The green smoothie I’m chugging is purple thanks to blueberries seasonal, fresh, and cheap. It’s also sporting lettuce, mango, coconut milk and seeds (flax, chia, and hemp). In case you’re interested, the five basic components of the best green smoothies[i] are:
Greens Approximately 2 cups of whatever you have or can get – spinach, kale, lettuce (darker leaves pack more nutrients), or chard (this flavor can be intense, so make sure you like it before you commit).
Creamy fruit like a banana, mango, papaya, or avocado.
Sweet fruit like berries, cherries, pear, apple, or citrus.
Liquid 1 ½ cups of water, juice, milk (almond, coconut, or soy), or a combination of these.
Boosts like flax, chia, and hemp seeds. [These were always on my packing list to bring back to China or to request in care packages. Costco (an American wholesale warehouse) rocks big bags of easily transported goodness.]
Put it all in a blender and whiz-a-roo. My blender in China was challenged, so I blended in batches. There’s enough here to share or to store in the fridge for several days.
But the story I really want to tell is about another drink that had my heart, until recently.
Back in early February I started thinking about what to give up for Lent, the forty days leading up to Easter. I wanted it to match my One Word for the year, which is slow. What could I give up that would help me gear down? The answer came pretty quickly, but I didn’t let it through for several days. Coffee.
On a Sunday morning before Ash Wednesday I sat clutching savoring my cup as the Pastor prepared us for Lent saying that what we choose to give up creates a gap in us that we can fill with God instead. He said that some years by the end of Lent, he doesn’t add whatever-it-is back into his life at all. Thankfully, I was able to stifle my snort. I’m getting coffee back, I prayed.
Ash Wednesday dawned and I had a cup of green tea, and an incredible headache by the evening. Much of my everyday was anchored by my coffee habit, and truthfully, I hated the discomfort it created in me and my relationships to forego.
I was already praying the daily office by then, but over those Lenten weeks the habit anchored into some deep crevice in me when before it had floated on top of my liquid god.
Fast forward to Easter. I got up with the sun and alleluia-ed my way through my coffee routine of boiling, measuring, grinding, and percolating. It tasted amazing and I gave thanks, but by mid-morning I felt like crum-diddly I was so jittery. I knew I could get my tolerance back, but I had an itty-bitty doubt that I wanted to.
I continued recreating my habit that week after Easter, and by Saturday my face was back to normal. By normal, I mean marked by the deep and painful cystic acne that has plagued me for years. I asked Nick if he thought there could be a connection, and later that afternoon he sent me this article.
It would have meant nothing to me before. I would not have stifled my snort, and just continued on my caffeine-fueled way. For good measure I might have sought out an article on the merits of coffee consumption and liked it, tweeted it, and shared it.
Now, I couldn’t deny that God had gently, incrementally moved me to an altar where the offering wasn’t only about cultivating a more robust prayer life, but was also for my good physical and mental health. Mercy.
If you don’t have a rock-solid reason to set your cup down, don’t do it! The comfort and community created by coffee culture can be evidence of God with us. This isn’t about coffee in particular.
To make consistently healthy choices, we have to have a taste for healthy things. That taste can be acquired…apparently, in about forty days.
May we each have a taste for the good stuff.
Is there a healthy habit you want to add into your life? An unhealthy one you want to subtract? Could you give it forty days?
[i] Adapted from Thug Kitchen.
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