Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This is Not a Bowl of Cherries

As a young adult I never had a weight problem. I could order a full meal of steak, baked potato, and a couple of cocktails and still want a piece of pie when the dessert trolley rolled up. Part of the reason was that I was young. I was also much more active - weekends at the park, the golf course, or the beach. Weeknights after work there were games of volleyball, softball, or a jog around the neighborhood. At 100 pounds, I could kill off a pitcher of beer and a medium pizza all by myself after a night of volleyball.

After my kids came along, I walked around the neighborhood with dog and stroller or took the little guys sledding in winter, swimming in summer, and playing at the park year-round. We knew all the best playgrounds in the county!

When I became a single mother, buying and preparing nutritious food that would both fit into my budget and that my kids would eat was a nightmare. I can still recall stocking the pantry with sale items only to have one or the other boy announce he was "off" that particular food. Cooking every night from scratch after a long day at work was out of the question, but convenience food meant overloading on ingredients that none of us should eat.

"Eating clean" is the term I learned from the book "The Writing Diet" by Julia Cameron, author of "The Artist's Way". She uses it to describe eating in such a way that one eats mindfully, eliminating those substances such as sugar and fat that weigh us down physically.

When I think of clean eating, for me it means taking charge of food, neither vilifying nor glorifying it, but appreciating its ability to provide nourishment, promote health, beautify my life, and sustain energy. It also means paring down my food just as I would a painting: in the composition of a painting, I consider line, shape, color, form. If something doesn't add to the overall quality of the painting, it needs to be eliminated in the interest of the whole.

In diet, what is truly beautiful can be conserved. The nutritional essence of whole vegetables, fruits, sustainably farmed poultry and meat, whole grain products, and dairy. Consider cherries, for instance. They are in season now, and pretty affordable. They are so stunning that I am reminded of Luke 12 wherein Jesus said:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your
life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. [23]For life
is more than food, and the body more than clothing. [24]Consider the ravens:
they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God
feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!"

Just think how true this is-this gorgeous food is so plentiful it grows on trees! Right out there in the open where anyone can see it, the birds can eat their fill, and there is more than enough for me! We don't have to labor in cherry mines, we don't have to fish in the deep blue sea for it. It just grows, right there, on TREES.

When I took this picture, I thought for a moment that these were so amazing, how could I bear to consume them? And then I realized: How could I not?

Food this beautiful comes as a gift, whether we've purchased it with money or it's fallen over the neighbor's fence free into our back yard. And at only 30 little calories for a serving like this, I can say yes over and over and over again.


Judy said...

You struck a nerve from my past...I too was a single mom, struggling to feed 4 kids and myself on a small paycheck. Dinner was toast and scrambled eggs many nights after work or McDonalds. My eating habits suffered. Thank you for putting it all in perspective and taking away the guilt feelings. You are God's gift to me!

Quicksilver Spirit said...

Thanks, Judy-I was on the run a lot during those years. One winter during the Utah years I just let down my guard and pneumonia set in. That was when we just had scrambled eggs for Christmas dinner. Huge wake-up call for me!