Can you believe it is that time of the year again? Thanksgiving and soon, celebrating a brand new year. Thanksgiving was a new thing to me when I came to the States about 20 years ago. My mom told me that people celebrate this date in the same fashion as we celebrate Christmas back in Peru: lots of food and the whole family together. It was a bit surprising to me though that people had to travel so the family could be together for a few days. It was more surprising to learn that this is the prime time for shopping and getting the best discount deals in pretty much anything. Whether you go shopping tomorrow for ‘Black Friday’ or even if you start today (it still blows my mind to see retail stores being open and promoting their business, and people falling for it), KEEP IN MIND the real meaning of thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful and appreciative of all the things, people and experiences in our lives. Maybe it is the time we need to pay attention to the little things that normally we take for granted. Or perhaps it could be the time we let others show their appreciation towards us. It is very easy to do so much for the people we love; yet we might not allow others to do the same for us. Whatever your reasons are this year, let’s remember to make some time and space to show gratitude to ONESELF. There is a phrase I’ve heard a few times that I believe it comes true all the time, that is “the more grateful you are and the more you give, the universe (or God) will give you more in return”.
One of the biggest things I am thankful for is my health and having the energy and vitality to continue doing all the things I set myself to do. Even if at times it feels like things are a bit tricky, what moves me forward is to trust and know that things will be ok. It is important to remember that even if we are struggling with our health, TRUST that our bodies have the ability to heal and recuperate. For me, this has been the mantra to keep in mind to remind me to be grateful for all the things that help me staying healthy. This includes the fresh and nutritious foods; the people at the farmers market; my support group at the cancer center; my awesome oncologist who genuinely cares and checks up on me and most importantly my mom for being such a supporter and dedicated care-giver.
We all know it is a bit difficult to keep up with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and the holidays definitely can add extra stress. Inevitably, with thanksgiving comes the feasting that soon could leave us feeling stuffed and maybe with a few extra pounds. Not the way we’d like start the New Year. A great way to counteract the pressure of the upcoming festivities is to focus on the things that bring us joy and makes us be thankful for.
The gateway to a state of gratitude is the practice of mindfulness.
In an effort to stay healthy, connected and have my gratitude switch set to auto-pilot, I include mindfulness practices throughout the day. One to keep in mind especially during the holidays is being mindful of the food we eat. Say a prayer or a blessing to the food you eat. This doesn’t mean you have to be religious, but honoring the food you are about to have is a great way to be conscious of your food choices, will set you to eat slowly and you will enjoy your food even more (bonus, you might actually eat less than the usual).
Being aware of the food in front of you can actually help you at making better choices for what is going on your plate. Often times, during big gatherings where everything revolves around food, people don’t pay so much attention to what they put in their mouth. Thinking that they have to eat anything that goes in front of them. This is specially tricky when being a guest to a house whose eating habits might be a little different from what one is accustomed at home. Remain calm and stay focused on what the meaning of thanksgiving is to you, and practice mindfulness with the food you eat, you’d be surprised to what else you can discover.
As a token of appreciation for your support, I put together a few of the dishes that speak fall to me. I’ve included a few easy and quick recipes that you could use anytime in your next holiday gathering. Sign up here to get the recipes!