Life Lessons from Bowl of Mash

If I were doing the detox by myself, writing a blog would be pretty boring—I ate blank; I liked this; I hated that; this one was okay. Yada yada yada.  Same old stuff.  But fortunately I’m doing it with my family.  This is good for two reasons.  One, they provide motivation and accountability to keep going (halfway done by the way!).  Two, they make it a whole lot more entertaining.

I will treasure the moments cleaning the kitchen with my mom and dad (we use so many dishes for this) laughing about how sick we are of quinoa (it feels like we’ve eaten it for every meal).  Seriously, try eating this bland grain every day for five days and then see how keen you are about it.  Anyway, during our dishwashing, my dad points out that these days have felt long.  And not because the food is bad—some of it is actually really good—but because every meal is a big deal.

And he’s right.  We’re supposed to eat five times a day.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks.  A lot goes into preparing them.  My mom has spent so much time in the kitchen these past few days, trying new recipes and becoming familiar with new ingredients.  And since we haven’t repeated many of recipes, most are new and interesting.  Sure we’ve had quinoa each day, but it’s been cooked in different ways, and each one we’re a little uncertain about at first.  And so we discuss them all.  How we liked this one, what could be better about that one, should we make this again, etc.

Usually my family members will eat their eggs or cereal for breakfast; I’ll have my yogurt and leftovers; we’ll fix our own lunches, and then we’ll come home to a delicious meal that my mom has made, but probably one that we’ve had several times over the course of our lives.  Nothing really “noteworthy.” 

The detox has made food a clear focal point in our lives these past five days.  And it’s slowed time down.  Maybe it’s because we’re hungry and anticipating the next time that we eat, or it could be the amount of work that it takes to actually eat.  Nonetheless, we’re thinking a lot more than usual about a daily ritual.

How many times do we go through our days always anticipating the next big thing?  What if we took the time to appreciate the simple things, too, such as eating.  We do so many things mindlessly that we blink and suddenly a week has passed.  I’m so guilty of ignoring the little things, but I’m going to try to live more in the moment, especially in the smaller ones.  And if we added them all up, they probably outnumber the big moments, but we pass over them so easily.

So let’s treasure this life.  It’s the only one we’ve got, and it will be over before we know it.

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Hungry and Blessed

One of my best friends recently got back from a mission trip to Uganda and talked about it at church tonight.  She had some amazing stories about working with the kids, teaching them about sports, sharing her testimony and seeing many of them accept Christ.  It was very inspiring and encouraging, and I wish that I could have been there with her. 

Throughout her short message, I was reminded again of how blessed I am compared to the rest of the world.  These kids have nothing. They certainly don’t have MacBooks and listen to Spotify while writing blog posts.  They didn’t just go buy a new car with most of their money so they wouldn’t have to share with their sisters anymore.  They don’t have air-conditioning.  And I’m sure many of them go to bed hungry. 

Going to bed hungry is something that my family has experienced for the past three nights.  Even though the detox food has been delicious (for the most part anyway—the quinoa is getting to be a little much), the portion sizes have been smaller, leaving us to spend most of the day feeling hungry.

It’s difficult being hungry.  It’s harder to concentrate.  I feel even lazier and less motivated.  Sometimes I kinda just want to curl up into a little ball and watch movies.

But there’s a difference between our family and them.  For me, I’m just adjusting to smaller portion sizes that I should be eating.  I have plenty of food in my pantry downstairs that I could grab if I really felt desperate (and I have dug into the cashews a little bit).  The time will come when I will stop feeling hungry.  If they go to bed hungry, it’s because that’s all the food that they get.  And they hope that they get more tomorrow.

It really isn’t fair.  Why have I been blessed with so many things while there are people in this world who have nothing?

With great blessings comes great responsibility.  Obviously my family and I can’t single-handedly save the world, but we can do small things to help.  We can donate our time and money to reputable charities and organizations that aid children who are in need.  We can go a mission trips like my friend did.  If everyone worked together, maybe we could be the generation that ended world hunger.  It’s worth a try.

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Salmon and Solar Panels

Today’s blog post inspiration came from our dinner table conversation. My dad has been watching Cosmos, a television series running on Sunday nights about Earth and the universe. Last night’s episode featured global warming. According to my dad, they provided a lot of evidence for global warming and also talked about methods for using greener energy. 

Greener energy is still more expensive. It’s more difficult to use solar panels or wind farms. It’s much simpler just to burn coal or gas. Since it’s easier and cheaper, many people opt not to “go green.” It’s why there’s such a dilemma on Capitol Hill. If we switch to greener energy forms immediately, it will cost a lot of money and many people will lose their jobs. We stick to the old ways, even though they are more detrimental in the long run. Eventually we will run out of fossil fuels, and we’re destroying our planet in the process.

Food is very similar, my dad pointed out. We’re paying a little extra money to eat whole, organic, better quality foods while we’re on our detox. It may be more expensive, but it’s better for us in the long run. It’s all about weighing the current cost now and the long-term benefits later.

 We’re definitely not perfect at this system. We don’t waste energy, but we’re not going out of our way to conserve it either. And the detox is the first major step we’ve taken to eating super healthy. My mom has always tried to cook healthy meals in the past, but we’ve never been really adventurous.

It’s something to think about.   As we continue to move forward and scientists get better at determining what is good for our planet and our bodies, I believe that people should keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. Yes, the old ways worked in the past, but perhaps they’ve found something better. Just like the grilled salmon we ate tonight. It was out of the ordinary, but it tasted delicious, and we felt good eating it because we knew it was healthy for us.

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New Day? New Adventure

I’m a planner.  That means that I would like to be able to sit down and plan what I’m going to write about for the next few days or so.  That way I could make sure this blog stays interesting.  But I can’t do that.  When you’re blogging about your experiences and what you learn from them, then you kinda have to take things as they come. 

Which leads us to today’s point.  Adaptability.  To borrow a phrase from Lemony Snicket, adaptability is a word, which here means “able to adjust oneself readily to different conditions.”  Our circumstances are constantly changing, and our degree of adaptability determines how we respond to them.  The more flexible we are and the more we are willing to try new things, the easier it often is.  But of course, this is easier said than done.

Today, two-thirds of my family started that 10-day detox.  This particular detox (from The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren) has us avoiding gluten, dairy, and as much sugar as possible.  Rice and quinoa are the only two main carbohydrates that we are eating.  We are allowed to eat meat; however, (aside from a little chicken broth that my mom cooked the quinoa in) today was a completely vegan day.  Which is highly unusual for a family that usually has meat at least once a day. Needless to say, the four us of participating in the detox were stretched a bit beyond our comfort zone.  We had to be adaptable.  My dad even ate beets and snow peas—two vegetables he despises.

But we survived day one, and we also tried raw jicama (hi-cah-ma), a Mexican turnip, with our homemade artichoke hummus.  It was surprisingly good, and something we never would have encountered if we hadn’t been willing to branch out.

My family experienced something else outside our normal routine today.  My cousin got confirmed, so we traveled down to the Catholic Church to support her.  The traditional Catholic mass was quite different from our contemporary United Methodist services.  But it was also very beautiful.  It was so neat to see how God has created people to worship Him in so many different ways.  All of them ultimately and uniquely bring the glory to God, which is the whole purpose of worship.  So while I was trying to figure out how the songs went, what to say when, and when to stand, sit, or hold hands, I still really enjoyed it.  I think all of my family did, even though my 10-year-old brother got a little restless through the hour and a half mass.  To be fair, it was also the second church service he had sat through today. 

So to sum it all up, each day brings new adventures.  If we’re willing to step out of the ordinary, we might find that things aren’t as bad as we thought they would be.  (Remember that lesson that they tried to teach you in elementary school?).  So often we get caught up in our normal routine, but it’s never too late to try something new!  An attitude of adaptability can help us to make the adjustments that we otherwise fear.

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Kwinoah and Yozemight

So my family is a taking a vacation out west this summer and my mom told me I should blog about it. I guess that’s what you get when you’re a writing major. Anyway, I decided to start it a little bit early, because we’re about to begin a 10-day detox, and I figured that could be rather interesting as well.

Which brings me to the name of this blog. They’re both mispronounced words. As my mom and I were reading through the recipes for our cleanse, I came across quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”). I’ve eaten quinoa (KEEN-wah) before, but I’d always envisioned that it was spelled Kiemwa or something like that. I’d always assumed that quinoa (kwi-NO-ah) was something different. But they’re not. So that was the first lesson learned of these adventures.

We’re going to Yosemite National Park this summer, and my younger sister Abby thought that it was pronounced “Yoze-might.” (Clearly we need to get out a little more). She’s usually our comic relief. She and Evan (the youngest) will probably make this blog a lot.

My family’s a little crazy, but I think they’re great.  We get along really well and spend a lot of time laughing.  In this blog, I hope to share our experiences (hopefully some of the fun translates through the written word) and also what we have learned throughout the way.  So welcome and thanks for reading!

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