Carley’s Story: Service

I am not sure which gift of Suppers has more meaning for me: learning to be less judgmental or learning to prepare healthy food. In a way, both are about nourishment. The food part is obvious. But learning to not judge feeds me just as much as food because it has changed how people relate to me. The less fault finding I am in my relationships, the more people respond to me with acceptance, love, and understanding.

An important service I can provide to my group and my community is modeling healthy behaviors and attitudes. OK, to be honest there is a slight gloating feeling that goes along with having people get jealous that my children eat well and behave well, but that’s only human. My behaviors reflect my pure intentions. And my intention and behaviors make people understand that I care.

I am always happy to teach people what I know, invite them to learn for themselves at Suppers, cook with their children to provide another adult role model, or listen when they need to talk about how frustrating it is to live in our society’s food culture. Sometimes just listening is the greatest service I can provide.

The Suppers model of “nutritional harm reduction” is very gentle. It takes a colossal task like cleaning up the family diet and breaks it down into manageable steps that can be accomplished in no particular order. It gives people many choices about how to proceed that are doable, if not exactly easy to do. It helps people focus their energies where there is the most possibility of success instead of spinning their wheels doing the same things over and over with bad results.

Nobody rushed me along when I arrived at Suppers. Long before I acquired a taste for purifying green foods, I had to dump a load of toxic waste in the form of criticism and judgment. They kept me on a ladder looking up at some and down on others but never sharing the same space. Having received so much, it is a joyful experience for me to go forth into my community knowing there are two kinds of service I am well equipped to provide: quietly modeling nonjudgment and actively teaching others how to prepare and develop a palate for real food.