soul and body meet in faith, food, and fitness

What I learned from my lean pantry challenge


Alleluia! It’s Easter now and people have been asking how my lean pantry Lent went. Let me tell you what I’ve learned.

I live a life of food excess.

My pantry remains full by most standards at the end of 40+ days of only allowing myself the purchase of eggs, milk, carrots, bananas, and Shakeology*. Sure, I’m out of a few of my favorite ingredients (butter!) or staples that I use often (quinoa, cumin, black beans), but I’m not even out of vegetables or fruit yet.  I still have meat, pasta, a sweet potato, flour, all the spices you could need and more.
lean pantry challenge
You see, I freeze and can from each summer’s harvest.  Despite having rows of colorful jars filled with the summer’s best, at times I stop myself and think, no, don’t use that jar, you’ll run out before the summer crop begins! But that has never been the case in the years that I’ve canned. The exact purpose of me having canned food is so that I can taste their summery goodness during the bleak midwinter.  The end point? I’m still eating through the peppers, peaches, tomatoes, and zucchini that I preserved last summer.  And they taste good!

I also discovered I eat out a lot. Not at restaurants mind you, but out. Away from my home. I’ve been away from Cincinnati many of the weekends this Lent so I ate what was served or been given the choice of what to order in the case of actual eating out at restaurants.  Or when I am in Cincinnati, I’ve eaten with friends in their homes and been given a share in their abundance.  As a result of my fridge’s lean offerings during Lent, I am more grateful for what is given me. In almost every case of being offered a meal, it included fresh ingredients of some kind and I tasted their goodness rather than hardly noticing them –  had I had those vegetables waiting at home in my own fridge I would have paid no heed.
7: a mutiny against excess
And for the kicker…I started reading the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. Introduced to it by my best friend, she warned me that picking it up invited conviction and scrutiny of my own excess.  Boy was she right (for the record, she usually is).  I made it trough the first chapter where Jen fasts on 7 foods for 30 days and captures her reaction to each day.  I see so much of myself in her experience. Certainly, I had access to a lot more ingredients than she did during her fast, but my babyish, entitled reactions have been the same as her reactions in the first few days of her fast. Only she matures through that experience.  May the Lord help me mature through this too and come out the other side with a clearer view of my blessings and how to be a good steward of the resources I’ve been given. And may it be a sustained difference so I don’t immediately return to my tendency to be a food hoarder.


*I originally mentioned allowing myself the purchase of 4 things, but it occurred to me as I write this that my Shakeology home direct order arrived during Lent, so I did buy it as well.

Author: Jenn at SoulMeetsBodyFitness

Blogger and Beachbody coach at SoulMeetsBody Fitness. I want to share with you my journey of fitness and faith as I discover how intimately the soul and body are connected. It’s my hope that what I’m learning can encourage and spur you on in your own journey to a healthier life – body and soul!

2 thoughts on “What I learned from my lean pantry challenge

  1. Enjoying your blog posts! I’m impressed with your pantry. Perhaps you can do a post with more details later on about how you freeze and can and any tips you have for food preservation. I’d love to learn more. 🙂

    And, thanks for reminding us to be thankful for what we have.

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