With the relaxed times of summer a distant memory now it seems most of us are operating at a pace that is, often, uncomfortably brisk and takes great energy to maintain. The busyness of autumn can be overwhelming, the list of to-do’s long and seemingly never ending and we often sacrifice what nourishes us for the completion of a ‘necessary’ task.
One part of the regular routine that often gets shelved during busy times is sitting down to a proper family meal. The hurried pace of the busy family can mean different schedules, comings and goings at various times and inevitably standing at the counter at 9 pm eating a bowl of cold cereal after a whirl wind day.
The impact of omitting the family meal affects all levels of wellness. Not only do our physical bodies need nourishment and sustenance to thrive, our emotional and spiritual bodies do as well. Sitting down to a family meal, connecting with those we love over a warm meal, not only provides the necessary nutrition to stay well; it provides the needed regroup back to the clan.
“Sitting down to a meal together draws a line around us,” says Miriam Weinstein, author of The Surprising Power of Family Meals “It encloses us and strengthens the bonds that connect us with other members of our self-defined clan, shutting out the rest of the world.”
While it might seem difficult, even at times impossible, to be consistent and create a family mealtime the benefits are long reaching and sustainable, building strong vitality in all areas of wellness.
5 BENEFITS TO HAVING FAMILY MEAL TIME
When a family implements a regular mealtime this often becomes the one time every day where the entire family is together, in one room, exchanging ideas, information and stories about their day. Gadgets, handheld devices, cellphones are set aside during this time where people engage with each other, making eye contact, over a lovingly prepared meal.
The energy of Gratitude cannot be underestimated. No matter one’s faith, sharing gratitude for what is on the dinner table creates uplifting and positive energy, influencing the harmony in the household. Implementing a practice of stating what each family member is grateful for, before the meal commences, is a wonderful way to hear what your family members are thinking and feeling. Plus, gratitude has a way of spilling over into all parts of one’s life, enriching it and making each moment special and unique.
Coming home after a busy day of being out and about, working hard and being with people, stopping to have a family meal offers a time of ‘pause’. It’s a time to slow down, sit down (often for the first time all day!) and just be.
Sitting down to a meal, around the dinner table, opens the door to building a relationship with your food. Instead of sitting in front of the computer or TV, you engage with your food and take time to taste it, enjoy it, even getting to know how you feel when you are eating it.
“This magical, marvellous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain’t normal.” – Joel Salatin
Meal planning and preparation takes time, time we might feel we don’t have to spend. When a family implements regular mealtime it requires all members to be part of the process, from the planning, to the preparation, to the clean up. While this might seem daunting at first, family meal prep creates a wonderful opportunity to engage your family members, especially your children, in kitchen skill building tasks that will really serve them in the long run. Being able to cook a meal from scratch is a skill that is invaluable in our world today.
Want to learn more useful kitchen tools for the resilient household? Join Colleen and Shauna Fidler for the upcoming Homesteading 101 workshop: The Culture of Broth, bones, broth soup and meat; its history, nutrients, and preservation techniques on November 7th, Saturday from 10 AM – 4 PM. Call 250 226 7744 for more details.
Colleen Emery, Master Herbalist and owner of Emery Herbals Dispensary, Healing Suites and Teaching Centre in Winlaw, is passionate about offering access to information that enables individuals and families to be self-sufficient and take charge of their personal wellness.