It’s been a while since I’ve written a “Reason of the Month” post on this blog. The reason for that has sadly been a multitude of other commitments in my life. But it’s not such a sad thing, you see; being committed is something to be supremely proud of and excited by. And everybody has their own share of commitments, whether it’s to their job or their God. For two whole years, I was committed to a set of self-imposed rules that led me into the kitchen every day, for my health and sustenance as much as the bedroom or bathroom provided those necessary routines. (Isn’t it ironic that the room we could most easily live without is the “living room”?) I decided to cook instead of take-out or eat out for a prolonged period of time, and kept at it for the sake of commitment.
Truly, it was the fuel of commitment that drove it. Every other benefit, every other “Reason For Not Eating Out” that came to light in its duration I’ve practiced, researched, and meditated on more — such as choosing more healthful, yet budget-friendly foods, and shopping in season from farmers who I would hand over a million to if I could. But they couldn’t have come to light if I hadn’t taken the leap.
Commitment is a strange thing and it can compel you to do strange things — such as break out a half-eaten round of herbed flatbread that you baked that morning to share with a person you were on a date with that night at a bar. It could be running through the sleet and hail to make it to your Zumba class on time. It might even lead you to wrong decisions, such as staying in an abusive relationship, or sacrificing your health for the sake of a time-sensitive project. On the flipside of my experiment, I could have determined to eat in every single restaurant in New York City as they came and went (or eaten only fast food for a few months), and suffered a bellyache or worse physical ailments. The plans and outcomes are limitless. But the point is that you determined it, and that’s an empowering everyday reminder. It’s about sticking to a principle that was only put in place by your own determination, and honoring that because you believe in it for some reason.
You really can’t predict what will come when you commit to something — you have to let it take hold of you and live with you in order to find out. I think that’s the benefit of committing to something. That you’re intentionally allowing for that commitment to fully realize itself, and maybe make you realize things that you weren’t really sure about before signing up. Naturally, we all think about personal relationships when it comes to the word “commitment,” and that’s fair, because “signing up” to be “committed” to another human individual is a meaty topic, and it has engendered many blogs, books, philosophies, and human quandaries throughout time. But let’s take it back to a more “digestible” level, for the sake of one single post on one single blog (this one).
Do you wish to be more in control of the food calories that go into your body?
Do you have an adventurous appetite that you can’t afford by going out to restaurants all the time?
Would you like to support more sustainable, humane and responsible food production practices through your necessary food spending dollars?
Did you at some point resolve to cook more for yourself and/or family, as perhaps a New Year’s resolution or even the founding of a career change or choice?
These are some common commitments that I hear people pledging to (or thinking about pledging to) often. Some might seem like broad topics that are impossible to tackle alone in some tangible quest, but they become so much easier to follow when you simply cook more for yourself, from ingredients you’ve chosen and purchased. (I can say this from experience, although I’m definitely not saying that everyone should go on a long boycott of restaurant food.) How else these commitments to food can be followed is entirely up to the individual, though. It might be by joining a CSA for the spring and summer months, or starting a club with your friends to explore different cuisines every month. It’s your own pact with yourself, so you can make up the rules. What’s important is that some commitment has been made, and therein lies an empowering, motivating fuel that clicks on and changes your outlook every day. The commitment lives. Let yourself be surprised by the results!