• Ken Caputo

Wings, beer, and...rice?

Do you have a kryptonite food? You know, something you LOVE to eat. (If you answered kale, just stop reading, the rest of us don’t want to talk to you right now). I’m talking about the kind of food that will lead you into all of those conversations with yourself like “I’ve been really good, I deserve it.” and “Today sucked. The heck with it.”

Before you know it, there you are: a crumb-filled mess left trying to justify the entire box of Girl Scout cookies you wiped out while binge watching netflix.

For me, it’s wings and beer. I love wings and beer. One of my favorite things to do when I’m having a difficult time with life is to go someplace alone and sit down - preferably at a bar where there is noise and conversation around me - and fill my belly with my favorite form of kryptonite.

Part of this love for me stems from the places you go to get wings and beer. There are usually sports on the televisions at these places, and a casual feel of people just decompressing from whatever had squeezed them tight that day.

The Willimantic Brewery became my safe haven for a couple of years. Barry was always ready with a smile and a recommendation, and I could sit there among the noise being mostly ignored and just eat and think. Sometimes I’d think to myself “I’ll get a salad” and then laugh mockingly in my head at how ridiculous of an idea that would be because...wings and beer duh.

The joy that is 2020 put a stop to this. Let me tell you, I missed it. I still do. However something interesting has happened. I focus on nutrition a lot. And in spite of my profound love of wings and beer, I actually eat as clean as possible. The word “clean” describes meals that are made of mostly single ingredient foods. Lean meat cuts instead of hotdogs. Sweet potatoes instead of French fries. That sort of thing. “Clean” basically means minimally processed and no chemicals or crap added in.

Anyway, I’ve been getting REALLY serious about being as healthy as possible. I want to see at least one hundred Questers’ Ways built in the next ten years, and it feels important to be able to function at my best both physically and mentally so I can do my part.

One of the things I’ve gotten serious about is adding time restrictive fasting to my wellness practices. I mostly do a 18:6 or 16:8. (The second number is your feed window. The first number is the hours you fast.)

I started noticing something when I would break my fast. My first solid food of the day tends to be long grain rice and steamed veggies. I know, you’re like “Wow. Bleh. Boring.” I would actually agree with you. Here’s the thing though. The feeling of that warm rice hitting an empty belly is GLORIOUS. The level of appreciation I now have for simple, inexpensive, nutrient dense foods has been life changing.

What’s happened is I’ve had a shift in my relationship with food. I have a greater appreciation for eating for the long term gain, instead of the short term satisfaction.

So here’s a question for you: What is your relationship with eating?

It’s an interesting thought experiment. I found that I ate a lot of what I was eating to comfort whatever emptiness I was feeling inside. It didn’t really work. Shifting to thinking of eating as something that fueled my body, mind, and spirit so that I could better do the work I love to do - that is working out much better. Eating for a purpose instead of just eating because we need to eat has been a valuable shift in perspective for me. Maybe it will be for you too 🙂

You have good work to do too. Why not decide to fill yourself up with fuel that helps you do that? Just don’t try to abstain from your kryptonite. Instead, moderate it so it’s something you feel is in balance. I’m relatively sure wings and beer will always be part of my life. Only now, I’m aware of the trade off it represents, and do my best to consciously choose how much and how often.

Really, it starts with noticing what you eat, and why you are eating it. Go easy on yourself. For some of us, what we learn from this isn’t all that pretty. It’s ok. Let it be interesting information. Make few small changes if it makes sense to do so. One bite at a time is the best way to eat, right?

I also think the feeling of being hungry is something worth becoming familiar with. Too many people on our planet live that way all the time. Those of us who have access to food pretty much 24/7 have no idea what that is like. I’ve yet to go past 48 hours of fasting, so I still feel like I don’t know what it’s like to be truly hungry. I also know that there is food waiting for me when it’s time to resume eating. So many do not live with that certainty.

It’s lead me to do what I can to help. I donate to Action Against Hunger and Charity Water monthly now. Just whatever I can do. Hopefully I’ll be able to do more in the future. When we start building more centers, Crossroads Cafe in each community will help fund programs providing food to those in need locally. And of course, our Food for Thought program will continue to pay off school lunch debt everywhere we go.

Maybe there is something you can do, even if it’s as simple as sharing the Charity Water facebook page.

Whatever you choose to do, it’s worth taking a little time to reflect on your relationship with eating and with food. What you fill yourself up with is what spills over, and that certainly holds true for fuel we put into our body.

So go ahead and make your main course be things that are good for you, then complement it with a side of whatever deliciousness makes you happy.

You deserve it :)

Ps. Just to be clear, I’m still going to eat wings and drink beer.

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