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Enough and To Spare
By Carolyn Allen

Even in times of economic difficulties, there is often no shortage of food. To master our physical appetites and carnal inclinations is one of the main purposes of mortality. Our Heavenly Father is a loving father who will help us succeed! Today’s article includes spiritual and practical remedies for managing simply too much food.

In the spring of 2001, shortly before her 80 th birthday, my mother, Barbara Brewerton Lee traded her part-time assignment as a worker at the San Diego Temple for a full-time assignment at the Washington, D.C. Temple to be closer to us. She sold her memory-filled Escondido home, packed up her favorite treasures, sold and lovingly gave away the rest and went to work creating a lovely new home in the Kensington, Maryland temple apartments.

Her new home in the shadow of the temple was only 45 minutes from us and it was fun, though not free, to settle in. As a child of the Great Depression and the widow of an independent businessman with many financial ups and downs, she is well-acquainted with the economic angst that most of us are experiencing now and was grateful to be done with the expenses of moving. One early summer morning shortly after school was out, my children and I drove over to visit and go shopping for a few things her new home still needed. Instinctively frugal, especially after spending the money required to move and start over, we headed (of course!) to the thrift shops she has taught us to love and headed for a large one that had been recommended by other temple workers. It was, indeed, a treasure trove and we quickly found the things that were top on our list: some games for the kids to play when they visited and some pretty silk greenery and a few items for the shelves of her bookcases and a china cabinet.

We had a great time that day, and as we waved good-bye, her apartment was even sweeter than before with shelves that were decorated and the game cupboard filled. And that was that … or so we thought.

When I visited her several weeks later, she pointed to one of the plants that we had purchased and shared an amazing story. One evening after a long day at the temple, she was resting and looked at the plant. It seemed overly full in its basket, so she got up to rearrange it. As she pulled it out, there at the base of the basket were three small, handsome and very new dark blue cardboard boxes. As she lifted the lid off of each one, there, with the cellophane wrappers undisturbed and the certificates unopened, were solid gold brand-new American bullion coins.

As she gasped in amazement, the message of the coins was as clear as a voice from heaven: “Barbara, you are always taken care of. There is no need ever for you to fear for lack of anything you may need. These coins are yours to assure you that you are loved and watched over in ways beyond your own understanding. Your service and life are of great worth to me and you need never worry about money again.”

The monetary value of each coin was about $400. The real value, of course, had nothing to do with money at all. The message from a loving Heaven was quite simple: Be still and know that I am God, there is enough and to spare! There will always be enough and to spare!”

“Enough and to spare.” It seems to be the Lord’s way, does it not? How many stars? How many sunsets? How many seeds in an individual apple, watermelon or tomato? Far more than is ever needed to replenish the one that has been used … “enough and to spare”

He himself, the Master of Abundance, After feeding the 5,000 created leftovers with the fish and the barley loaves. “… they gathered together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves , which remained over and above unto them that had … (John 6:13)

No wonder we are programmed to buy and cook and serve more than is necessary! It comes from God himself.

“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea I prepared all things and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.” (D&C 104:17)

Agents unto themselves ” … now those are divinely appointed words meant for each of us who loves to eat!

Though there is poverty and not enough food in much of the world, and for many of us, cash is in short supply, even in times of economic hardship for most of us, there is food in abundance. As members of the Church, we have learned how cook vast quantities economically. Individual servings at restaurants are frequently enough for 2-3 servings. Unfortunately, the concept of what is an appropriate serving has grown substantially over the years. A recipe in a 1950’s Betty Crocker cookbook often yielded double what a current similar recipe yields.

Liz Mont, an online nutritionist writes:

Over the past few decades, portion sizes of everything from muffins to sandwiches have grown considerably. Unfortunately, America ‘s waistbands have reacted accordingly. In the 1970s, around 47 percent of Americans were overweight or obese; now 66 percent of us are. In addition, the number of just obese people has doubled, from 15 percent of our population to 30 percent.

While increased sizes haven’t been the sole contributor to our obesity epidemic, large quantities of cheap food have distorted our perceptions of what a typical meal is supposed to look like. These portion comparisons, adapted from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Portion Distortion Quiz, give a visual representation of what sizes used to be compared to what they are today.

Two Slices of Pizza

Twenty years ago Today
500 calories
850 calories

Those extra 350 calories, if eaten two times a month, would put on two extra pounds a year, or forty pounds in the next two decades.

Movie Popcorn

Twenty Years Ago
5 cups Tub
270 calories
630 calories

We don’t have to eat those extra 360 calories in the tub of popcorn, but that’s easier said than (not) done. Studies indicate that when given food in larger containers, people will consume more. In a 1996 Cornell University study, people in a movie theater ate from either medium (120g) or large (240g) buckets of popcorn, then divided into two groups based on whether they liked the taste of the popcorn. The results: people with the large size ate more than those with the medium size, regardless of how participants rated the taste of the popcorn.

Interesting, isn’t it? But, after educating ourselves on correct portions with measuring cups, spoons and scales, what are we to do to STOP ourselves from continuing to eat, whether it tastes good (or not) or we’re hungry (or not). From personal experience, I know for a fact that genuine hunger is rarely the reason that many of us continue to eat when we’ve had enough, yet there is plenty to spare – so we continue to eat.

Almost as if we didn’t eat it, then no one would eat it and THAT would be a bigger problem than too much food.

The Lord, however will not leave us on our own to master ourselves and physical temptations. To overcome ourselves and carnal inclinations is one of the main reasons for mortality, and He, as any loving Father, wants us to succeed!

Here are both some practical remedies (from me) and a spiritual remedy from Him) to help us cope with an over-abundance of food.

1) We all know it’s more economical to buy in bulk. When you get those precious (and expensive) groceries home, subdivide into correct portions using baggies or freezer containers. Use a black sharpie marker to write down the number of calories as a reminder for what you’re really eating. When they’re on sale, buy single-serving pre-portioned foods.

HIDE the extras in cupboards or freezers. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a helping thought here.

2) Buy smaller fruits! It’s easy to buy the luscious big ones, but they are (of course) almost double in calories, and since we don’t want to waste a half a banana or an apple that’s quick to brown, how often we just eat it anyway so it “won’t go to waste.”

3) Prepare smaller amounts. A big challenge for parents with young children is the food that the children do not eat. It’s far too easy to eat your own lunch, then add a child’s abandoned, calorie-laden peanut butter sandwich too. By simply preparing less for them – even of a peanut butter sandwich with a little fruit on the side and some milk is enough for many toddlers, there’s enough for them to get started. If they want more, it’s easy to make another little sandwich, or serve a little more from the pot.

4) Speaking of the pot, measure and serve directly from the pot rather than a serving dish. It’s easier to avoid “seconds” or “little tastes” from the “enough and to spare” sized serving bowls, and leaves the food in the pot ready for storing for usable leftovers.

5) At restaurants, where you know there will be “enough and to spare”, ask for a leftover container to be brought to you at the same time the meal comes . Leave a wisely-portioned amount on your plate, and take the leftovers home for later. You may even ask the waiter to put half of the amount in the container, and serve you only half to begin with. Once again, “Out of sight out of mind” is a goooood thing!

6) If you’re at a gathering with an abundance of food, a glass of water or a water bottle in hand makes it much easier to continue to socialize without eating.

7) If it is difficult to “throw things out” consider how thick peelings and seeds, etc. are easily discarded as unnecessary. I think the Lord is sending us a message that it’s OK to throw things away.

Though we must do our part in practical ways, the spiritual remedy for coping with too much food however is delightfully simple:

Simply use the Lord’s own words and say to yourself when there is too much food than we would loved to eat: “There is enough and to spare here! It is not my job or my right to eat more than is wise for my body. I can leave the rest for someone else, or even throw it away, for I am an agent unto myself with powers from on high.”

Then … once again just smile and walk away knowing that God (and health) are lovingly near.

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