October Unprocessed Week 1
I do our grocery shopping mid-week, generally utilizing coupons, ad sales, meal-planning and general basic math and food knowledge to maximize our options and minimize our grocery bill. Perhaps it was meant to be that I shopped this week sans meal plan, with only a sparse list of essentials and an envelope stuffed with coupons. I hadn’t spent the hour (or more) planning for my grocery trip and I had put ZERO thought into meals for the week outside of knowing I would be buying for the start of October Unprocessed.
My mom graciously watched my (teething)son while I shopped this week. When I have The Bear in tow, I can usually hit two different stores and be home in about 1.5 hours. This week, it took me TWO HOURS to navigate the two stores solo, since my thought process for every item went something like this:
“I don’t think so, but let me check, anyway.”
“Oh, damn, there’s some random additive in this. PROCESSED!”
“Ok, good, not processed. But, wait, what?! It’s how much?!”
“Well, maybe I have a coupon for that.”
(Rustles through crinkled, disorganized coupon envelope)
“Ok, well, I’ll get it anyway.”
“I can’t spend that on THIS!”
“Is this just going to be one of my ‘exceptions’ to the rules?”
Ah, the rules. If you haven’t checked out eatingRules and the discussions surrounding what is and is not considered processed, do so, but be prepared to feel like everything you knew about healthy eating just got balled up, spit on, and thrown back into your face by the bully at your middle school lunch table. These people are SERIOUS. (For example, someone took issue with baking soda. BAKING SODA.) So, you can see why I second-guessed everything. I don’t want to be the gung-ho blogger out there who’s “Doing October Unprocessed” but is really just the know-it-all nerd everyone is snickering at from the back of the classroom. (Sidebar: Do you think I have latent school issues?) It all becomes further complicated when you consider that we don’t eat too much dairy and have limited options for fresh produce and meat.
So let me Show & Tell what I bought:
I also bought but didn’t photograph: 2 lbs organic chicken thighs, london broil, baby carrots, cabbage, frozen peas, frozen spinach, frozen berries, whole wheat flour, and yeast. I also bought some other items like granola, ice cream, and kid-friendly organic snack crackers, that are definitely considered “processed,” but they were on sale and I had coupons, so I stocked up. And if you have a cranky toddler, you know that back-up plans are essential!
You’ll note that I buy a lot of frozen veggies and fruit. This is because local, organic options are quite difficult to come by. The same goes for meat and dairy. Local, organic meat is at least an hour drive away at an organic CSA farm that also stocks eggs and dairy items. We may make more of an effort to get there, but the reality of that is slim right now.
A loose meal plan for the week is:
Breakfast: oatmeal with fruit –or– yogurt/cinnamon/flax with fruit and homemade bread
Lunches: leftover dinner, Sunbutter sandwiches and fruit, quinoa or rice with veggies
4)butternut squash soup w/homemade bread,
5)roasted,glazed chicken/acorn squash/quinoa,
6)london broil w/sauteed mushrooms & onions/potatoes/carrots,
7)Something From Nothing Meal–maybe these? with homemade buns?
So, I might have done okay except for my coconut milk (processed) and kiddie cracker purchases. Only preparation of the meals will tell the truth…
Here’s What I’ve Learned So Far
1) It’s no wonder that more people don’t eat Unprocessed. It takes an incredible amount of planning, not to mention cooking skills, and a working knowledge of food practices in the U.S. I’d say that the number of people in this country who know how to prepare a meal has declined. And those who know how to prepare meals are working with a skill set they’ve grown accustomed to using. I’m working on a post for next week which addresses these ideas.
2)Yeah, “this shit is hard,” but I’m thinking outside of my comfortable, little box. I felt pretty confident in our eating habits (and I still do), but it’s good to reevaluate once in awhile. Additionally, I’ve been brainstorming some ways to inform my community about an Unprocessed way of life!
3)I’m doing what I can. After I snapped the photo of the groceries for today’s post, I snapped this one (at 5:30 am, mind you):
This is the other side of the countertop where those groceries were photographed. And this is a good day regarding mess. It’s kind-of a snapshot of our life: a stroller in the kitchen, since we have no storage space other than the back of our Jeep Liberty, recycled and reusable goods, ready for their next life, a to-do list, broken down by hours, a National Geographic, for pleasure reading (hahahahahahahaha), the baby monitor, ticking down the minutes until I become a quinoa-banana-covered heap scrambling for an audience-less moment to pee, a breast pump, not for pumping, but because our son loves to turn it one and let the hoses suction his tongue (::facepalm::), and gum, which is PROCESSED! but we all have to freshen our nasty mouths sometimes, you know, because shit may be hard but we don’t have to smell like it.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll try making my own baking soda. (This is the part where you join me in a good guffaw.)
So how do you think Week One will go for you? Do you have a plan? Let’s support each other through it.
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