I’m a pastor. I’m a pastor who likes to invite people into my home. Not every pastor feels that way, but I love to fill my house with people. So, weeks ago, I had invited my 5 confirmation students and their families over for dinner on April 22nd to share a meal and talk about their Confirmation Day service.
Whole 30 is hard when you are entertaining. Hosting a meal for middle school kids and their families (including younger siblings) meant serving a kid friendly meal. So, we had trays of frozen mac-n-cheese, breaded chicken strips with all kinds of dips, rolls and butter, fruit salad, and a green salad. I knew I was going to need to be able to make a pretty great salad to eat when others got to eat my favorite comfort food of all time: Stouffer’s mac-n-cheese. I had a salad bar that was quite extensive, including hard boiled eggs, olives, asparagus – so it was filling and was fun to put together (the adults were grateful to see the salad bar, too). It worked. It was perfectly fine eating my great salad next to people eating all that non-Whole-30 food. And I found that I wasn’t even bothered when they ate cake and ice cream that someone had brought. I didn’t even reach for a Lara Bar or anything. They ate their cake, and I chatted with them while they did. I was surprised by that.
All day, I chopped veggies and cleaned the house and set the tables for our dinner. That was all fine, but the hard part was the 20 minutes before people came when I was setting out the food. It was amazing how hard it was not to pop a crouton into my mouth when I poured them from the bag to the bowl. I have been doing really well on Whole 30, and I thought for a bit there that I was going to end up cheating completely by accident: lick my finger when I get some cheese sauce on it when I’m pouring it into the serving dish, pop a parmesan crisp into my mouth as I put them in the serving dish, etc. I made lemonade, but I couldn’t taste it to see if it needed more lemonade mix (so I had a kid taste it when he arrived – and he, predictably, told me it needed more lemonade mix ).
My daughter and I were feeling kind of crabby as the macaroni and cheese came out of the oven, bubbling hot and taunting us. I kind of thought the actual dinner was going to be harder than it was – to stay compliant. But, we did just fine.
After everyone left, I made a salad for tomorrow after church when I eat lunch with the youth while they practice all their leadership roles for Youth Sunday next week. Here’s the clever container I have for salads. The greens and tomatoes go in to the bottom part, then the tray on top has lots of room for things I want to add when I eat the salad, so things don’t get mushy. And that blue button in the middle is a removable dressing cup. And on the bottom of that tray is a fork and knife! So, as long as you don’t put something greasy or gooey in the bottom, the knife and fork are clean and ready for the wipe of a napkin just to get the moisture off. This salad container is from the Sistema line. I have lots of sizes/styles of them and really like everything I have.
Today, I learned: I really am not suffering on Whole 30. I do not feel deprived. I just feel intentional about food. That’s the difference in 48 and I as opposed to 47 and I. 47 and I just ate the moment we thought about food. Now, 48 and I are thinking about it more. Intentionality is not deprivation.
For the record, I had a headache last night, but I just tried to eat something and go to bed to sleep it off. It was there in the morning, and I had a very long day of housework ahead of me, so I took two Excedrin. I’m really glad I did because it did the trick.