Tuesday, February 5, 2008

cleaning out

THE CHALLENGE - I decided to do a pantry challenge/ freezer challenge just after Christmas and we're finally getting to the end of it. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept a "challenge" is where you go on a shopping 'fast' in order to clear out old supplies. The downstairs freezer was unplugged around New Years and the upstairs freezer is getting pretty empty too - maybe one more week. The cabinets are starting to look manageably sparse as well. I have been buying groceries each week, but I'm spending about 1/2 to 1/3 what I normally do and only replacing perishables that are completely consumed and a few ingredients for specific dishes.

A CHANGE OF TASTE - One of the interesting side effects of this clean out is realizing that we are no longer interested in many of the snack and convenience foods we generally keep around. It's nice to have a little here and there but we're just not 'into' it anymore. As the snack foods disappear from the cabinets I'm just NOT replacing them. I've been buying more fresh fruit and making more homemade desserts. Another bonus - this is also freeing up some mental space when it comes to planning meals, allowing me to be a bit more creative with what I make since I'm not staring at the same choices every night. I actually need to think more.

FINDING A NEW WAY - I find myself buying more and more local and organic goods. I find it interesting to observe that people will say they can't afford organic food but will fill their carts with Doritos, Oreos, etc and not even consider the irony. I find myself observing peoples purchases in the grocery store and wondering about their health and lifestyles. Generally 'poor' or 'low income' families like mine will purchase what one would expect: lots of cheap prepared foods, chemical cleaners and disposable paper goods. I wonder if I will someday be able to help them find a new way like I am.

HOLDOUTS - We are BIG soda drinkers. We don't drink coffee but my husband takes 2 16 oz bottles of soda every day for work and will drink at least 2 12 oz glasses at night as well, and he only drinks regular soda not diet! I had given up soda but like a cigarette addict I got sucked back in. I decided to 'treat' myself the week of Christmas and now I'm drinking tons and tons of it. I only drink diet but I still would like to kick it again. I went out and got a faucet mounted water filter. My children are also big milk drinkers so I've been trying to improve our dairy choices. We can't generally afford organic milk so I compromise and buy local r-BST free milk.
I do occasionally splurge and buy 'the good stuff' (as they call it). They may be young but they know the benefits of organics! I made a smooth change from regular white sugar to "raw" sugar by telling everyone it was just 'unbleached' sugar. With 4 kids I don't think I can eliminate sugar altogether.

My mantra right now is "one more week, one more week" not because I want to restock but because I can't wait to see what else I've been able to get rid of in another week!

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