Whole 30 Day 14 – Simplicity

Brandon and I went out to dinner and line dancing Friday night. It was our first date night since before New Year’s, I think, and also our first night out on the Whole 30 Challenge.  We’ve been Googling every restaurant and fast food place’s menu and nutritional information, trying to determine what we can and cannot order when we’re away from home, and there’s a lot of items in the “cannot order” category.  The more we read, the more disgusted we’ve become with what companies do to food in order to “enhance” flavor and color, “preserve” it longer, and make it cheaper.  It’s no wonder we’re all so fat and sick.

We decided to go to Brown Derby Roadhouse in Medina because generally steak, sweet potatoes, and veggies are Whole 30 approved.  After an unfortunate Chipotle incident, we found out that Brandon is really sensitive to soy, so we asked the waitress if they had a nutritional information menu, or allergens menu.  They didn’t, but by some great coincidence, the waitress has a daughter who is allergic to nearly everything, so she took great care to make sure our food was prepared without butter, soy, gluten, etc. She was awesome, and so was our food.

Besides our dining out adventure, the initial battle against cravings and habits has subsided a bit.  We even pulled off a Whole 30 Super Bowl, complete with chicken wings, guacamole, shrimp cocktail, and kale chips.  I’m also feeling less bewildered at what to prepare for each meal.  It helps that everything simply tastes better.  Fresh fruits and vegetables and meat, prepared simply with some herbs and spices, and voila! Delicious.

Simplicity is the topic of the week here.  Our small group is studying the spiritual disciplines, and this week is simplicity.  This diet aligns itself with the concept of simplicity– cutting out all of the fillers that can be bad for us– but there are other ways we’ve wanted to focus on simplicity this week, and there are plenty of them.  Brandon is very good at letting go of things, so he did a round with the kids’ clothes and toys, and our own clothes and objects in the house, to decide what we need and what we can give away.  It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate.

One of my objectives for this week is to track how I spend my time, with the hopes of finding more of it for things like writing and studying.  My plan is to take that analysis and devise a “time budget” for each week.

But the element that I feel has been most on my mind is buying stuff.  I am amazed by the number of times the phrase, “I really need to buy…” runs through my head in a given day.  From towels to jeans to lamps to candles, when I think I “need” something, I’ve grown accustomed to just going out and buying it.  The spiritual discipline of simplicity questions that impulse and habit.  Do I really need another pair of jeans?  Do I really need another lamp to match the lamp on my nightstand?  Having been made aware of this addiction to buying stuff, I find myself cutting off the thought, “I need to buy…” and asking instead, “Really?”

This sort of discipline will hopefully open up more space to be content with both the food we eat and the stuff we have, rather than desperately chasing every impulse and desire. 

“But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Tim. 6:8)

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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