June 26, 2014
Today, an apple made me cry.
Here’s how I arrived at this moment in which I was moved by an apple.
Last week, my friend Janet and I challenged each other to follow our respective eating plans perfectly – no fudging or cheating. We are both committed to having lives that include nutritious eating and well being. Over coffee last Friday, we were chatting about eating and noticing how neither of us seem to be able to go for more than a day or two before we chose the cake or candy instead of the fruit or salad. I said, “This is crazy. When you look at it, what is the challenge in promising to follow an eating plan perfectly for just 1 week? It’s not like some amazing feat or breakthrough.” Yet, based on our past experience, it seems it is indeed a challenge. So there and then at 12 noon on Friday, we challenged each other to follow our eating plans perfectly. She’s inspired by the paleo diet. I’m inspired by Dr Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live approach to eating.
This is not ultimately about the diet or about losing x number of pounds by the end of the week. It’s about honouring and respecting ourselves and following through with a promise to ourselves because we made it to ourselves. When I make a promise to myself and I don’t keep it or avoid acknowledging that I have not kept it, I diminish myself. I chip away at my view of myself as an amazing being with my own special set of gifts, abilities and things to contribute. Bit by bit, I lessen and lessen myself. These little promises to ourselves that we break are all over the place. If you look at your life, do you see some? If you look honestly, I bet you will find some. I think this breaking of promises to ourselves is human. To be human, is to do so. It’s not personal. It’s part of being a human being.
The rules we created are simple. Follow the principals of your eating plan exactly as it is designed. No bending of rules. Do it perfectly.
We created a secret Facebook group where we could check in and share thoughts and feelings that come up as we play our game.
We have both noticed how powerful desire is. We both came up against the muffin in the coffee shop beckoning and pleading to the automatic feelings and urges that get triggered when we see it. The difference this time, is that my whole focus is on my promise to myself and honouring what’s fundamentally important for my well being and my future. I could have made a number of promises – my finances, my living environment, my physical fitness, or contributing to people in my life. The point is to fulfill on the promise because you said so.
This has actually been a miracle for me. There have been wonderful surprises and rewards. The first reward was that I knew I was going to meet the challenge and fulfill on my promise by the end of day three. I got for myself that I can do this. Doubt ran away. As urges and desires came forth, it was easy to say “no”. The second surprise is that my passion for cooking has been reignited. I used to cook a great deal and I loved it. When I moved away from my family and then converted my dining area into a workspace, cooking disappeared from my life. Not completely, but what little I did became this rushed activity that was getting in the way of other important activities. Over the week, I’ve had to cook for myself to ensure I am following the plan perfectly and I’ve had so much fun discovering wonderful new recipes. The third reward has been noticing a shift in how food tastes. I’ve been following Fuhrman’s principals loosely for some time, but immersing myself in it completely has created a shift. There’s very little salt in his eating plan and I am now finally beginning to not miss it. In fact, I am noticing the salt that already exists in food naturally. With the complete removal of salt, processed sugar, processed flours and processed oils, what remains is the natural flavours. I am becoming much more attuned to the flavours. When you removed the addictive mask of salt and processed sugar you start noticing the subtle and much more varied flavours underneath.
Back to the apple. Today, I was sitting outside eating a delicious salad for lunch. I finished the meal with an apple. As I ate the apple, I became intensely aware and appreciative of the miracle of the apple: the juices and flavours exploding in my mouth and the wonder that such a thing as an apple even exists for me to eat. I became deeply connected with the apple. Yes, that is what happened and I was moved. I became aware of all the beauty and wonder that surrounds me all the time everyday. It is always there. Often, I am just too busy “thinking” about things that have happened or might happen to appreciate the gold I already have at hand.
During your next meal, take some time to intensely and intentionally be present to the food you are eating. Stop talking, stop watching TV, stop reading your facebook timeline, stop checking your text messages. Simply be with the miracle you are putting in your mouth. You won’t regret it and you’ll likely get present to the wonder and gift of being alive.