Monday, March 21, 2011

Giving it Up

The season of Lent came upon me quickly this year on Wednesday, March 9. I spent most of Mardi Gras thinking about giving stuff up: why do we do it, should I do it (I didn't grow up with this practice), and what should I do? I was gazing deeply into my fridge looking for answers and inspiration for dinner when it came to me-it was time to take the plunge and turn away from meat at least for this season. Once I came to this realization, I felt peaceful and rather excited. But how did a steak-eating Texican come to the point she was ready to give up the moo?

1. My best friend growing up is a Seventh Day Adventist. Her church believes very strongly in the biblical belief of taking care of the body through diet. Although her family didn't 100% adhere to vegetarianism, they did eat a lot more vegetables than mine did, and they were always a lot healthier than we were (minus the South Texas allergies). They did adhere completely to the diet outlined in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 13.

2. I did a Standard Process purification last year during my pregnancy with Baby #3. The first ten days cut meat completely out of the diet. Since I was preggo, I was allowed to have an egg a day for the protein boost, but that was it. Although I was having withdrawals, I felt much better after the first three days and didn't really miss the massive quantities I was used to eating. I lost 10 pounds in three weeks, but Babycakes grew perfectly and is now a healthy little critter. In fact, Thing #3 is supervising as I write and motivating me by clapping and blowing kisses.

3. Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet detailed what Food, Inc. did, except with ink (and dead trees, but we won't go there). Although most people are very visual, I have to read things to truly believe them (I think I've been overly jaded by mainstream media, but I digress). Although Ms. Silverstone advocates veganism, I was completely turned to the idea of a veggie-centric diet. I was also turned on more than ever to the plant-your-own dinner and be a responsible Earthling ideas.

And so, here we are, nearly two weeks into Lent, and I'm quite the happy vegetarian. I don't really crave meat, but sometimes I'm when I made the family steaks for dinner. I have a "thing" for raw meat, and it was really hard not to pop a nice, rare bite of steak into my mouth. But I didn't, and I was glad. I haven't really lost much weight (not the primary purpose of the exercise), but I certainly have maintained without much work at all (read: too cheap to spend my $3.50/gallon gas on driving 15 miles to the gym on base). I feel like my thing to give up is not truly in the spirit of Lenten deprivation because it's not been horrendously difficult (like the year I gave up ice cream). So I comfort myself with the thought that although I'm not suffering, I'm being a little more obedient to the original diet prescribed in Genesis.

I originally thought it would be really hard to convert because I got really bored with the vegetarian meals during the purification last year. Thankfully, the library came to my rescue. I'd been using the recipes in The Kind Diet, but when the book was due, I had nothing. As I was dropping the book in the return, I noticed the month's special display: cookbooks for healthy eating, with a number of vegan and vegetarian ones in the mix. Hooray! God came through for me before I even thought to ask Him for some help.

As usual, my attempts at biscuits and pizza dough have been beyond miserable, but everything else has been quite tasty. And since the recipes are all new, they're fun to make and try. Thank God for libraries, let me just say that. Baby #3 and I totally loved barley casserole and farmhouse stew. Num num num.

I don't know if vegetarianism is here to stay, but at the very least, I'll go back to only the Old Testament clean meats. And I don't want to revert to daily meat consumption. It should be more of a treat than anything else. We'll see, huh?

Make at least one vegetarian meal every week. When you've conquered that, go for a weekly meatless day. See how much fun you can have working new recipes into your taste buds!

-Domestic Goddess out.

Monday, March 7, 2011

DG's Got the "I Want" Blues

Ugh. I'm having one of those dreaded days. You know the type. On a normal basis, you're happy to be glad with what you have, admire what you don't, and save for what you want/think you need. On a normal basis, you look for the blessing in everything around you, drawing joy from the simplest of things, like watching your kids grow up and blossom right before your eyes.

Sadly, today (or, rather, just this afternoon) has not been one of those days. I don't know what got into my head. I think it was just me thinking about "things", but I soon found myself in a reprehensible mood and thinking about all the things I want but don't have. Even worse, I found myself grumpy about the things I want but shouldn't. Like a cleaning service. A bigger house (to be cleaned by said cleaning service). Fancy clothes and accessories. Everything organic (food, face wash, etc.). A neighborhood of other SAHMs that I can be friends with and share a cup of coffee with sans the need to plan it two weeks in advance.

Even as I found myself in the downward spiral of "Why don't I have these things? Is it really too much to ask? I don't really want to be frugal-why not just enjoy the money we have now?", I found the rational part of my brain (buried waaaaay down, struggling for air) crying out, "Excuse me, but you've GOT a lot, and you need to get over it." Thank God for reason via the Holy Spirit! Whew! Over the hour it took to get dinner on the table, I hit a valley and then started climbing back out of it.

I have food. Shelter. A/C and heating that work. Nice enough clothes that don't need to be fancy because I get spit up on about two or three times a day anyway. Machines that do a lot of hard work for me (because who really wants to hand wash dirty cloth diapers?). More importantly, I am healthy. I have a great relationship with my husband, who is a saint among men. I have funny kids who are a delightful challenge to raise. My husband has a job that allows me to stay home. And on and on and on. Yes, counting blessings is a very therapeutic exercise. Even if it takes a long while, eventually, you realize you're just being a rotten snit and get over the "I wants" and become thankful for the "I haves." I don't really need my wants at all, and that is a very thankful place to be.

Challenge: Next time you're feeling unhappy with your lot in life, take a look at what you have or what you have already accomplished, evaluate whatever you're aiming for (do you really need to get/do that?), make a plan to achieve it (if it's worth doing), and go for it!

-Domestic Goddess out.