Woke up with a headache, probably from fasting most of yesterday. I did have a small bowl of oatmeal with banana when I got home from our Ash Wednesday service last night. What they say is true — food tastes so much better when you’re hungry!
This morning I made a big pot of black beans and filled the rice cooker with brown rice. Breakfast was a bowl with a 1/2 cup each of the rice and beans, some Greek yogurt on top and a little hot sauce. I have a bunch of plain Green yogurt in the fridge and don’t want it to go to waste; fortunately I read that sour cream is often a daily condiment in Guatemala…not for the poorest of the poor, but I’m probably not going to eat like the poorest of the poor…so Greek yogurt is a good substitute. I think the food part of this journey is not so much about limiting amounts (though that will be a factor) but much more about about removing choice. Billions of people around the globe have very little choice. “What do I want to eat today?” is not a viable question. How often I’ll think, “What am in the mood for?” as I go to the fridge or to the store. (Or out to eat…but that’s a whole other topic.) I doubt that “mood” is a factor when it comes to food for most of the world’s population. So part of my solidarity with the poor during this season is to limit choice, and cultivate gratitude for whatever I set on the table.
Here’s the list I’ve come up with:
Brown rice (White is more traditional, but I’m making a concession here for health reasons.)
Avocados (no more than 1/4 per day)
Chicken (thigh or leg…one piece per day, if that)
Plain Greek yogurt (until I run out)
Corn tortillas (made from masa and water)
Hot water with lemon
Cold water with lime
(I have some veggies in the fridge I need to eat up, but I probably won’t purchase more.)
Compared to the way I normally eat, that’s a very short list. For the over 3 billion people who live on less than $2.50 a day, it’s an extravagant list; remember, the $2.50 isn’t their food budget, it’s their entire income! This is just the beginning of the first full day of the journey and already I feel shaken to my core…
O Lord, please help me change my idea of what abundance looks like. Forgive my selfishness, gluttony, overindulgence, and for taking for granted the abundance of choices of foods that are always available to me. Forgive me for ignoring the issue of poverty around the globe and here in the U.S. Give me eyes to see what is right in my own backyard and show me how to make lasting changes in my life. Help me be grateful for each and every bite of food on this journey.