FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD, HOT SAUSAGE AND MUSTARD. Hot sausage and mustard does not sound that appetizing to me, but it is the only line I remember from the play “Oliver”. It is amazing how bits of songs stay in your head. My dad was famous for his one-liners from songs. It was always shocking when I actually heard the real song as he was completely singing to a different tune. But I’m really getting off topic. Actually, I wanted to title this Brooke’s books and tell you all about some of the books I have read and loved. But the problem is, I read books and pretty much forget what they are about shortly after. I recommended a book once to a friend, I told her it was really good and bits and pieces about it. When she finished the book she said, “That was so good! You didn’t tell me that she died in the end! I can’t believe you told me about the book without giving it away!” I responded, “Well, that’s because I didn’t remember that she died. Minor detail. But I’m glad I didn’t spoil it!” Anyway, I am reading this book called 7: an experimental mutiny against excess by Jen Hatmaker. So far, I love it. It is so easy to read, it’s funny and enlightening and convicting all at the same time. I am just going to give you a line from the back of the book because I don’t think I can sum up the book as concisely as this:
Jen once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but up on being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual journey was born. 7 is the true story of how Jen took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day disease of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.
Okay, so area one was food. Jen decided to eat only 7 foods for one whole month. That’s hard core. I am relating to what I have read so much however, because for the past week and a half I have been detoxing. We walked to Yogurtland last night and I didn’t have any! That is a huge feat. I can have no wheat, dairy, bananas, oranges, strawberries, oats, red meat, and so on. The list is very long of my “no” foods and quite the opposite of what I can have. But it is more than 7 things. And mind you, I know that it is not forever. I have enjoyed the discipline. I have spent hours in the kitchen preparing yummy “acceptable” meals and have not deprived myself for the most part. Except when I walked to Yogurtland. Yet somehow less truly is more. In the book there is a statistic that 4 of the top 10 causes of death have to do with our industrialized diet. We have the ease of opening the cupboards and having numerous options to choose from and can pop food in our mouths whether or stomachs tell us we are hungry or not. And so after 5 days of eating the same foods Jen wept, as did I when I read her entry. She prepared her usual chicken breast and made fish fillets for her 3 kids (she was in the process of adopting 2 more kids from Ethiopia). While they were eating she ran upstairs and when she came back down the kids were all in the living room.
“Did you finish eating already?”
“Did you eat everything?”
In the trash were 5 of the 6 fillets uneaten and the kids explained, “We didn’t have any ketchup!”
And tonight my kids here with me in the land of plenty threw away a pound of food because they didn’t have any ketchup. I wept for all my children tonight, my Ethiopian children orphaned by disease or hunger or poverty who will go to bed with no mother tonight and my biological children who will battle American complacency and overindulgence for the rest of their lives. I don’t know who I feel worse for.
Convicting. I know I told you that she is funny and really she is. She writes about her faithfulness to coffee and that absence will make the heart grow fonder. I am reading this and I don’t need to what she did. I don’t need to limit myself to 7 foods for a month. I think the action causes an awareness. And while these 10 days haven’t been limited to 7 foods there has developed an awareness in me that I don’t want to ignore. I am aware of the absent-minded trips I take to the refrigerator. I am aware of the times that I pop something in my mouth at a birthday party whether I am hungry or not. I am aware of eating something I don’t really like just because it’s there. And on a positive side, I am aware of the goodness and variety of fruits and vegetables that we have so readily available. I am aware off the fact that I have only one body to live my life with and I want to take care of it. I want to eat food because it nourishes my body while continuing to fight the battle of complacency and overindulgence. It is the foundation of our family, part of our family mission statement and while it isn’t always easy to teach these lessons to our children, we can begin by living it. And maybe most importantly, I am aware that comparing yourself to the person who has more than you does nothing for you, because while there are thousands of people around me who have the means to eat, buy and consume without concern there are billions of people who would look at me and recognize that I am blessed.