Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Bowl of Rice

A few years ago, our family drastically switched from eating the Standard American Diet to one of mostly whole, unprocessed foods. We still eat a lot of food and we still spend a lot of money for it. Our total food bill didn't increase because we used to go out to eat very frequently. We don't go nearly as often now but we buy a lot of food and it is high quality.

I've been concerned about waste for a while. When we started losing lots of weight, I eschewed the "clean your plate" philosophy. It's a wise move for someone recovering from obesity. Sure, some food might go to waste but I frequently stated the excess was going to waste on my body or outside of it. I knew my body didn't need so much excess. But that was just the beginning of my journey.

Last year my father saw someone speak about how the French use 8 inch plates and Americans use 10 inch plates. He changed his mindset and lost significant weight. For a few months, I've been using smaller plates as much as possible.

John, for any number of possible reasons, is obsessed with food. I learned a few years ago, I could give him lots of snacks before dinner but it was never enough to fill him up and he would complain how little was available at dinner. I found if I took the same amount of food and put it all together on a plate, his eyes widened at the prospect of all that bounty.

When I switched to smaller plates, no one complained, not even John. In fact, everyone seemed more satisfied after meals. It was like they were happy their plates were so full. Sometimes, I even serve food on saucers for lunch. Still, no one seems to notice. Sometimes, like today, the kids gasp with joy because they think they are getting so much food. Complaints about being hungry before dinner have remained the same.

But then...

A few weeks ago, a friend posted a message on Facebook from The Simple Way about 50 Ways to Become the Answer to our Prayers. Number one and number forty-three impacted me. The first one suggested fasting and remembering the two billion people who live on less than a dollar a day. The latter mentioned eating only a bowl of rice per day for a period of time and remembering those who are starving.

I realized It wasn't a good idea to fast and nurse at the same time, so I opted to fast seconds at meals. I reasoned that there was no possible way to eat a full plate of food, even a small one, and still be actually hungry. Now, I finish most meals without a full feeling.

I find myself thinking how I'd really like to have just a little bit more of such and such. Then I say, sometimes out loud, that what I just had was way better than one bowl of rice all day. Then, I find I've really had enough. My stomache doesn't ache and I feel quite nice, actually.

I've started to talk more about the hungry with the children. I've been conscious of how much food I put on our plates and not just try to fill them up. Our meal time prayers include prayers for those who don't have as much to eat.

My plan is to see how much we are saving by eating less food and find ways to feed the hungry with the difference. I've found my appetite has seriously diminished and that I slow down and savor my food more.

Theo and I had a date the other night. At dinner, at a Mexican restaurant, Theo chose to forego his combination fajitas and chose from the pic two combo that came with rice and beans because his appetite has been affected too. I almost chose the pick two but realized the rice had butter (Cote's food allergies govern many of my food choices). I decided to order a la carte. I ordered one tamale and an order of refried beans. It was actually too much food! And our bill was $13 when it would have normally cost around $25 - $30.

Today, for lunch, I made quesadillas with shredded cheese and leftover grilled steak. I sliced steak that John didn't want the other night (it was about four ounces) in the food processor and mixed with some cheese. I've been able to use the mixture to make quesadillas for two separate meals for both kids. My 8 oz steak will end up feeding me about four different meals.

I served a total of three small quesadillas, one apple with peanut butter, a large handful of spinach, a few cherry tomatoes, one carrot and some salad dressing for lunch today. I fed myself and my three kids with that amount of food.

Before you think I'm cheating anyone, go back and look at the picture. No one went hungry. We had plenty. There was no waste on the plates or on our bodies. No one complained. Instead of "rounding up for the hungry" at the grocery checkout, I'm going to continue rounding down at my meals. It's better for both of us.

What are your thoughts on ways we could all help those less fortunate than ourselves?


Mary said...

What an awesome post. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Okay, that was great. Thank you so much for sharing. I often use a small plate, same as the kids. Andrew was a little "huh?" tonight when his dinner was served on the same. And then he made the 'mistake' of asking me to pray. Got the hungry children of the world COVERED, yes maam, I did.
Carissa :)