I’ve mentioned that I read Jen Hatmaker’s new book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” after reading some of her blog posts and identifying with her shock and frustration about how materialistic and self-indulgent we are in our everyday lives. Reading this book in the new year was a great way to get motivated to do some reflecting and, ultimately, to purge some excess “stuff” from my life to make room for what’s really important.
Every month has a different focus, and the first month is all about food. There are just so many issues around food in this country: obesity, processed foods, pesticides, waste…I could go on and on, and I probably will at some point. But for the sake of brevity here and going along with the theme of “7,” these are the foods that I gave up this month. I chose seven specific items, but they can be condensed into five categories here:
1. Chocolate. I’ve never considered myself a chocoholic, but it’s amazing how many things I have to avoid now that I gave it up, even certain coffee flavors. Boo!
2. Cheese. Another tough one. Which is why I chose it, of course. By the time I was in college, I already had high cholesterol and the doctor’s first question was whether I ate a lot of cheese. Guilty! I’m missing out on a lot of my favorite dishes this month…pizza, grilled cheese, mac & cheese, lasagna (favorite.dish.ever.)…but I’ll survive and although I haven’t weighed myself, I think I’m slimming down a tiny bit.
3. Cow. Why not all red meat? Well, I don’t eat a lot to begin with, but when I do, I like to have healthy options and I like bison. So I allowed it, along with poultry, fish, beans, etc. (I also used my son’s picky eating habits as an excuse for this one. He prefers bison burgers to other kinds, and it helps me break him out of the chicken nugget/fishstick/grilled cheese rut.)
4. Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream. Regular ice cream, except for gelato, doesn’t agree with me anyway, but I was eating too much frozen yogurt lately. Too often I would buy it because the grocery store’s sale price was really good. Not the best reason!
5. French Fries/Chips/Cookies. This is sort of a catch-all category. The fries and chips were an obvious choice. I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like. It’s nearly impossible for me to resist restaurant fries, and barbecue potato chips? To die for. As far as cookies, I don’t really buy them. But there seemed to be a lot around our house lately, so I just decided to see if I could resist eating them.
Eating lunch at the mall food court last weekend was tough. No sandwich with cheese, no fries, no pizza, no burger, no dessert. I ended up with California rolls from the Japanese place. I like them, but I was hungry again an hour later.
Overall, the experiment has been worth it. It makes me think about everything that I eat, and it prevents me from mindlessly grabbing candy or a cookie just because it’s there. Hopefully I’ll continue to eat smarter after the month is over.