Technically, the BMI calculators I just used tell me that I’m obese. My ever-increasing waistline is a clear example of my excess in the area of food. And watching my fat-pants get even tighter is a constant reminder that I’ve got to do something, because going up another pant size is just a testimony to my gluttony.
Especially with so many people in the world going to bed hungry tonight, I really struggle with the idea that I seem to be getting more than my share… and then still end up throwing the excess in the trash.
Hunger isn’t just a third-world problem either. There are people everywhere who don’t have enough to eat. I could give you some pretty incredible statistics, but it only takes a second or two on Google to see how big the hunger problem is today.
This month’s challenge is to cut the excess in the area of food. I couldn’t be more excited to step into this one, but I’m also more freaked out about this than just about anything else I’ve done in a while. I know that this is going to be difficult, like really difficult. But I also know that it’ll be an experience that has the potential to change things, like really change things.
In the book (7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess), Jen Hatmaker did 7 foods for an entire month… chicken, eggs, whole-wheat bread, sweet potatoes, spinach, avocados, and apples.
I’ll be doing it similar to how most of her ‘council’ did it, but with my own little personalized twist:
- A simple toast and egg breakfast that reminds me of my friend Renison in Kenya
- A Haitian rice and beans lunch that reminds me of children I’ve met recently
- A simple ‘lean and green’ dinner of salad/veggies and a plain piece of meat
Each of these meals connect me to something significant in my life. And just as important as what I am eating is what I’m not putting into my mouth. I’m giving up all sodas and other awesome drinks, and deferring to water. I’m also giving up all the other snack-meals, and eating out (no fast food or convenience dining). What you see on my list of meals above is all I’m doing… with a water chaser.
I know that others joining us will be doing other things, including a Daniel Fast.
How you do this isn’t as important as what you allow God to do in and through you as you intentionally step away from excess in the area of food in your life right now. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to cut back in my own excessive lifestyle, and to take some of that excess to help someone who doesn’t have enough.
That’s why I want to challenge you to do something outward as you cut back on what you do inward. Here are a couple ideas:
- Clean out the pantry of stuff that you haven’t used in more than a few weeks, and give it to a local food bank/pantry. Feed someone with the excess that you don’t need to hold on to right now.
- Sponsor a child in another country. I’ve recently been able to see the impact of child sponsorship firsthand. These programs often provide the only meal a child may get in a day in some communities. Consider joining me with HELP One Now by sponsoring a child in Haiti or parts of Africa.
As you step into this month of mutiny against excess in the area of food, I just pray not only that God would sustain and strengthen you, but also that He would use your experience to impact the world around you for His glory!
What are you doing? How are taking on this challenge this month?
Are you a participating?
Then we want to hear your stories! Feel free to jump into the discussion here in the comments anytime throughout the month. If you have blog then you can use the banner image below to show people that your [the 7 project] stories are a part of this project, and then use the linky tool to share the links to your blog post (or Facebook Notes) so others can visit and encourage you.
Our hope is that this online community will become a sort of virtual ‘council’ where we can support and encourage each other as we walk this out together!
(Note: Right-click and “Save as…”. Then upload to your blog linking the image back to this or any of the other [the 7 project] posts.)
Dan. Loved the video and then your personal analysis. I’m with you brother. Love the food. But your suggestions are great first steps to put the round dish in perspective.
thanks david! jen hatmaker is great, and i’m already looking forward to chatting with her again for next month’s interview! i also know that she’s going to be engaging with everyone here throughout the project… it’s exciting to be working with her on this!
I’m so excited for God to move in me through this. I’m bombarded with food (as a stay at home mom with 7 kids, my kitchen overfloweth) but it will be a constant reminder to cling to God and ask Him to teach me. Already passed the first test…did not eat any banana bread this morning, even though it glares at me from across the kitchen.
Wow! I’d probably lose it if I had to sit at my desk at work all day with banana bread staring me down like that! I’ll be praying for strength for you, and that God would move in you in a big way during this time!
Keep us posted with how you do, what you’re experiencing (particularly with God), and how we can pray with you!
Great interview Dan. My husband and I have significantly altered our eating habits since the start of the new year and, man, going from 4000 to 1200 calories in a day has been painful! So, for this month, we’re continuing in that and cleaning out and re-evaluating what all we need to have stored up in terms of food in our home. So far 3 bags are on their way to the food pantry. It’s freeing and humbling all at the same time. Thank you for your sincere heart in this project!
That’s great Karyn! I’m really glad to hear about the food delivered to the food pantry! We’re six days in, and I’m already finding my attitudes changing towards food. I’m hungry, and crave certain things that I’m denying myself right now… but how I look at food is different. I may have to write a post about that… lots of stuff stirring up.
I’ve particularly enjoyed my time with the Haitian-style rice and beans… it’s helping me remember and pray for many friends down there… many who I know that you would LOVE…
the first 3 days were pretty tough, then I had 2 fairly easy days. Woke up this morning and wanted to devour everything in sight. I am not disciplined – at anything – so I’m really wanting to stick this out in hopes of learning a little discipline.
It’s pretty amazing how generally satisfied I am with only eating 7 foods. Sure, I constantly complain about not having chocolate, and coffee with creamer, but when I think about the foods I do have, they are really all I need, and they’re pretty delicious.
I’m also hoping to start seeing a decrease in the grocery bill so I can pass the savings on to a local food pantry or homeless shelter. The next step is cutting the excess from my kids’ diet. I know I will be met with much grumbling. And then i will read to them Phillipians 2:14 🙂
this food month of [the #7project] is certainly requiring some big time discipline. i’ve had to catch myself several times reaching for something that i’m not supposed to have… and every time it makes me think about how easy i’ve got it when it comes to food.
my abundance (er, excess) allows me to be easily absent-minded when it comes to eating. i’m learning to be more intentional… what do i NEED? you know?i look forward to hearing about how it goes with the kids! 🙂
Okay, I’m having a bit of trouble reconciling Food month with waste right now. I am usually the “garbage disposal” in my house – eating up all the pieces that my kids didn’t finish off their plates, and finishing off the leftovers in the frig before they go bad. I hate wasting food! I usually have a pretty good grasp of the fact that we are blessed abundantly with food in this country, and I don’t feel I have the right to squander it. Plus, if half my meal if from the kids’ scraps (with 7 kids, sometimes it’s my whole meal) I save some money at the store in the long run. So how do I deal with only eating my 7 foods and throwing out the rest? I’m already preparing less food quantities for them to try to eliminate the excess, but there are just days when they’re not as hungry as usual. My husband is doing this with me, so I can’t just make him eat it 🙂 I feel really guilty about throwing out food. Do you have any advice for getting past this? Should I consider changing the way I’m doing this month to include eating foods that will otherwise become trash?
Well my very wise husband reminded me that people used to sacrifice animals to God (which could be considered “wasting” perfectly good food) so for this month I probably shouldn’t worry about it. I’m sure it will still be difficult to throw things out, but at least that is one more chance for me to focus on God, and one more way to sacrifice my own desires.
Will your kiddos not eat leftovers, Maja? I always have a “leftover meal” about every third day, and it’s just how it is. If I can spice them up or turn them into something newish, then I’ll try, but I HATE throwing away food! My kids are no strangers to leftovers.
We do have leftover night and that certainly helps, there’s just always the one thing that no one wants again 🙂
dealing with food waste is a tough one… especially when fasting from certain things. i hate the idea of throwing food away. but when you’re doing something like this, it’s certainly a tricky balance. i’m afraid that i don’t really have an answer beyond what your husband suggested in your follow-up comment here. i do like the thought of sacrificing your desires… i think that’s an important part of this experience… but agree that it’s a tough one when it means that food is being thrown away. unfortunately, all i can offer is my prayers that the Lord gives you a peace with whatever direction you go with this…
but I would love to stay up to date with how this goes for you, and how you deal with this tension throughout the rest of the month. please keep us updated!
This book has found it’s way into my house – http://www.unlikelychristian.com/2012/03/umm-yeah-thanks-neighbor/ It’s now only a matter of time. Aprehensive and excited at the same time. Will definitely be keeping up with you.
Too cool! I’m excited to hear that this book is finding its way into the homes of unlikely christians like you… i can’t wait to hear more about what you think about it! make sure you submit links to the posts you do on our monthly posts for each area…
Heya mister Dan. Sometimes I skip dinner because I want to know what it feels like to be hungry. The more I do it, the easier it is. I reckon you’ll come out on the other side of the month a new man, in more ways than one.
Tons to think about, great post.