How Will My Life Change After 7-Food Challenge?

So I have 2 more days left of 7-food challenge!  To recap, I have allowed myself 7 items of food to eat for the whole month of June… and I’ve allowed cooking condiments and few sauces.  I cheated 3 times:

1.  I was invited to my cousin’s house for a meal, and it was early in the month.  They didn’t know that I was doing 7 foods, so they made me my favorite meal–sashimi rice bowl and crab.  I couldn’t turn down such hospitality, and I hadn’t given them the heads up because I though we were going to go out to eat.  So ate yummy seafood!

2.  Staff Meeting Lunch was catered in.  It was one of our extended meetings… and although they knew about my 7 foods, they had forgotten what they were, and thought I could eat noodles… so Chinese noodles they were… It was going to be a long meeting day, and I was feeling starved… and knew I wouldn’t have access to food for several hours… so I gave in, and ate my portion.

3.  I went up to our church’s singles retreat for one day to connect with them.  None of the food that was served at the retreat site included any of my 7 foods… They even served spinach and coleslaw rather than regular lettuce.  I skipped breakfast in hopes that I could eat something for lunch… But once the menu became known, I gave in and ate a little at lunch and dinner.

Now that I’m at the end of the month and reflecting on my experience, below are some of my thoughts and decisions:

  • I spend a lot of money and time on food.  My monthly food budget is about $450-500.  I go out to eat fairly often especially since I use meal times to connect with people.  But when I go out to eat, I like to eat well…  This probably won’t stop… but there are ways to cut down.  For instance, I usually order a drink instead of water.  I don’t have to deprive myself of tea, coffee, or soda all the time… but I don’t have to order them every time.  So I will cut down and be mindful of what I order in restaurants.
  • I also spend a lot of money on groceries because I have to try everything new I see.  Once again, I don’t believe in going cold-turkey with anything, but I need to be more mindful of what I purchase, especially since a lot of it also goes to waste.  I would like to cut down my food budget… My new goal is $300-350/month.  Wish me luck!
  • If I ate out 2 times less, I could support another Compassion Child!  In the past month, several flier regarding sponsoring older kids through Compassion International caught my attention.  Statistics is that older kids (10+ years old) tend to be overlooked by new sponsors.  I think that’s the nudging of the Holy Spirit.  So I will eat out less, and put that budget towards supporting an older Compassion Child.
  • I waste so much produce because I can never finish a whole bunch of cilantro, green onions, etc… I already grow few herbs… but I’m gonna try growing more things on my balcony so I don’t waste so much!
  • I always see homeless people as I exit the freeway.  In the past, I used to carry McDonald’s gift certificates to give to them… but I decided more effective thing might be to carry granola bars and water in my car to give to those who need food on the street.  This is something that’s easy to do… and as I’ve been blessed with so much, especially in terms of food, I would like to bless others in small ways that I can.

So have I learned a lot in the last 28 days!  Food is something I never lack!  A simple dinner easily contains 15 ingredients!  There are many people who would just love a little portion of what I eat every day!  I’m challenged to be more mindful of how blessed I am… and learn to bless others!

I’m currently thinking of 300 kids that came to daily feeding scheme at a community center in a township in South Africa!  They start lining up 30 minutes prior to the door opens because this meal is often the only meal they have per day.  As you look at these sweet faces, and how could you not share what we’ve been richly blessed with others?

Chicken… Really???

What was I thinking?  I don’t know… maybe I wasn’t… I admit it… I get crazy ideas every now and then, and then I just go for it!  Once when I was in 5th grade, I decided around 10:30 pm that my room arrangement was all wrong.  On a school night, I decided to move all the furniture around in my room all by myself!  I was up ’til about 4:30 am… and my grandmother walked into a brand new room the next morning at 5:30 am.  Yup, she thought I was nuts!

I admit it… I’m scared to limit my food intake to seven items for the next month.  And those who know me probably would have thought I would pick crab, sushi, beef jerky, coffee, diet coke, noodles, and smarties!  Yup, I could probably do really well on these 7 things for 4 weeks!  But obviously, this journey isn’t about indulging in things i love.  It’s not about sacrificing everything I have either.  If you look at my list, I still have the potential to eat fairly well, and be full every meal. I’m just simplifying my life (which is what I’ve actually been trying to do for the past year–just never thought to do it this way).  As Jen Hatmaker says in the book, “7 will be an exercise in simplicity with one goal: to create space for God’s kingdom to break through.”  It’s a personal challenge, and seeing what God will do during my next 7 months of this journey.

I admit it…  this morning, my first thought was–why did i choose chicken???  I don’t even like chicken that much?  Why didn’t I choose spinach over lettuce so I could have it raw or sautéed?  You can’t sauté lettuce???  What was I thinking?  I retraced my steps of logical reasoning in choosing these items last night.  When I first started thinking about my seven food choices, I thought about Feed My Starving Children, an organization that I had volunteered with on few occasions.  They package food for those near death of starvation… and their food package includes powder form of chicken and soy, dehydrated veggies, and rice.  I knew that’s what I needed to get my balanced nutrients… so I decided to put down chicken, rice, and tofu.  And to be honest, of all meat choices, chicken really is my least favorite–but it’s probably the most consumed meat in third world countries (that’s my guess, I have no proof-so don’t quote me on that!) so that also helped me feel comfortable choosing chicken.  And the next three items, lettuce, zucchini, and avocado are just because I recently went to the market and bought a bunch of these items… and I didn’t want them to go to waste since I have to start this journey in a day!  So I really didn’t think that through all that much… but I realized that I probably needed fruit of some kind… and grapes are the easiest to wash and go… so grapes!

I admit it… I thought about changing the items today… before I start tomorrow!  But as I sat with my list… I decided that commitment is a commitment!  So as I indulge in my homemade pasta with grape tomatoes, mozzarella, & basil right now,  I’m excited for what God will teach me during this time… and while this might feel a bit devastating for someone who really loves the taste of different foods on my palate, let’s put things into perspective–i’m not starving myself… and few would kill to just have seven items to eat!