Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks to people who have made life better for you and the world. Gratitude is powerful. Here are my choices; you will have good ones of your own.
I am grateful for my loving family. I am grateful for Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old who has brought powerful awareness of the dangers of climate change to youth and adults throughout the world. I am grateful to Boyan Slat, an inventor from the Netherlands, for the Ocean Cleanup. The group is developing technologies to extract plastic from the ocean and prevent more plastic from being added to rivers. I am grateful for Amory Lovins and The Rocky Mountain Institute for their work on battery technology and indoor cooling, which will be important worldwide.
Here are some suggestions for a peaceful Thanksgiving gathering. If there is potential discord among people, ignore politics! Talk about sports, or about cooking, and how you made your favorite dish. Follow the Six Precepts of Tilopa, a Buddhist teacher who lived from 988 to 1069 A.D., and say very little, letting other members talk while you beam on them. His precepts are no thought, no reflection, no analysis, no cultivation, no intention, and “let it settle itself.”
When it comes to the Thanksgiving meal itself, give more gratitude for the food. If you want to make it healthy, don’t show up extremely hungry. Have some nuts or yogurt in the morning. Fill your plate with vegetables and salad first. If you are eating turkey, go easy on the amount you take. Be moderate with mashed and sweet potatoes. For dessert, try small servings of pumpkin or apple pie and even discard some of the crust. Notice when you are feeling satisfied and have had enough. Drink water or sparkling water throughout the meal. Don’t drink alcohol if you are pregnant or taking medications that can be affected by alcohol, or if you have cancer. Otherwise, limit yourself to one glass of wine or one serving of spirits. At the end of the meal, you will feel peaceful and glad not to be overstuffed. Deal with leftovers the next day in the same way. Always start with vegetables.
Sadja Greenwood, a longtime Bolinas resident now living in Portland, is a retired physician.