Sunday, November 4, 2012

Food Challenge Day 1

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

So today is Day 1 of my own personal Food Challenge, as opposed to a Food Stamp Challenge. I intend this as a week of paying close attention to what I am eating, what is in my refrigerator, where my food is coming from, how much I am eating, how I am approaching eating spiritually and emotionally, how I am eating, how I respond to eating, my state of mind as I eat, how much my food is costing, and any other thoughts or questions that arise. It will also be a week of recording my thoughts and responses here. (Don't worry - I promise not to give you menu listings!)

As I begin this week, I understand that the only meaningful reason for taking a Food Challenge is to come to some deeper understanding about food, food justice, the environmental meaning of eating, and other broad questions related to food and eating, then to respond. Only if new meaning flows out of my week will it be useful for me, and possibly for you. Better yet will be if some kind of action flows out of it. 

And so, I invite you to journey with me and to post your responses in the comments section below.

Here are some of my thoughts, observations, reflection and questions from this first day.

A sign is up on the electronic communication board at the hospital inviting people to participate in an online support group designed to help participants remain healthy and not gain weight during the holiday season. We need support during this time of overabundance to keep from stuffing ourselves from the amazing and continuous spreads we will be exposed to. What if it weren't all there to begin with? What can we do to make our own restraint meaningful beyond our own health?

The most powerful and pervasive feeling / thought that has entered my mind and my spirit today has been that eating is a holy / sacred act. It is an encounter with the Sun and the rain, the soil and the rocks, and all the myriad hands - from the turning of the soil, to the planting, weeding, harvesting, shipping, packaging (in some cases), cooking, serving - involved in bringing this food from the fields to my fork. I am awed by the thought of the amazing complexity involved, even for the spinach that was grown down the street from me. 

"Who is like you, Adonai, among the gods that are worshiped? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders?" It is a wonder, it is majestic, it is awesome and it is splendid that I am able to eat spinach and squash and soup and granola and cookies. Thank you Earth. Thank you sky. Thank you people. Thank you G!d. 


  1. I like it, Katy, and I shall follow your blog, maybe jump in when (if) I have something to say.

  2. I, too, want to follow your blog, Katy. More than ever before I'm trying to eat in harmony with Nature and with kindness to all living things. Janet


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