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Breaking Bread Together on the World Day for Cultural Diversity

May 21st is The Bridging Principles’ favourite day of the year: the United Nation’s World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development! According to the UN, “cultural diversity is… an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development”, and we couldn’t agree more. We have witnessed firsthand the progress and mutual success that can occur when people from all walks of life choose to listen, learn, and collaborate.

As a fun way to honour this day, a few of our Master Facilitators offered to showcase their favourite breakfast with our blog readers. Now I am sure you are asking, “What does breakfast have to do with diversity and dialogue?”

There are three key reasons:

1) What is considered “breakfast” is most definitely culturally diverse around the world. Just like other aspects of culture, what we consider as “normal” food for breakfast is often unconscious and not thought much about… until you find yourself in another country and you are being offered a food item you can’t identify, but they see as completely normal!

2) Everybody eats. This basic truth reminds us that no matter how different we may think we are from someone else, we have more common ground than we think. As humans, our cultural practices are our answers to life’s basic questions of survival – how do we eat, relate to others, find shelter, and live a good life? Remembering these fundamental commonalities can go a long way towards building bridges with each other.

3) “Breaking bread” together is a common place for dialogue. Business deals, new friendships, and blossoming romances are often formed over conversations during a meal.

So in honour of this special day, let’s celebrate the beauty of diversity in this world by breaking virtual bread together! Below you will find stories of what breakfast means to a few members of The Bridging Principles team, inspired by three questions:

Why this breakfast is culturally important to you?
What intention does this meal serve for you?
What is sacred about it to you and/or your host family?

 

Breakfast in the Netherlands, Helga Meurs
European Co-Director & Master Facilitator

“Eating breakfast is not my way at all. I found out that this is culturally a normal thing to do, as in my childhood. So I never liked eating breakfast and I think I never will. I like to eat something when I feel like it. That’s what my body says.

When I’m coming downstairs in the morning my habit is to take a cup black coffee together with [my husband] Rob to start the day. We love coffee. And you see that our cups are very small in comparison to the American size.

To eat a boiled egg in the morning is in our Sacred Place very normal. We have 7 chickens in our Host Family that live very free in our garden and they give us this treasure every day. An egg means to me good nutrition for my body as a Sacred Place. Also, our dog Meghann gets a boiled egg for herself, she is for is a part of our family. In the Netherlands a lot of people eat eggs in very many ways and in Europe I know that all the countries have chickens and eggs to eat. The way our chickens live is very biological and they all have their own personalities.

What for me is the most important is the Ningxia Red juice and the essential oils in the morning. They are from Young Living and I take these to keep my body healthy.

A cracker with butter and cheese, I eat most of the time a little later in the morning. Cheese is in the Netherlands a famous product in our culture and I like to eat it.

You will also see honey in this picture. We have 6 hives with the Intention to have bees for helping the environment. It is a lot of work to keep them in a safe place and healthy. But we also receive some honey of them.

 

American Breakfast in Austria, Dory Estrada
Certified Facilitator

Yoghurt with blueberries and granola is my simple, yet beloved breakfast I eat when I feel like I need to start the day right. This is particularly the case when my intention is to go to the gym later and I don’t want a heavy feeling sitting in my stomach. The blend of Greek yoghurt, sweet berries, and crunchy granola not only looks beautiful in the bowl, but is such a delightful meal that I incorporate into the Sacred Place of my morning ritual. I eat this meal post-morning stretches and before I hop on my computer to begin work for the day, and I make a pause to just, sit, eat, and enjoy the slow calm of the morning.

 

Breakfast in the Netherlands, Barend Gerretsen
European Co-Director & Master Facilitator

At breakfast I sit down, or we sit down when the children are at home and eat our breakfast as a family. There is bread from the bakery, fresh if possible of otherwise fresh from the fridge, accompanied with herbal tea. Sometimes also a bowl of muesli or oats (with milk of yoghurt). If it is a school-day, the children prepare some slices of bread to take with them to school. At Sunday, we also have a boiled egg.

A special remark, which is culturally specific for my Swiss background, is that we take jam with a spoon, no knife in the glass of jam (marmalade)! In the Netherlands, it is usual that you take the marmalade of jam, with a knife take the jam out of the glass.

 

A Canadian in the United States, Leah Taylor Best
Chief Executive Officer and Lead Master Facilitator

With the exception of Saturdays, I start every morning with a healthy smoothie made of frozen berries, spinach, flax seed, oats, chia seeds, almond milk, and a banana. I eat this breakfast almost every day because it helps me reach my intention to put healthful, plant-based foods in my body to start the day.

This is a big change from how I grew up eating culturally. As a child I loved to eat toast with cheez whiz on it, or have bacon and eggs on the weekend. As I have aged, my priorities and values have changed, and my eating choices have changed as a result.  Choosing to only eat plants is a way of honoring the Sacred Place of my own body. This lifestyle choice helps give me sustained energy throughout the day to achieve all of the other intentions I have in what I hope to be a long and healthy life. In my Host Family, my spouse plays the facilitator role in making breakfast most days. She is better at making smoothies than I am and takes less time to get ready in the morning. I am usually rushing around while she is making our breakfast.  I am grateful for her support in making sure I walk out the door every day with a delicious and energizing meal. Last but not least, I love my morning smoothies because I can take them and drink them anywhere I am. I can be driving to a meeting or answering emails and nourishment is always just a sip away.

For more culturally diverse examples of breakfasts around the world, check out this blog at Thrillist.

Last but not least, we’d love to know, what do you eat for breakfast? How is it culturally significant to you, and what intentions does your breakfast choice help you to achieve? Leave a comment below!

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