I’m admittedly a lover of convenience, and a waster of many things. I spend extra money for less healthy options to save myself the monotonous duties of meal prep, and when I do buy ingredients requiring more production time, I often end up throwing them away after they've gone bad.
I love paper towels, ready-made-rice, Amy’s frozen burritos, pre-cooked rotisserie chickens, and pre-packaged, peeled and cut fruits. Five minutes in the microwave steamable vegetables is my kind of cooking.
I do not enjoy cooking or time in the kitchen. There is a giant exciting world full of people, places and adventures that beckons me, and my countertops are the desolate deserts where I find too many afternoons are spent wandering and praying for a mirage.
I even despise shopping. I order my groceries online and have them delivered to me. No - scratch that, I neglect to bother with this, and so my husband generally orders our groceries online, and they are delivered to our door.
By some standards we eat healthy. Fruits, vegetables, lean means, whole grains, and yet the reality is that many of these foods have lost much of their nutritional value due to their packaging, and have unhealthy additives and preservatives.
I’m proud of the dietary improvements we’ve made over the past year, but I’ve always had a dream of improving my family's relationship and appreciation for food.
Last week, I had an incredible experience at a local farmstand. I’m no stranger to the farm stands - we’ve frequented for corn or fresh blueberries over the years - but this time I was truly in a state of gratefulness for the food before me. I felt an elevated respect for the owner, a deeper appreciation of the food, and a deep longing to prepare this nutrition for my family.
Food is our fuel, we know this, it’s the most essential and instinctual job we have, to nourish ourselves and our families and yet with the busyness of life it often becomes the chore we find the most elaborate ways to get out of.
I have made the most generic of excuses for not improving my relationship with food to benefit myself and my family. I say “We can’t afford organic.”; “We don’t have time to prepare complicated meals."; “Fresh food rots faster, and we can’t be going to the store every other day.”; “I don’t even know where to get local meat.”; “My kids won’t eat it." Whatever the excuse I’ve made, the bottom line is I’ve allowed myself to believe that we just don’t have the time or money to make positive changes to our diet.
So, last week my son brought his piggy bank to the farmstand and bought his own corn. He helped husk it and cook it. When he was done eating, there was still a little left on the cob and he said “Mom, I don’t want anymore but I don’t want to waste this because it was a lot of work, will you eat it?”
This was a wake up call to me and my own lack of appreciation and honor of the foods I’ve been eating because of the lack of effort, time, consideration or blessings that had been put into the process.
I bought a small bag of spinach from the farmstand yesterday and for some reason I imagined a little old lady picking and bagging it for me. As I prepared our eggs for breakfast I spotted the spinach and noted that it would be a shame for it to go bad when someone had put such time and effort into it, and I had paid more than usual for it. I cooked it up in my eggs and it was delicious and nutritious.
What is your relationship with your food? What is your intention when you eat it? We cannot separate our mind, body and spirit. They are intertwined in the most delicate and complex of ways, and the way we choose to nurture ourselves will be reflected in our daily lives.
I am taking steps to change my view of food. I won’t let myself repeat the same old excuses that have trapped me in this begrudging relationship I have with one of life’s most essential and incredible experiences. I choose to nourish myself and my family with appreciation, respect, and a grateful heart. I am changing my intention and, in effect, my actions.
For anyone who is like me, who struggles to be “domesticated” and believes they can’t afford or have the time for positive changes, ask yourself if there is room for any improvements. Consider modest changes, and respect your ability whether it be a small shift or a giant leap.
I have committed to making small and consistent changes to reach my new goals of eating local and organic foods. This week I was able to work out a deal to get farm fresh eggs every week. It’s a step in a positive direction. Trust me, if I can make these changes, Queen of Uncle Ben’s Instant Rice and Drive Thru Abuser, so can you!
We have a responsibility to ourselves, our families, our world, and that responsibility is calling us to stop supporting the “machine” that is killing our bodies and spirits, and take action to rise up and support the future we want for our children.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. -Lao Tzu