Well, it’s official. We survived month one of our Simple and Free challenge and I think it is safe to say that every single one of us are happy to have made it over the threshold.
This challenge was WAY more than any of us bargained for. For those of you just tuning in, we ate 7 foods for 4 weeks. It is the first of 7 challenges that we will do over the course of 7 months to explore excess in our life. This month was about eliminating all excess food choices and simplifying our daily consumption to only 7 individual foods.Eating only 7 foods made life very simple indeed. Grocery shopping was simple. Cooking was simple. Eating was purely for sustenance.
So, what did I discover over the course of this journey? I am truly blessed beyond measure to have an abundance of food choices at my fingertips. If I want something and don’t have it, I can drive a few short minutes and get it. If I simply crave something sweet, I can make it because I have all of the ingredients in my pantry. I have so much and that became quite apparent over these last 4 weeks. I complained about my 7 food choices, I cheated and I almost quit because it was hard and I didn’t enjoy it. I even rationalized that I had gotten what I needed from the challenge at two weeks. Then I sat back and realized how ridiculous that was. I have made rice packages that were sent to third world countries and I know that there are people that get this ONE rice packet each day. Babies and small children who just eat one rice bowl per day. They don’t get 7 ingredients or a little piece of cake after their meal because it sounds good. The idea that I would quit this challenge because I am so accustomed to my daily food choices that I couldn’t handle 4 weeks is embarrassing frankly. However, I think wanting to quit was part of the challenge for me. If I had just sailed through this process I am not sure it would have had the same impact on me. Like most things, I have to be brought to my knees before I get it.
Practically speaking, the beginning of the month was a little more difficult with my birthday and Easter. I cheated. I didn’t even pretend that I was going to follow the program during those days. I felt no guilt. I enjoyed all the food and drink that I wanted and then got back to it. As time went on, I added a few more seasonings and took some liberties, but overall I stuck to the plan. I even had a reaction to my Covid vaccine and I stuck to the plan with the exception of some Sprite. I will say, I desperately wanted crackers or toast, but I had quinoa, sweet potatoes and eggs instead. It wasn’t pleasant, but this whole experiment wasn’t meant to be pleasant. It was meant to make me think, reflect and appreciate.
I also want to give a big shoutout to my hubby who has without complaint eaten chicken, salad and sweet potatoes nightly. Even when I jokingly would ask him what he wanted for dinner, he replied with, “what are my choices?” I always answered with, chicken, sweet potatoes and salad and he ALWAYS replied, “that sounds great.”
He did get to eat what he wanted for breakfast and lunch so I guess he took pity on me for dinner, but it did not go unnoticed I assure you. He also has grown accustomed to drinking his wine alone. I am not sure he will want to share moving forward.
While all of this sounds nice and like I have evolved into a better human these last 4 weeks, let’s be clear: I am so happy to be done with this portion of the challenge. I cannot wait to eat whatever I want and while the cravings for certain foods has ebbed and flowed, I now want everything. I want pizza, chocolate and also healthy things like almond yogurt fruit and granola. I really miss an assortment of fruit.
I also have discovered that I not only love to cook and bake, it’s part of who I am and what I do. Cooking delicious meals takes up part of my day and I miss it. Baking is and has always been cathartic and not having this outlet has been difficult. I am looking forward to baking something yummy today!
So, what will I carry with me? I’d like to believe I will think before I reach for something; pause and be grateful. I want to continue to be conscious of what I have before me and how truly fortunate I am. I also don’t have a house full of kids anymore and I don’t need to be prepared for a party at any minute. I don’t need a pantry full of excess snacks and as an added bonus my hips will thank me for the lack of choices.
Thanks for the experiment, Jen. I won’t soon forget my month of deprivation and if I don’t see a quinoa bowl for a few months, it will still be too soon. We will be taking a short break and then we will begin the next portion of the challenge. Stay tuned.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G