Here in the United States it is typical for many individuals and families to live a hectic lifestyle. Eating meals on the go, eating out, or grabbing take out to eat at home seems to be the norm these days. It is certainly getting easier to find pre-made meals and quick dinner ideas when going to the local grocery store. Dinners in a box (just add your favorite meat) frozen entrees, chicken dinners from the deli, I could go on and on. Easy, convenient and fast are the main attributes associated with the food we eat today. It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of “fast food” was unheard of; people actually were more involved in the actual process of getting their food to the table. Do you actually know where your last meal came from? Meaning, what part of the world did your entire meal stem from? If you ate meat, do you have any clue where that piece of meat originated from? If so, I applaud you. The truth of the matter is, not too many people understand the complex processes involved in getting the average meal to the table. The term “food miles” is used to define the average number of miles food travels to get to your dinner table. Although this number can vary the accepted average is approximately 1500 miles. You might think that I am hinting at local sustainability and although I am a huge supporter, this isn’t the topic I would like to discuss in this post. What I want to examine is our spiritual connection, if any, we have with our food.
Whether you are a meat eater or a vegetarian, the food you eat was at one point a living organism. So the question becomes, do all living organisms have a soul, spirit, or some life force that embodies it? I believe the answer is, yes. And if the plants and animals we eat at some point were inhabited by this “spirit or energy” shouldn’t we at least feel some hint of reverence for the sacrifice that was made? Unfortunately, most of us probably don’t. I feel that many people all over the world have lost that since of connection with their food and the reason being is what I touched upon in the preceding paragraph. For the most part, we have no idea where our food comes from, let alone the processes involved in production to consumption. Consider an American favorite like the hamburger; the meat may have come from several different animals slaughtered in different parts of the world. Just think of how many different chickens are in the final product of a chicken nugget. I don’t even want to think about the number of animals involved and their origins when I think about deli meat. How many of you have ever been to a slaughter house or at least watched what happens in one on TV? Yes my friends, the apple has fallen far from the tree when it comes to the connection our ancestors had with their food and what we have today.
At some point in our past we went from being hunter/gatherers to a tribe of people whose mottos have become slogans like “Have it Your Way” and “Where’s The Beef?” However, all is not lost. In many cultures ceremonies still take place that give gratitude and pay homage to the animal that sacrificed its life to become food for another life. Also, in certain parts of the world celebrations still occur after a crop is successfully harvested. It is these ceremonies of thanks (for plant or animal) that give us the spiritual connection to the food we eat. The source of our food and the journey it takes to reach our plates is something we should all strive to fully understand. So before the next meal you eat please consider giving thanks for the life that was sacrificed for the continuation of your own life.