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Food only as a function


Food is not only a giver of life, it is also often one of comfort. This week to a large degree I have stepped back from the latter part of what we derive from food, being left with the former. One of the things I have come to reflect on through Stoic teachings is their counter to the rat race of always acquiring something new. They do not discourage having new things but they say the key to slowing that pursuit is, "to want what we already have." This approach celebrates the abundance of the things in our life rather than the scarcity of what is missing.

In teachings handed down from Seneca, one of the things he evangelized was, "to practice poverty, for example subsisting on the meagerest of food or clothing, all the while asking, 'is this the condition I so feared?'" One way to want what we already have is to send the "luxuries" we currently enjoy away for a period of time. As a result, this week I have been subsisting solely on beans and rice. When I'm hungry, that's what I eat. When I'm thirsty, I have water.

About 60 hours into my 96 hour trial, here is what I have experienced. The act of eating beans and rice on repeat has been mostly fine. When I'm hungry and eating them, I've occasionally wished for something else but can typically acknowledge this is my path for four days and be ok with the status quo. Where the stress has come from, and it is certainly there, are the moments when I seek food for comfort and pleasure but cannot have it. I walked out of a long meeting yesterday and thought to myself, "I can't wait to have some chips, salsa and a beer!" I then remembered I couldn't. It took a few minutes to be ok with the situation. It was going to be a reward for a long day and couldn't provide it to myself. This morning was the most intense period thus far. Rather than waking up and making breakfast for myself, I found myself unenthused and asking, "am I even hungry?" Rather than making a meal because its breakfast time and I can have something tasty, I was left pondering if it was worth my time. With food not being enjoyable at present, I didn't want to eat unless I was hungry. Hopefully in some small way, this trial is having a positive impact on how I will think of my food when I return to my normal diet.

Anyways, I'm already looking forward to it coming to a close Thursday night. Speaking of Thursday night, I get to break my repetitive cycle at the Contemporary Art Museum for an event they have with local bartender, Jeff Moll of Randolfi's, called "Drink in Art." Tickets are $20 ($15 for members) and will also discuss the gendering of cocktails with the work of artist, Nicola Tyson as a backdrop.


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