By Monika Bock
Everything we eat becomes our body. Let me repeat that – everything we eat becomes our body. Our bodies are magical machines that transform food that has been harvested into nutrients that our cells/blood/ muscles are made of. All of these cells put together in different combinations then allow us to breathe, speak and think. Too deep?
When you think about gratitude many people often think of October or November (which in North America are the dates of Thanksgiving) but gratitude can and really should happen every day. Every day we are busy, sometimes too busy; too busy to eat sitting down at a table, (taking a shake to go, standing over the sink, eating on the couch, watching your kids eat (so they get something in their bellies). Slowing down and taking time to think about gratitude more when it comes to food and meals could really benefit not only your health but also how your food is absorbed by your body.
Life happens, I get that: your little one didn’t sleep at all, someone always has a cold, you have visitors from out of town, the mountain of laundry needs to be done, you need to get out the door to work, you are still the number one caregiver of your tiny humans. All of these things are relevant and can keep you from stopping and giving gratitude to the food that is in your kitchen, on your table (and hopefully in your belly at regular intervals). Food fuels us, it gives us the energy to do all of the things we want to do. And sometimes that’s all that we need food to be – fuel.
Here’s where your choices come into play. You can fuel a tired body with a cup of coffee but your adrenal glands won’t love you for it, you may end up reaching for a sugary snack again when the rush of caffeine wears off, and if it’s late afternoon, you may not be able to get to sleep at night. Instead, reach for a piece of fruit. An apple can do wonders when your blood sugar is low (not to mention being filled with vitamins and minerals) and having gratitude for that apple that allows us to get from A→ B or that one extra hour at work is important.
If you don’t have the “time” to make dinner or to sit down and eat breakfast then it may be time to take a look at how your time is allotted throughout the day and week. Getting up 10 minutes earlier so you can sit and have breakfast before you dash out the door is one way. Making a list/menu plan of what you might cook over the next days so that you are prepared and ready is another.
…food reveals itself
for what it is: no mere
thing but a web of relationships
among a great many living beings.
What’s your favorite food? Why is it your favorite? Is it the taste? The smell of it being prepared? Memories surrounding the food with people that you love? The next time you have the chance to prepare it for yourself and others, share with them why it’s your favorite: what is it about its taste, texture, smell that makes it wonderful? Have your kids share about their favorite food. You may be surprised (or not) by their answer. Soon after, suggest to prepare it with them. Set aside some time to make it together and see what happens.
Mealtimes can be stressful but including the tiny humans in the process allows them a window into what it takes for you/your partner to get the food on the table. It fosters conversations with them about the process, building a curiosity around healthy food and preparation time kids sometimes don’t realize how much work actually goes into the meals you prepare for them on a daily basis). Turning a salad spinner is an easy job for a mini, while washing and peeling carrots is another.
In today’s age of insta-information you can find just about any recipe on the internet. My tip always stick the work healthy into kid snacks or kid dinners. You can even find healthy french fry recipes that are oven baked (or try even substitute sweet potatoes or make a mix of both). Perhaps, while you’re at it, try some homemade ketchup which not only is fresh but contains much less sugar and no preservatives and you can feel good about serving it as you know what’s inside. It can be a big ask to get all the ingredients together to prepare something from scratch, but as soon as you do it once it will be easier the next time.
Another way to bring gratitude to the table is by having a conversation about the day everyone has had. Finding the favorites – the top three to everyone’s day and the why behind it. You may be surprised what you hear and the conversations that ensue.
Taking your family to one of the Munich farmer’s markets that are all over the city is a fun way to introduce them to new foods and expose your kids to where food in your refrigerator comes from (and more often than not they will get taste tests of some fresh food items/samples from the Farmers). If you want to take your kids to a farm to harvest vegetables and meet animals (milk cows, chickens, etc.) take a minute to explore some Farms around Munich and get in on the action.
Taking the time to think about the food that gives you energy and literally builds your bones is an easy way to bring more gratitude in your life for that start of 2018.
Monika Bock is a holistic nutritionist based in Munich, she is the owner of Nourish-Alō Holistic Nutrition and whose motto is Nourish/Thrive/Sustain. Monika works with a diverse clientele with various health concerns and goals making changes that are both positive and sustainable over time.
Start off 2018 on the right foot and join her for a clean eating workshop on January 18th. Her favorite foods to prepare throughout winter season are soups and stews because the options are endless, the flavor profiles can be so different, and they can be easily prepared and ready to eat. Acknowledging that EveryBODY is different and people have individual needs, she addresses these needs through a whole food nutrition program and lifestyle change approach.