Monday, November 17, 2014

Seven: Month One Recap

The first month of SEVEN is officially over! Woo-hoo! In case you missed what it’s all about, Seven is an experiment against the mutiny of excess, an attempt to simplify life in order to amplify God. Each month my dear friend Beth and I are cutting out an area of life where we tend to get caught up in the excess. You can read here for more on how it all started, and what the first month consisted of.

Technically month one ended last week, so we’re a little overdue for a recap. Here are a couple thoughts.

It was HARD. Eating a diet of eggs, chicken, black beans, spinach, brown rice, grapes, and wheat tortillas, with no sauce or seasonings or spices, is not easy. Or fun. I’m just gonna throw my apology out here to anyone who had to deal with my extreme levels of sorry!! Plain and simple, there was just nothing fun about this part of the experiment.

Did I mention my EXTREME caffeine addiction being cut off cold turkey day one? Permanent headache to start the month, so that’s awesome. Dear Diet Coke, how I missed you.

I felt like I was at the grocery story every other day preparing for the next. Meetings, meals out, and parties were the worst. I went to a worship conference, a  birthday party, and a staff retreat in this was SUPER fun going to Panera and ordering a BOWL of chicken, then shoveling it onto the tortilla I pulled out my PURSE. Not annoying at all. 

Tortillas actually became the main method of getting food from my plate to my mouth. I didn’t use much silverware this month as just about every food was wrapped in a tortilla. Breakfast? Chicken and egg breakfast burrito. Lunch? Chicken, beans, and rice wrapped up in a tortilla (and easier to get down if pressed on the George Foreman). Dinner? Most likely the same as lunch, but maybe minus an ingredient. And GRAPES. Thank the Lord Above for grapes. I ate about ten pounds of them this month (yes, I counted, because I'm a nerd). When nothing sounded good...grapes. Oh, and then there was the time I made nachos...baked tortilla chips in the oven and piled on the beans, rice, spinach, and chicken. NOT THE SAME WITHOUT CHEESE, PEOPLE.

But speaking of life without cheese...I felt GOOD. Sure I was crabby a bit, and often lacking energy (because I didn’t always eat enough), but overall I could just feel the better health of my body. I was eating for sustenance, and nothing else. All of that clean eating made for some...interesting body functions...but it was clear that the fuel I was giving myself was different, better, and my body used every bit of it. And I lost ten pounds. Beth, Samuel, and I ran a 5k towards the end of the month...there was something empowering about finishing in a great time (for me, at least) when I wasn’t sure if I had fed my body enough energy to run.

I think my biggest takeaway from this month was a greater appreciation for food...the flavors and the people who make it. Especially good food. I had forgotten how much I actually love to be in the kitchen! Seven forced me to plan my meals ahead and spend time preparing them. There is love that goes into food! My favorite meal was one night towards the end of Seven. I was so over this whole thing, a semi-emotional wreck, and I decided I just wasn’t going to eat, but then my dear brother David made me THE MOST AMAZING OMELET. Sure, it was seven-approved with just eggs, chicken, and beans, but there was something so delicious in someone else preparing for me just what I needed when I needed it, especially when I didn’t have the will to do it myself (and when he had been the biggest pain in my butt for the duration of the month).

I learned that avoiding excess doesn’t mean I have to be a minimalist. There is a middle ground between too much and not enough! Eating seven foods with no extra flavor is neither desirable nor appropriate for my lifestyle and in the place I live. But that doesn’t mean when I go out for a burrito I need to get the cheese AND the sour cream AND the guac! A month of eating the minimum taught me to appreciate whatever that next step is just above minimum, the one a few levels before ridiculous excess. A happy medium.

So now the month is over. I eat dairy and drink caffeine again. But seriously, I don’t get the sour cream and cheese! The pico, corn, guac, lettuce (aka fresh, healthy stuff) is enough for me! I’m fine with steamed veggies over french fries. I get the tall chai tea latte instead of the venti. One Diet Coke at lunch instead of four refills. And I find myself not missing the extras at all.

This is just month one. Six more follow. Six more areas where Beth and I are reducing and rethinking and revamping life. It’s so good. We’re a week and a half into our Clothing month now...and I love it. More to come on that later :)

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