The Thanksgiving holiday in the US originated with an epic three-day feast between the Wampanoag Indians and colonists who arrived in the New World after a long voyage from Plymouth, England. Animals were likely on the menu, but the modern Thanksgiving spread demonstrates how far we’ve drifted from the original intention of the holiday: giving gratitude.
When’s the last time you’ve given gratitude for your last meal? Thanksgiving—or what we at vKind like to call Thanksliving—is a great opportunity to not only practice gratitude for what we eat or who’s around us, but also integrate gratitude practices into our lifestyle.
Preparing for Thanksliving events
Your actions can make a huge difference, no matter how you celebrate. If you’re planning a meal or making a dish to bring to a potluck, consider a vegan roast instead of a turkey, and use mushroom or miso gravy on your mashed potatoes. We may crave traditional dishes we grew up with, but if we can be more mindful of the impact our dining choices have, there’d be a lot more animals giving gratitude for their lives. Today, it’s so easy to search for meat or dairy-free versions of classic dishes.
Make a shopping list for what you’ll need in advance. If you can’t get everything at your local grocery store, plan to visit a vegan grocer or an online retailer where you can source your ingredients and decorations.
On Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, think about whether you really need to go out and buy something. If you choose to shop on these days, consider a local or vegan business that could use your support.
Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to donate to or explore the work that non-profit or charitable organizations are doing to promote the VegEconomyTM, like animal sanctuaries.
Whether you shop around Thanksgiving or choose to save your dollars, know that your buying decisions can always contribute to the VegEconomyTM.
Create a Thanksliving Gratitude Practice
Creating your own gratitude practice is something you can do before the holiday and year-round to practice Thanksliving. It’s also good for your physical, emotional, and mental health, improves your sleep, and increases your social connections, empathy, and self-esteem.
Here are some ideas to get started on a practice:
- Using a pen and journal or your electronic device of choice, start writing: “I am grateful for…” If you can’t think of anything, wait until the words come, or write: “I am grateful I am writing my gratitude list”. Keep writing and resting until you know you’re finished.
- When you look at your list (or if you want to skip the writing part), feel grateful. This is such an important part! Feel the gratitude in your heart and in every cell of your body. Move according to how you feel: You might touch your heart, embrace yourself, raise your head, stand, lift your arms, dance, or sing.
- As you move through your day, think or whisper to yourself: “I am grateful.” It might be for your meal, an experience, or a conversation you had with someone.
- Share your gratitude. If you wrote the name of a loved one on your list, you can share that with them to brighten their day.
- Finally, commit to your practice, whether at the same time daily, weekly, or monthly.
You can also learn more mindfulness practices by searching for wellness professionals on vKind, or using our app.