.

Maybe you’re cooking an old favorite.

Or you found a new recipe you can’t wait to try.

In either case you’ve been to the store, picked up everything the recipe calls for and are all set to make your chosen dish.

Food is washed, diced, chopped, mixed together, cooked, baked, tossed, or blended. All according to the directions on paper or in your head.

But something’s likely missing. Something to make your meal complete and your food more delicious than you can imagine.

It’s a secret ingredient. One that you’ll rarely find listed in a recipe.

What is it, you ask?

Photo: Fangol

Photo: Fangol

It’s love.

While that may sound a little “fluffy” to some, I am pretty darn serious.

Because when we “get” the fact that what we put into our body matters, then that means all of it.

And so it matters – the conditions under which are food is grown or raised. It matters the care given, how the plants and animals are treated and, in turn, our earth.

Think of the kind of energy you are taking into your body from an animal raised in factory farm conditions and, under stress, transported and butchered in a huge “processing facility” versus the animal raised and lovingly cared for according to its natural ways on a family farm and which is not forced into trucks at the end of its life before it reaches our plates.

Think of the energy of produce grown from genetically-modified seeds, fungicide and pesticide-laden as compared to fruits and vegetables that are grown organically, using nature’s tools for pest management and for protecting our environment.

Our body not only takes in the protein, fat, carbohydrates and vitamins of our food, it takes in the whole essence of it — from the way it was grown, to the manner in which it is prepared.

You can test this by seeing how you feel after eating certain foods. There may be more aggression, more sadness, more unsettledness. But also more joy, contentment and wellbeing.

Beyond how our food is grown there is the atmosphere in which it was prepared. Can you notice the difference in how you feel between eating, say, a fast food meal versus a home-cooked meal made with care and love? Or a home-cooked meal made under feelings of stress, anger and resentment compared with a restaurant meal made by a chef passionate about real food and her work?

I am going to venture to say that there is a light bulb going off for some right now. Maybe you had never stopped to reflect on this.

So when we shop for our food, when we get in the kitchen, we have a lot of power, actually!

First, the act of showing up in the kitchen, of placing a priority on food, is an act of radical self-love. This comes from realizing that your meal is not just there to fill a hole in your stomach, but rather to nourish and support your body. When you bring your presence, care and love to preparing your food, you are not just making dinner, you are caring for your body and your life.

So….grow the love.

Grow the love inside you.

Our tips:

Choose food grown with love.

Make self-care (self-love!) a priority – one aspect of which is preparing healthy meals for yourself.

And when you are in the kitchen, treat this time as a scared time as much as possible. Feel the gratitude for your food. Your health or the path toward health you are on. For the people you will share the food with, whether yourself or a whole group. Really feeling the gratitude, the love, as you are preparing and eating a meal makes all the difference between food that merely pacifies a hungry stomach and food that helps us create a life full of meaning and well-being.

Love your food. Love yourself. Love your life.

 

Finding Gratitude in the Kitchen

Guest post by Debbie Woodbury, Founder and Editor WhereWeGoNow

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie

We’ve all been there … running around, a million things to do and dinner to make. It’s happened to me and I admit to throwing a meal on the table my share of times.  They weren’t the best meals I ever made, but they got the job done.

Or did they?

Sure, bellies were filled, but is that the only reason we eat?  Is putting a meal together just a job to cross off a list?

No and definitely not.  There’s a big difference between “throwing a meal on the table” and preparing it with love. And where does that love come from, especially when we’re overworked? It comes from gratitude.

When we approach cooking and eating with gratitude, everything changes no matter how much time we have in the kitchen.

Gratitude for our families, food, kitchen and the roof over our head brings us into a state of mindful awareness. It slows us down after a busy day and brings us back to center, literally and figuratively.  As we chop, mix, stir, braise, sauté and create a meal in our kitchens, gratitude brings home the only reason we are there – for the love of our families.

As gratitude slows us down, it gives us time to think. We take the time to plan healthy meals, rather than reaching for the same old stuff. We sit and read cookbooks encouraging us to serve foods we’ve never tried before. We learn to simplify and yet, somehow, we expand.

Every day, we have the chance to make meals which inspire healing, wellness and live out loud joy! As we enter the holiday season, let’s focus on bringing gratitude to the table.

Survival > Existence,

 

PS: Don’t miss The WhereWeGoNow Gratitude Gems Series starting November 1st. Sign up today and, as a member, you will get an email each day of November with an inspirational gratitude quote and a note from me. Make gratitude and a little time for yourself a priority this holiday season – sign up to be a member of The WhereWeGoNow Gratitude Gems Series now!

ABOUT: Debbie Woodbury is a volunteer with the Cancer Hope Network, a patient educator with The Connection’s Pathways Women’s Cancer Teaching Project and a member of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center Oncology Community Advisory Board at Overlook Medical Center, Summit, NJ. She is the founder and editor of WhereWeGoNow, an interactive online community for survivors creating inspired healing, wellness and live out loud joy. Join her today at WhereWeGoNow and sign up for the WhereWeGoNow Newsletters and your FREE copy of the “WhereWeGoNow Manifesto – 20 Intentions for Your Inspired Survivorship” and the WhereWeGoNow Gifts & Losses List Workbook. You can also find Debbie on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

 

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