When I began changing my eating habits, I was encouraged by the line in Matthew's Gospel where Jesus asked, "isn't life more than food..?" (5:25). So much of our lives today revolve around eating and drinking. In and of itself, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it seems to me that many of us have taken it to the extreme.
On the NBC evening news last night (6/21/10), I happened to catch a segment on overeating. They pointed out that 70% of Americans are overweight, mainly because we're eating lots and lots of cheap food. According to NBC, one of many reasons why we are eating so much is because our plate sizes have increased over the last fifty years. In 1960, we ate our dinner on 9 inch plates. In 2010, our plate size averages 12 inches, representing more than a 30% increase!
Over 400 years ago, St. Ignatius wrote his spiritual exercises. While I was on retreat this past week, I learned that within the exercises, Ignatius wrote several paragraphs about food (#210-217). As I read the passages, I was amazed at how his words have so much relevance today. Here's some key points,
It is good to discover a proper mean for myself in my eating habits. (In other words, don't overeat) #213
If the whole focus of my attention at meals is upon food itself, I can find that I am carried away by my appetites. I may also discover that I am bolting my food so hurriedly that there is little evidence of a Christ-behavior in my activity of eating a meal. Both in the amount of food eaten and in the way it is eaten, I should be ordering my life in Christ. (In other words, if all I am doing is savoring the food, without thinking of anything/anyone else, then I will more than likely overeat. In everything, including what we eat and how we eat it, should have God as a focus) #217
Maybe for some, we love food, drink or something else, more than we love God. For the vast majority of us, excess food isn't making us stronger, it's making us weaker. In place of happiness, overeating is giving us increasing misery. Can that really be what God wants for us?
So, what should we do? Get our lives in order. Not just the physical, but also the spiritual and mental/emotional. We need to be asking ourselves if our lives are balanced. Upon prayerful examination, if the answer is no, then now is the time to start. Don't worry about yesterday. Start fresh tomorrow. Since summer is here and the heat is on, here's a great recipe to get you started. By using Dreamfields Pasta, you reduce the total number of carbs per serving by nearly 70%.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing
1 box uncooked Dreamfields Elbows
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts (packed in water; quarter if whole)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, diced
1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata or black olives
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise (more if desired)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cold water and drain again.
- In large bowl combine pasta, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, tomatoes, red peppers and olives.
- In medium bowl combine mayonnaise, herbs and vinegar. Stir to combine. Add to pasta mixture; toss until well coated (add extra vinegar if necessary for consistency). Season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Refrigerate, covered, 4 hours or overnight to chill completely.
Makes 6 main dish servings.
Nutrition information (1/6 of recipe): 365 calories; 12 g protein; 18 g digestible carbohydrates*; 11 g total fat; 3 g saturated fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 863 mg sodium; 8 g total dietary fiber. (information provided by Dreamfields Pasta)
For those of you who can't cook, here's a video link to the Dreamfields website that will help get impressive results. Enjoy!
I almost forgot one last thing... Get some smaller plates :)