January 18th, 2011 // 9:00 am @ admin
I’ve now written 29 books with a mechanical pencil. I’ve never typed and I’m almost 77 years old. The mere sight of a computer made me cringe. So . . . now I’m here typing with two fingers, my eyes glued to the keyboard and out of my socks about how it feels to communicate with you, whoever you are, and knowing that you really are reading this is, as another generation has put it . . . awesome!
All this to say that my good friend Daniel Livengood (yes this really is his splendid name) who is my webmaster et al, tells me that I need to give you some more understanding of how the Double Benefit actually works.
Let me give you a little personal background first.
Back in 1960 I went on TV for the first time in New Zealand, the show migrated to Australia and Canada and finally to the US and worldwide in 1969 as the Galloping Gourmet which possibly (who really knows with ratings!?) was the world’s most watched one person on one subject show in TV history.
On this, please let me know of whoever might be that person/show . . . I’d be happy to know for sure and perfectly willing to take a lesser placing because, frankly, I get more doubtful that numbers are of any real value in determining both passion and purpose.
My passion has always been to pass on ways to prepare great food for people to enjoy. At first I had a rather one track understanding of what great food was. For me it was a neck-up standard. If it looked good, smelt good, tasted good . . . it was great food.
What happened after someone else swallowed it was theirs to digest. If someone found it did harm, caused weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and some cancers . . . well, I would have obviously regretted it, but honestly I didn’t give it another (or even a first) thought.
Until my wife, Treena has a stroke and a heart attack. Now that, my friend, can change a man’s entire career. It did mine!
Her needs led to my understanding of the Double Benefit. It began, quite reasonably, with the first benefit that is normally selfish. Psychology 101 tells us that we humans naturally pursue pleasure and avoid pain. We had certainly pursued pleasure by eating very high on the hog but now we were experiencing the painful consequences of that natural indulgence.
It was very clear that we needed to make some pretty radical changes in our day to day consumption. Part of these changes involved what I now call the shift-list of favorite foods. We simply reviewed our consumption of high fat, high sodium, and high refined carbohydrate (usually white and always manufactured).
We reduced the volume of our consumption of risky ‘high’ foods by about 50%. Example: 10 oz meat and meat products (bacon, sausage, etc.); were reduced to 5 oz (raw weight).
This meant that our portions sizes were dramatically less and we needed more vegetables to fill up the plate. These we found from our Food Preference Sheet (FPS). We knew what we preferred, so we used more of them to replace the meat.
Now you can see why we called it the shift-list. We shifted a good deal of saturated fat and replaced it with more personally enjoyed vegetables.
We had, in fact pursued pleasure and avoided pain; so this became a natural personal first benefit. It was then that the second benefit arrived. I noticed that we were saving money on our very strict food budget (we were serving others by faith at that time and had no income and very little savings, but that’s another story!)
Our family was four, with three adults and one teenager. Our meat costs had dropped by about $20 a week, just over 70 cents per day. I found that we spent about 35 cents of that savings on vegetables which gave us a net savings of 35 cents each.
IMPORTANT FACT HERE! It’s vital, in my opinion, to get to own this saving personally so that one can reap the second benefit personally. Multiply the 35 cents per day back out to one month and its $10.50, multiply that by our 4 person family and it became $42 a month or just over $500 a year.
Now please remember, we had already received the first benefit; our much lowered risk factor on what we consumed by habit that was harming us. We’d replaced it with what was good for us (each of us need about 9 to 11 servings of plant food every day.)
We now had, in addition, a small cash savings. In a real way it was ‘new’ money and we could easily have spent it on upgrading our old TV set or paying off more of the mortgage, but we chose to enter into the idea of the second benefit.
This is where our daily lifestyle truly changed direction to follow in our previous spiritual pathway. You must have heard of the so-called Golden Rule, “do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” This isn’t natural behavior; it’s super-natural and motivated by being fully aware of those with whom we share our immediate space, our neighbors.
We had a revelation as we pondered how we might spend our recent savings. We chose (as a family, each with a daily 35 cents to spend) to invest in the least of the little ones; a child in Ethiopia named Sadik and another child in the slums of Brazil called Elisangela.
Our annual family food budget savings of $500 exactly met their personal ‘wellness’ for food, medical care and basic education (we currently support the work of Childcare Worldwide).
We have kept to this lifestyle change since 1982, so that one change has, over 38 years meant about $8,000 (our family reduced to two a few years later.)
We were so pleased with the results that we went looking deliberately for other habits that might either harm or hinder us in “loving our neighbors as ourselves.”
So this was the very raw beginning of our journey, one that we can now share with you. PLEASE understand us, this must be a very personal decision and whatever YOU choose to do on your shift-list is your business alone. Don’t ever make your choice a rule for someone else. Whatever they choose to do with their lives and lifestyles is their business not yours.
So, let’s continue to talk this over and share the joy that comes from such a journey. There’s no end of neighbors out there for us to love together.