I read a study a while back that said the vast majority of American households have only about 100 food items that they buy at the grocery store. Which items compose the 100 will vary wildly from household to household, of course, but the idea is that most of us have a set menu of items that make up the food we consume. Without life-changing events that change our diet (like going vegan, developing a health issue that limits diet, or welcoming a new person into the household) we typically stick to what is familiar.
A couple of things come to mind for me when I think about this statistic, which is definitely true for my grocery-buying habits. One is that our ancestors would have loved to enjoy a diet consisting of so many items. I have often heard people from other countries remark at the immense amount of choice that exists in modern American grocery stores. Even just one generation ago, as my parents were growing up, they were largely limited to eating the food they grew. The other is the tragic reality that, today, people around the world would also love to have such a diverse diet. Even outside of natural disasters like floods and droughts that destroy crops (and which are increasing in number and severity due to climate change) millions of people lack access to nutritious food and clean water, much less the variety of 100 choices which feels “limited” to me as an American consumer.
Much more can be said about this, of course, and there will be time for that in other settings. Global Ministries, One Great Hour of Sharing, Doctors Without Borders, and the UCC Disaster Ministries are great places to look if you’d like to learn more on your own and/or if you’d like to donate your time or talents to helping our global neighbors.
One last thought on the idea of “diet”—that is, what we take into ourselves. What is our spiritual “diet” like? What experiences, readings, and practices are we ingesting to nourish our inner selves? Perhaps the image of attending church—either virtually or in-person—popped into your mind. I’d definitely say that’s one of the main spiritual food groups, but how are we enriching our diets? For me, I find great value in poetry, music, art, learning about other faiths, serving others, getting out into nature, and meditation. How about you? I’d love to hear what feeds your spirit! Blessings,