Attitude of Gratitude

Christina Galioto

Happy Thanksgiving everyone 🙂

I hope you had a lovely holiday, I am sitting here in my house in Los Angeles looking forward to the leftovers from our amazing meal. I was so busy cooking yesterday and it was worth it in the end. We had Maple-Glazed Salmon, Caramelized Onion Butternut Squash Roast with Chestnuts, Homemade Cranberry Sauce, Cornbread Stuffing, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes for desert. Like woah, who has cupcakes on Thanksgiving?!? We do, and all vegan except for the salmon. If any of that sounds good to you I posted pictures and recipes under the recipe section of this page and on my Facebook page. Homemade vegan cranberry sauce is SO easy to make by the way. I use agar agar flakes, a sea vegetable you can find in health food markets. Much better than consuming gelatin, which is made from a protein of animal by-products like skin, tendons, ligaments and bones. Yuck. If you don’t want that in your diet avoid marshmallows, some jams and things like jell-o. The clean way is simple, mix 1.5 cups of apple cider with 2 tbsp agar agar flakes, let sit for 10 mins, bring to a boil then add 12 oz. fresh cranberries and 3/4 cup of sugar then squish.

Best cranberry sauce I’ve ever had.

This time of year is more than just food, it’s a time to acknowledge and be grateful for what we have, not just on the beautiful day of thanks, but everyday. So many of us, I know I’m guilty of this, spend a lot of the year focusing on what we don’t have and what we want to have. I get stuck in the ‘what I think I should have, what I need to do in order to get it’ mentality which is a direct effect of ambition, but it’s important to bring our attention back to the gifts we have already been given. One of my favorite quotes:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”                                   — Albert Einstein

From the sunset in the evening to the sound of kitties purring, there are simple moments of joy that can be ignored or celebrated.  Once you stop and see the beautiful happenings all around, you realize that your current trials really aren’t that bad. This mindset can motivate you to get-with-it and move onto something brighter. We can then reorganize our energy, appreciate simple daily miracles and elevate to a place of peaceful happiness. Ironically, when you appreciate what you have you get more of what you want. Regardless of what is going on in your life or where you are in the pursuit of your dreams, you have that opportunity to redirect and choose to focus on what you do have, and choose to focus on what is good. This time of year where the attitude of gratitude is all around, it might be a good time to start a gratitude practice. This is something that should be integrated into our everyday, not as a random thought, but a way of life.

Something as simple as keeping a jar by the door with small sheets of paper or a tiny notebook.  When you walk in, jot something nice down that happened to you that day. Whether it was a moment in time, cool autumn breeze and fallen leaves too pretty to step on. Or something that happened, get together with your friends where you had an impromptu dance party and laughed till you cried.  As you continue this practice you’ll collect memories of your good experiences. A really nice way to bring in the New Year is to read what you wrote throughout the year.  It will transport you back to times and places you thought were forever forgotten.  It’s easy to overlook the small things while making room for the big picture, but what a shame to forget what made you smile and love life 9 months ago.  Write it down.

Another way to become aware of what you’re truly thankful for is to say aloud or write a list every morning when you wake up.  Once you run out of the obvious answers, move onto interesting things that would otherwise go unnoticed. Be grateful when your slippers are where you need them, be grateful for waking up with the freedom and ability to make that list, be grateful for such a powerful mind interested in this practice in the first place.  Making this into a regular conversation with your boyfriend or girlfriend or roommate is a sneaky way to get him or her to start living a more positive lifestyle too.