Jen Hatmaker's book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess, has an interesting concept: seven months to tackle seven areas of excess (clothes, spending, waste, food, possessions, media, stress). The whole idea is to fast in these areas, thereby removing clutter and thus making room for God to fill you with meaning, purpose, and grace. It's a perfect idea for Lent, and some of us are reading the book and participating on a smaller scale by tackling each category for seven days.
Week One is food. In the book, the author made a list of seven foods and only ate those seven foods for a month, but the whole idea is to make this your own. So, for example, instead of only eating seven foods you could: eat the same breakfast, lunch and dinner for seven days, give up eating out for seven days, or fast entirely from one meal a day for seven days.
In order to make this experience meaningful, I knew I would have to do it with a spirit of intention; in other words, I couldn't make this about losing weight. I had to really think how I wanted to approach this category.
The first thing I decided to do was fast from my morning cappuccino for seven days.
Crazy, I know, but I recognized that the time I used to make my oh! so perfect cappuccino could be used another way. There is a ritual involved with firing up the espresso machine (turning on the machine, priming the steam, filling the basket, frothing the milk, wiping the wand, priming again, brewing the espresso) and honestly, it can take a good 10 minutes from beginning to end. So I thought, it's a small thing to be sure, but instead of making a cappuccino I could use those ten minutes to start off my day in a spiritual and mindful manner. A prayer, a Bible passage, a meditation. A lot can happen in ten minutes.
Now, about the food. For me, I decided to keep this simple and select seven foods and eat items from that list for seven days. Maybe by whittling down my options, by eating with intention (as opposed to just eating just to be eating), by not snacking, and by eating simply I can fast from excess ... less eating, less ingredients, less spending, less of everything that has to do with food. My list is as follows:
chicken Greek yogurt
sweet potatoes whole wheat bread spinach/lettuce
apples carrots & hummus
Only those seven foods for seven days. I stocked my refrigerator and pantry, and I was off to a good start.
That is, until the evening of Day Two when I made a conscious decision to deviate. (I know, I know ... already?)
Here's the thing. Friday night our son came home from college for his spring break and I prepared a lovely meal of fish (Friday during Lent), cannellini beans and tomato salad, freshly baked bread, rice, and a homemade apple tart with caramel sauce for dessert. For me, it was much, much more important to have a family meal, sitting out on our back deck at twilight, talking and exchanging news. I didn't want to eat something different, I didn't want to have to offer explanations, I didn't want the attention on me. There's a danger in becoming so focused on the letter of the law that you lose sight of the spirit of the fast, and I knew our homecoming meal was a gift for our entire family; that the meal together was an opportunity to set aside my fast and to allow for graces and blessings to flow from another direction.
Other than that, though, I've stuck to those seven foods. And it hasn't been very difficult except ... well, except maybe next time I'll include a cappuccino in that list of seven.
|my poor, silent espresso machine ...|