Monday, March 1, 2010

magical fruit

Back in October, I travelled with some friends to the Sunny Okanagan and spent some time pulling weeds on an apple orchard. In the post I wrote after that weekend, I made a few promises:

1 – that I would tell you more about apples
2 – that I would consider eating beans and rice for a month

Well apparently, I’ve fallen back on my first promise (although I will comment on that in future, I’m sure of it), I am happy to say that the second promise has not only been considered; it’s been swung into action. This morning I ate beans and rice for breakfast. Today for lunch, I’ll eat beans and rice. And, you guessed it, for the rest of the month I’ll be eating beans and rice for all of my meals (and veggies; which you learned if you read that October entry).

To be honest, this project appeals to my selfishness: with so much going on in my head and in my day planner, I find that I am craving simplicity. So the fact that I know exactly what I’m eating (more or less) for every meal during the next 30 days is something I am quite excited about. Beans, rice, veggies. Aaah. Simple.

However, that the point of this movement is not just for the sake of simplicity – it’s purpose is largely for tangible awareness (March is, in fact, Rice&Beans month). The world over, people do not have options when it comes to their ‘daily bread’. However, we in North America are spoiled with the richest of fair – and we don’t even notice it. On an old blog, I wrote this. Reading it again now, I realize that I very quickly fell back into old habits; eating out at my leisure and not paying attention to how much wealth I was throwing at my food intake. So even though this month is catering to my need for simplicity, the biggest part of my motivation for this month is, quite simply put, not about me at all.

Much like the stories that Jen told me (previous link), this week I heard another story that poked me swiftly in the aorta. My dear friend Stacy went to Haiti last year and spent some time at an orphanage; she still maintains contact with her friends over there. With the aftermath of the earthquake, and with rainy season nearly upon them, the orphanage has started to burst at the seams. Many of these new children aren’t necessarily “orphaned”, but rather, their parents/uncles/caretakers simply can not keep them alive with the means they’ve got – so they’ve left the wee ones at the orphanage instead. Stacy told me that last week, a young boy was dropped off. He is one year old. He weighs five pounds. Let me say that again: he is ONE and he weighs FIVE POUNDS. (to put this in perspective: the average 1yr old should weigh at least 3x what they weighed at birth - averaging out at around 21 pounds - more than 4x what he weighs).

I haven’t actually seen him, but I can’t get him out of my head. And so my sweet child, this month is for you. I wish it would mean instant health for you – that the food I was no longer eating meant that you would be provided for instantly, but I know this isn’t the case.

Bonnie and I are both participating in this month, and thank goodness – she remembered to start (and provided me with my food for today at 11pm last night). It's going to be really really good for me to have a teammate to go through this month with - simply because I may or may not lack willpower when it comes to food ("Hi my name is Ashley, and I like to eat.   ...."Hi Ashley"). Whatever we don’t spend on groceries (that we would normally spend), we’ll be giving away instead - hopefully, to that very orphanage in Haiti (working out the logistics). I don’t mention this to pat myself on the back, but rather, do the complete opposite. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do something.

So, whether or not you participate in Rice & Beans month (by eating only Rice & Beans), I challenge you to consider how you can contribute to the issue of World Hunger during the month of March. Perhaps it’ll mean less coffee or dinners out, or maybe it means you get a bit more creative in your kitchen. Whatever you do though, no matter how small, try to do something!

*something you wondered near the beginning :  don't worry, they say the body gets used to the diet after awhile, so we shouldn't be too smelly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's name of your Haitian orphanage? Is it called Canaan by chance?