In this article, I’m going to share with you one of my all-time favourite gratitude exercises called ‘The Can of White Heinz Beans’.

Now this may seem a little bit odd at first, but that doesn’t stop me from performing the following exercise once a week.

On to the gratitude exercise…

For this exercise you’re going to need:

a can of white beans
a can opener
a spoon

You buy a can of white beans – or any other beans for that matter – and you eat it for dinner without eating anything else that night. Just the beans.

I always go with Heinz’ white beans (see picture) in what they call ‘tomato sauce’, because they are super tasty. I’ve actually grown quite fond of them. There’s no warming them up or pooring the beans into a nice cup. That’s considered cheating and it beats the purpose of the exercise. You simply grab a spoon, open up the can, imagine you’re sitting around the campfire at the foot of the Sierra Madra and dig in.

What is the purpose of the exercise?

The purpose of this gratitude exercise is to realize and appreciate how well off you are. Appreciation. Personally, it makes me realize that every day, I am able to eat all sorts of foods, flown or shipped in from all over the world for me to eat. It is quite extraordinary if you think about it, but we in the Western World (and beyond) have started taking this for granted.

During this exercise, what I noticed is that I automatically started to compare the beans that I’m eating with my regular meals. This allows me to take a moment and appreciate the foods I devour on a daily basis without even noticing how they got in my mouth, what it took for them to get there or even what they taste like.
The benefits I experienced

Performing this gratitude exercide once a week:

1. makes me a more mindful eater
2. makes me appreciate what I have in life, or at least, what I eat
3. makes me realize that we don’t need so much in order to satisfy our basic human needs. Now I’m a big fan of pairing wines with the foods I cook or even the other way around, but all that is extreme luxury. And we musn’t forget it.
4. allows me to actually enjoy the ritual and experience positive emotions while I’m eating my beans that tend to last throughout the whole evening. It’s funny, but it somehow always feels like I did good – like it matters.

The most powerful thing about this gratitude exercise is it’s simplicity. Performing this exercise is actually easier than its alternative, which means cooking up a whole meal (and ending up with the dishes).

What about your spouse and kids?

In case you are living with someone or if you have kids, you’re going to have more of a challenge in performing this exercise. You can either explain the exercise to them and invite them to join you if they wish (it’s important that they decide to do so themselves), or do the exercise on one of those evenings that you don’t get to eat together with your family or spouse. I happen to have at least one of these evenings per week, and that’s my Heinz beans night 😉

Will you commit to trying out this exercise?

At least try it once. That’s all I’m asking. Please let me know if you’re in by leaving a comment![/fusion_text]

Source: Gratitude Exercise: The Can of White Heinz Beans