Monday, April 01, 2013

Episode 24: Lenten Food

During my tour, I ate anything. Absolutely anything and everything. Breakfast slowly degraded to oatmeal so I could get on the road quicker. Oatmeal will never have the same taste again; there's only so many variants of brown sugar, raisins, bananas, etc. before it becomes a drudgingly slow process of "chew and swallow." My go-to for lunch were bars because they were cheap and fast and the midday bar dwellers were a nice crowd to get to know.

During the liturgical season of Lent, a follower of Christian thought goes through a purging of fasting, alms-giving, self-denial, and reconciliation. Three things come to mind that come to the foreground when a period of self-growth is initiated: what I eat, what I am attracted to, and what I want. This year, I gave up meat (besides fish) and alcohol.

We are what we eat. When I was little, the communal dining table was the center of family life- we talked about life, about school and friends, about plans for outings and plans for parties. Then in college I convinced myself to eat two big meals a day. Later I realized that didn't work out well; I'd run myself to empty burning the candle at both ends. I am reminded whenever I stuffed myself full of food or eat my fill then realize dessert is still waiting; not necessarily the guilt I feel of eating more that needed but the feeling of eating more that needed. In Macau, there were numerous times where I ate and drank with friends and afterwards I would experience a deep sense of fulfillment being at table with those I care about surrounded by food that gives us sustenance.

Today, after 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter, I gave up meat and alcohol. And boy did I enjoy a pepperoni pizza and beer afterwards! Though I did learn what it was to eat enough and healthy for me. Which is different for everyone. I found out I may be acutely allergic to gluten, which is unfortunate. No cinnamon rolls, white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookes, or beer.

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