Author Melodie Beattie explains to us, "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. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." Cultivating an inner appreciation for the joy that is already present in our lives shifts our focus from what is wrong with our lives to what is right. If we take the time, no matter how troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for. The more we seek gratitude, the more joy we can experience in our lives.

If you are reading this article, chances are you have less than peaceful coexistence with food. Perhaps you have a love-hate relationship with food, wish that food didn't exist, or have some other distorted relationship with food. Whatever your individual eating or weight challenge, food may no longer represent enjoyment, satisfaction, and nourishment. One small step in changing your relationship to food is to offer heartfelt blessings, prayers, or simple moments of quiet contemplation for the food that you do eat. Gratitude acknowledges not only the life-giving mystery inherent in food, but also reminds us of our innate connection to the earth and animals, people who made the food you eat possible, and the Spirit present in all things.

Spirit and Physicality
When I was little, I used to say a prayer with my family before each meal. But back then, the prayer didn't have much meaning. It seemed like another meaningless rule we had to obediently follow to appease family and a seemingly overbearing, angry god. As I grew up and began the long journey to reconnect with who I really am, I realized the importance of my relationship with not only my spirit, but also with my physicality. I now experience the spirit in all things physical.

Blessings before and during eating are again a part of my day. Only this time, things are different. Instead of saying a tired, worn out prayer, I now take a breath before eating. I open my senses to the meal spread before me. The awesomeness of life washes through me. Each dish, whether plant or animal, represents life that is sharing itself with me. I take a moment and offer my love to the food that is about to become a part of my flesh and blood and life.

Animals and plants are a few of my passions. At times, I have considered why it is that to live we must consume other life. There is no answer that satisfies my dilemma. The only answer that provides any meaning is appreciation of the life that is shared with me. Gratitude opens up my heart to a greater sense of purpose and connection. My own life is being supported. I recognize that I am a part of this earth, and my life has meaning. Who I am is important. The way I can honor the life that is being shared with me, is to become a fully alive, vital, exited, passionate, loving human woman. This means choosing to share my true Self, my love, with this earth. It means to choose to live in my body, and laugh, dance, love, and feel my emotions - including the pain. As I observe the food before me, I realize I belong to the cycle of existence.

Food and Your Opportunities to Feel Alive and Peaceful
Opportunities to bless food can be found endlessly in everyday life. Whether you begin the day with a cup of coffee or cereal; eat a frozen dinner warmed by a microwave oven at work; snack on a bagel or apple; eat a light fare of steamed vegetables for dinner, or find yourself after a binge . . . each time you are around food you have the opportunity to appreciate it and to appreciate your own life. Inhale deeply and exhale. Summon a feeling of sincere regard for your food, your body, your life, and say a short blessing that fits your unique personality.

Listed below are some blessings from many different cultures and from around the world. Let yourself be inspired!

Zen Blessing From Thich Nhat Hanh
In this plate of food, I see the entire universe supporting my existence.

A Jewish Blessing Over Bread
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, Creator of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Sanskrit Blessing
The food is brahma (creative energy). Its essence is vishnu (preservative energy). The eater is shiva (destructive energy). No sickness due to food can come to one who eats with this knowledge.

Christian Blessing
In a few moments of silence let each of us be mindful of all we have for which to give thanks: friends, food, hopes, health and happy memories (a moment of silence observed). So in giving thanks we are blessed, Amen.

Mother Teresa Of Calcutta

Make us worthy, Lord,
To serve our fellow men throughout the world
Who live and die in poverty or hunger.
Give them through our hands this day
their daily bread
And by our understanding love
Give peace and joy.

Sai Prayer
Oh Lord Hari, You are the food, You are the enjoyer of the food, You are the giver of food. Therefore, I offer all that I consume at Thy Lotus Feet.

Sung To Frere Jacques
We are thankful, we are thankful
For our food, for our food.
And our many blessings,
And our many blessings
Thank you Lord, Thank you Lord.

Irish Blessing
May you always have ...
Walls for the winds
A roof for the rain
Tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
Those you love near you
And all your heart might desire.

Ashanti, West African Tribe
Earth, when I am about to die I lean upon you.
Earth, while I am alive I depend upon you.

O God, I am as one hungry for rice, parched as one thirsty for tea. Fill so my empty heart. Amen.

Wiccan Food Blessing
As a Wiccan, be conscious of where your food comes from. Visualize the source of the food: The gods, the farmers tending the crops and animals, the Earth in which it grows, the Sun's rays warming the soil and turning the leaves green; the Wind carrying pollen and bees for pollination; the Rain. Do not forgot anyone who might have had any part in bringing your food to your table: the truck drivers, clerks, etc.

A sample food blessing follows:

We are grateful for the seeds that grew the plants,
For the cows that gave the milk, for the chickens, that laid the eggs,
For the lives of the animals whose bodies will nourish ours,
For those who planted and tended,
For the Wind, the Sun, the Rain, and the Earth that nourished them,
For those who harvested, milked, gathered and slaughtered,
For those who carried, prepared and delivered,
Thank you all who provided our food today. Blessed Be.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Annette Colby, RD can help you take the pain out of life, turn difficult emotions into joy, release stress, end emotional eating, and move beyond depression into an extraordinary life! Annette is the author of Your Highest Potential and has the unique ability to show you how to spark an amazing relationship with your life! Visit to access hundreds of content filled articles and sign up for a Free subscription to Loving Miracles! newsletter.

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