Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eating Simply In Order to Give

We have just come through the most food-charged season of the year.  Many of us were (and still are?) surrounded by treats and sweets, special meals, special ingredients, out of season fruits and vegetables, breads, meats, party platters, and hors d'oeuvre trays.  It's how we celebrate and Christmas is the season to celebrate.  

Surrounded by so much bounty it's easy to forget those around the world who are in economic and spiritual poverty.  It's not just easy to forget when surrounded by bounty, it's easy to forget each and every day of the year.  In an attempt to remind ourselves and our families about others' needs in the world, what would it look like to once a day, week or month (however often you need reminding) to eat an overly simple meal?  No meat, no sweets, no second helpings.  Rice and beans, perhaps.  If there is a country your family is interested in learning about, what would it be like to research what foods their poor or lower class eat and try to mimic their diet for a meal?  This would help give us a better global perspective on our brothers and sisters around the world and free up some income to give back to them through aid and mission support.

Burundi rice and beans.  Photo courtesy of Dianabuja's Blog

Here is some sobering information that might spur us on....

Did you know that of the nearly two billion dollars American Evangelicals give each year to mission organizations is one forth what they spend on weight loss programs?  Let that roll around inside your brain for a minute.  There's more...

"A person must overeat by at least two dollars worth of food per month to maintain one excess pound of flesh." 

Go on, do the math in your head.  I have some math to do of my own.

"Yet, two dollars per month is more than what 90% of all Christians in America give to missions.  If the average mission supporter is only five pounds overweight, it means he spends (to his own hurt) at least five times as much as he gives for missions.  If he were to choose simple food (as well as not overeat) he could give ten times as much as he does to mission and not modify his standard of living in any other way!" (- Ralph Winter, former missionary and General Director of the Frontier Mission Fellowship which birthed the U.S. Center for World Mission in his article Reconsecration)

I don't offer these quotes to make you feel guilty about anything, so put a stop to that guilt-trip that's rising up.  I offer them in an attempt to inspire all of us (including myself) to look at things in a different light.

Starting tomorrow, I will occasionally be posting simple recipes (some from other countries) that our family will be eating in an attempt to direct some of our outlandish food spending (and eating) to more important causes...helping others and furthering God's Kingdom.

And if the results lead to more loose fitting clothes...so be it. Pin It


  1. This is a good idea. Those statistics are sickening. I need to eat less, that's for sure. And give more.

  2. Great food for thought (there I go again with the puns!). :-) We have sponsored a boy from the Philippines for over 7 years now, and we love him like he is part of our family. We pray for him everyday, and he sends us the coolest letters and artwork. I often try to think of ways to keep Gabriel in the forefront of our minds, so mimicking his diet is a great idea. Do you have any Filipino recipes? :-)

  3. awesome!
    when i was pregnant i decided that after i was no longer pregnant i would be putting us all on a month of beans and rice-in order to teach my children to be grateful instead of picky and to take that money and give it away. thanks for re inspiring me!

  4. Thanks for posting this. It is good to think about. I look forward to trying some of your simple recipes.

  5. Wow! That is some powerful food for thought. I know that we spend sooo much money on food for our family even though I shop at discount grocery stores and buy dented or slightly out of date items (which helps me feel like I'm doing my part to not contribute to so much waste).

    I sometimes think about how much food our family alone wastes. My boys are somewhat finicky. And, as I'm scraping plates after each meal or clearing out the refrigerator of leftovers and other stuff that didn't get consumed quickly enough, I'm ashamed.

    I remember reading somewhere (can't remember where) the story of someone who was visiting another country (India I think). He was on a bus eating a banana. He noticed 2 small children along the side of the road. When he was finished with his banana he threw the peel out the window and the children scrambled to grab it up and scrape the inside of the peel to eat.

    I'm looking forward to your future posts on this!

  6. Even if we would all do something as simple as limiting our portions (let alone not taking unnecessary seconds), it seems that would solve more than one problem right there.

    Good, thoughtful post. Thanks.

  7. THHP, I really like the idea of researching what a certain people group eats on a regular basis and then having your family eat that for a meal. We're always wanting our children to get a good picture of how others around the world actually live, but it's often difficult without traveling there. This would be an excellent "experience" right here at home to help children relate.

    Here's another thought. A lot of us actually enjoy simple meals of rice and beans. But what if that were our only meal option and we got it only once a day? We're so spoiled with variety - our CSA offers seasonal vegetables in a crate each week; it's whatever the farmers are harvesting "in season". So at certain times of the year, we get lots of root vegetables. I'm amazed at the number of people who quit the CSA because they don't like the fact that there are too many root veggies and not enough "variety". When my own daughters started to complain, I reminded them that this is what God provided this week and we needed to be grateful, that this is what is currently what's in season; and now I'll add the fact that this is all some ever see as far as variety. (It certainly helps us learn to be creative, too).

  8. I wasn't feeling guilt so much as disgust...we are a pathetic country. I am doing so much better in the "less waste" department...and I'm looking forward to doing even better with your simple recipes. xo

  9. Thyhand... I will take your (indirect) challenge... I will set aside $2.00 a month from my very meager food allowance and see what I can "buy" for my local food bank for the rest of the year.

    Thanks for the idea :)

  10. Amen! I can't wait to see some of your recipes and ideas. We studied "Around the World in 80 Days" a few years back. It used a similar principle to teach cultures, missions and geography. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
    And, we currently choose to directly support two different missionaries as well as child sponsorship....When God provides more than we need, it is so that we may share in His work..Well done!

  11. Wonderful - our family eats brown rice with peas twice a month so that we can send moeny to a school in Laos - some more simple meal ideas will be great - maybe we can do it more than twice a month.

  12. Looking forward to those recipes!

  13. Thank you for this post! The Lord has been laying it upon my heart to give my attention to those who are in need, and I have been praying about what exactly he wants me to do about it. This post was inspiring, and I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes.


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