” Most people spend the first forty years of their lives unknowingly harming their bodies and the next forty trying to stay alive. I was the poster boy for this behavior, but I’m committed to spend the next 40 living fully—and healthfully.”
–Joe Cross, Filmmaker of “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”
During this Lenten season I have been able to witness a new Lenten practice from our former congregation, Broadway UMC in Indianapolis. Lent is a season often known for “giving up” something…you know, chocolate, candy, alcohol, meat, or in my case this year, wheat gluten. It is a reminder that God fully provides our sustenance without our need for such things and also it is a good practice for forming strong spiritual disciplines. This approach, however, has one downfall and that is that it tends to point at what we do not possess or consume and has the potential to lack awareness to what God is doing or has provided us already in our lives. It neglects to celebrate the abundance that God has already given us. So, this Lent, the folks of Broadway UMC decided to look at their lives as being filled with abundance and the challenge was for them to take a picture every day for 40 days of that abundance and post it on Facebook. I have truly enjoyed witnessing the abundance in people’s lives from sunsets, food, children in sports, diplomas, and musicians. What a wonderful way to spend the Lenten season, honoring and bringing attention to where it is that God is at work and abundantly calling us “to life.”
I couldn’t help but think of this notion of abundance as I came across a newly found space of abundance in our vegan life. Near the beginning of Lent I came across this documentary video by Joe Cross called, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” and I found it inspiring. It was a story of an Australian man who found himself incredibly sick because of how poorly he was eating. He was so fat and miserable and because of a debilitating disease found himself on the brink of death. Until, one day he discovered the power of juicing and decided to live a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. He bought a juicer and decided to go on a 60 day juicing cleanse before moving into living a fully balanced life. For 60 days he would consume nothing but juice for meals and water. He would try all different kinds of juices that included fruits and veggies mostly and through this process he ends up changing his body, his life, and the lives of many others whom he meets along the way. The most inspiring was the story of a 400 pound man who transforms his life by going on this same 60 day fast and he eventually loses a ton of weight and gets his life back. Wow, what a great story!
I (Chad) am not naïve enough to believe that the secret to a healthy lifestyle is simply drinking juice at all meals and neither is Joe Cross who produced the film. He was doing a cleanse and not trying to produce a new fad diet. His goal was a balanced life and this begins with the juice cleanse to get all the nasty toxins out of the body so our body can literally reboot. Hence, his website is rebootwithjoe.com. I found this idea of utilizing fruits and vegetables, in their raw and living form, to be so inspiring and connected to my desire to be more balanced in my eating habits, that I had to try this new idea of juicing (Well, new to me anyway). We did not own a juicer, so we did some research and asking around about juicers and sure enough we bought a Jack La Lanne’s Power Juicer and it is awesome!
Ever since we got the juicer I have been juicing daily. My morning breakfast now consists of a palm full of almonds, 2 dates, and the juice I make for the morning. I find that this fills me up for the morning and packs into my body wonderful vitamins and antioxidants that I would not be getting through heavy gluten filled breads like toast or bagels or with sugary cereals. Now in the evenings instead of filling my body with junk food nightly as I watch my favorite shows, I will make myself a juice. It truly has transformed my thinking about the way I eat and about my over all health.
As far as I am concerned, this is abundance, a place in my life of connected joy and peace where it was needed and where it had really been all along. I have always had a desire to be more healthy, to connect with my body, to eat more raw and living foods, but never had the discipline. I have tended, even in being vegan, to fill my body with negative and toxic foods, certainly foods that do not connect to a whole foods plant based diet. Now, I see this new practice of juicing each day as a mountain of abundance, one that fills me not only with the foods my body truly needs, but is a place of joy. I really truly do (en)joy the process of making juice and discovering new recipes and knowing that I am doing my body a huge favor every time I drink a glass. This is abundance beyond measure, so thank you Broadway for reminding me of the power of abundance in food and thank you Joe Cross for opening my mind to a new way of eating and drinking in my life.
I continue to find ways of putting together new recipes from day to day, but here is my favorite to this point. Try it yourself and enjoy.
Orange Delight (2 servings)
1 lemon (peeled)
1 mango (peeled and cored)
3 oranges (peeled)
1 sweet potato