Gratitude for what we have: Lessons from Alone


My grandkids drive me crazy. For the youngest, my Bird, ketchup is the major food group. My middle one–my favorite grandson (yes, only grandson)–only chicken fingers will do. The eldest has a broader palate, thankfully.

When they come to visit, and I set something that is not ketchup or chicken fingers before them, they aren’t happy.

One thing I love about the contestants on Discovery’s TV series Alone is when they catch food, almost to a contestant, they thank the protein source (usually fish) for its life. They are grateful they had the opportunity to kill and process the protein they needed for survival.

Of course, for us, we need first to thank God. But we need to understand the cycle of life. Jeremy Keller, another survivalist, says about his animals, “We feed you until you feed us.” When he must butcher, it’s done with respect and gratitude.

We Americans lack gratitude for our food. We eat by mood, and most times, most of us overeat. I can respect vegans, though I’d never be one. In my opinion, they overvalue animal life. However, their stance on our food processing bears much truth.

What must we think about when we eat?

  1. Food, a necessity, is also a gift. Too many people have too little. We must be grateful for what we have.
  2. Appetite and hunger are not the same. If you open the fridge and find “nothing to eat,” you’re experiencing appetite. If leftover kidney stew looks good? Hungry.
  3. God gave us animals to eat. All foods are lawful, the New Testament says. It doesn’t mean the creatures are to be treated inhumanely. We need to change how we raise and slaughter our food.
  4. Gratitude is the best seasoning. I watch people on Alone eat fresh fish (and fresh fish is delicious–what we’re served up in grocery stores???). I marvel at how they relish the flesh with no salt, let alone butter and dill and lemon and all the other seasonings we use.
Borrowed Lives illustrates this point.

Three girls have been food-deprived for a long time. When Meredith Jaynes feeds them … tuna, raw green
beans, stale bread, whatever she has, delights them.


  1. Cleo Lampos says:

    I like the distinction between hunger and appetite. Our culture does not know this difference.’

  2. A wonderful and timely post in a country where we do not sufficiently appreciate what we have.

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