Two days ago, I ended my Beachbody Ultimate Reset… 21 days of supplements, clean eating, and both physical and emotional detox. It was a wonderful and trying experience. I have become even more mindful of what I eat and how I treat myself and my body. It also gave me an acute sense of gratitude for my food. I realized this on a whole new level when I looked in my freezer at the stack of plastic containers that hold my mother’s incredible Indian cooking – delectable dishes I could enjoy after she left last month.
I considered for a moment how my mother would probably not have thought about the origins of the meat and vegetables she bought for this food. I guessed that she would not have known to look for antibiotic-free, free-range chicken or organic vegetables or BPA-free canned tomatoes. And I wondered how my newly reclaimed body would react to those potentially harmful ingredients.
It was at this moment that my acute sense of gratitude revealed itself. I have tried to be grateful for the animals and vegetation that I consume, so that I can intentionally cook and eat from a place of love. It’s easier to do that when I know I am at least choosing farm-raised and organic products – perhaps I can feel better knowing that what I’m consuming does not suffer terribly prior to landing on my plate. I can be thankful for the food on a general level and for the specific animal that gave its life.
It’s a bit harder to feel good about being grateful when I think about slaughter houses and grain-fed animals and generally unsanitary conditions. And it’s entirely possible that my mother’s grocery choices come from these very conditions.
Does this mean that I throw out her gift to me? Because that’s what it is, after all – a gift of all my favorite foods to show her love for me. Of course I don’t throw it out. I extend my gratitude in a different way.
I honor the food for the loving gift that it is. I become aware of any increased harm that the animals may have suffered to create this gift. I seek forgiveness for this harm and offer gratitude once more for what will nourish my heart, if not my body.
I suppose any of this could be thought of as rationalizing – a thought process that allows me to make eating animals or, more specifically, eating tortured animals okay. I can’t say I’m a pro at this new way of looking at food. My boyfriend has taught me a lot about healthier living, and I’m trying to understand it on a more personal level. I’ve started using more natural and organic beauty products. I have eliminated most fast food (with the exception of the better places, like Jason’s Deli). I try to limit processed foods. My cat Rani even eats all-natural pet food! I’m doing what I can to be more mindful and connected to what goes in or on my body. I feel better and seem more excited about the products I use, because I know I’m doing something good! I feel more aligned to my values, which leads to less internal friction, which inevitably means I’m a happier girl. I can’t argue with that!