I’m that interesting character at the restaurant, hands hovering over my food as I silently mouth a couple words and sport a slight Buddha-smirk before eating.
No, I’m not a Jesus freak or a “broccoli whisperer,” and I’m not crazy (well, maybe a little bit). As you’ll soon (re)discover, there’s a method to this madness.
Expressing gratitude, praying, saying grace and all forms of blessing food before a meal are among the most universal and ancient behaviors of humankind.
Almost every religion has some tradition of blessing food. And many religious people do it at every meal. But I’ve never come across WHY blessing food is important. (Like with most religious practices, people just do it without asking questions.)
There is, of course, a core of truth to these traditions. However, you can obtain all of the benefits of saying grace without all of the dogma attached to religious rules and regulations.
In today’s society, we tend to discredit and undervalue the unseen. If we can’t physically see changes, they must not be happening, right? Yet when we get out of our egoic minds and become more in tune with the unseen, we realize just how profound something as simple as expressing gratitude can be.
The Benefits of Blessing Food
1. Blessing food brings about a state of presence and mindfulness.
Showing gratitude over a meal forces you to stop and be present. From this state of undistracted presence, you will eat mindfully and enjoy the food more. It turns every meal into a holy communion.
If you eat mindfully, you become more in tune with the food and your body. You’ll know if what you’re eating is beneficial for you. And you’ll be unmistakably aware of the signals your body is sending you to stop eating (making it hard to mindlessly overeat).
Mindful eating also will break compulsive eating and food addictions if done consistently at every meal.
2. Blessing food heightens your senses.
Pausing with gratitude, communing with your food and being in a state of mindfulness will engage and heighten all of your senses.
Here’s an excerpt from Natural News…
Thus, whether seeing, smelling, inhaling, or, most strongly, touching the food, changes to the person that occur during blessing of natural food include:
Salivation increases, as full attention is place on the natural food’s unique, distinct aromas More digestive enzymes are secreted The circulatory system routes blood to the digestive tract’s organs Hormones benefiting metabolism are released Breathing patterns shift from one best suited for working to one best suited for eating. Abdominal muscle contraction changes from a tightness that supports hard work into a different, more relaxed state, which relieves pressure around the digestive tract The brain becomes in a receptive mood ready to enjoy, experience sweet gratitude, and eagerly pay attention to the stomach’s stretching sensors, to trigger the neurotransmitters which engage peristalsis The eye becomes aware of both the food’s beauty, which enhances digestion, as well as alert to any danger signs in the food’s appearance The senses of smell and taste, when focused and entrained on the food about to be eaten, becomes enhanced, increasing enjoyment and sharpening the ability to notice anything “off” or spoiled in the food. And finally, firing patterns of the enteric nervous system (the neurons lining the gut like a sheath) shift to better control the digestion and absorption of food. Technically known as the enteric nervous system, the second brain (as described by the Chair of Anatomy at Columbia University Medical Center) consists of “sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut, or alimentary canal, which measures about nine meters end to end from the esophagus to the anus.” There are 100 million neurons in the enteric nervous system, more than in the spinal cord, and more than in all the peripheral nervous system.
3. Blessing food relaxes your digestive system.
Holding gratitude and blessing food will switch your nervous system out of sympathetic mode (fight or flight) and into parasympathetic mode (rest and digest). As a result, you will digest the food and assimilate the nutrients much more effectively than if you’re holding stress.
This concept is common sense. For example: try to eat while driving in traffic, with cars beeping all around and see how well you digest.
4. Blessing food infuses the food with positive energy.
This may seem a little woo-woo, but bear with me here. Food, like everything else, absorbs energy from its environment. If food is being prepared in a hectic kitchen and the chef is stressed out, the food absorbs that. If the beef your eating is from a tortured cow, it’s going to carry that energy. It’s vitally important to instill food with positive energy before eating it. And this can be done through something as simple as holding the intention of gratitude before eating.
Dr. Emoto’s water experiments beautifully demonstrate how words and music affect the molecular structure of water. All life on Planet Earth is water-based and therefore, affected by words, intentions, music and any other vibrations in the environment.
5. Blessing food leverages the Placebo Effect.
If you believe that the food carries good energy, it will. If you believe that the food will make you happy and healthy, it will.
The placebo effect, though overlooked by modern science, is a profoundly powerful phenomenon. It’s a testament to the power of the mind. Whatever you believe, in the depths of your heart, determines the result you’ll get.
If a placebo knee surgery is just as effective as real knee surgery, think about what it can do to the food on your plate.
Gratitude also opens the door to abundance. When you’re grateful for what you do have, you attract more.
Feel gratitude, and feel every aspect of your life change for the better.
A Simple Food Blessing (Do This at Every Meal)
1. Pause for a second and center yourself.
2. Express and feel gratitude for the food in front of you.
3. Thank everyone involved in the process of getting the food to you.
It might look something like this: “Thank you to the Earth for growing this and all of the people that handled it. May it assimilate into my body with health, happiness and vitality.”
4. Send energy to the food through your hands.
Feel the tingle as energy flows from your hands into the food.
5. Feel gratitude in your heart.
6. Eat mindfully and enjoy the food.
Commune with your food. Eating is both pleasurable and necessary. Be grateful for having food on your table, enjoy every bite and reap the benefits.
– Stevie P!