the simple minded suburbanite


In Process of Unprocessed
June 14, 2010, 1:03 pm
Filed under: budget, culture, nutrition, parenting, suburban, suburbanite

When asked that Proust/Vanity Fair question/conversation starter, “What is the greatest invention of the last century?” I answer, “The Double Stuffed Oreo cookie.”

I realize that this does not accurately reflect my committment to providing healthy meals and snacks to my family, and yes even to myself, nor does it give credit to the computer, the microwave, the stealth bomber.  But I do think it adds a little whimsy, reflects both the good and the bad of nearly any man-made invention, and illustrates the tract I am on regarding the whole organic, local, unprocessed food thing.  Who knew a sugary round of dark chocolate delight could be so profound? Yes, I do adore the Oreo.  And yes, I do work it into my healthy, responsible, back-to-nature nutrition tract that I am wandering.

After watching Food 101, a documentary about where our food really comes from and what is actually in it, as well as embarking upon all of Michael Pollen’s books including Omnivore’s Dilema, I am making real changes in my family’s diet, and therefore, our environmental footprint.

Two recent changes I have made are: subscribing to a local/organic fruit and veggie coop and committing to buying grass fed/free range meat whenever available.  For $30/ week, I get produce delivered to my neighbor’s door (she organized the group).  As someone who loves to cook, this is a thrill for me.  Sometimes I have to come up with a recipe, often using what I already have in my pantry and fridge, for what to do with kale or how to use up the last few pairs left in the fruit bowl. I love the challenge and also love that my weekly meals are now planned around my produce, not around the meat section of my local grocer, which happens to be one of the first stops when you enter to the right. 

I now rethink my meat purchases, given that I am paying a fair amount more for grassfed, often using smaller portions and stretching a once single portion of meat into another recipe say a soup or a sauce.

And, somehow, I seem to be saving money.  I hate the thought of any veggies rotting in my fridge so I make a concerted effort to use them up.  I try to stay away from the grocery store, chosing to use spices and left over pastas from my pantry.  Strawberries with left over whipping cream, is a great snack for the kids and so is the celery with a dose of pb or cream cheese.  Hey!  At the pool, they’re so uungry, they don’t complain.

I’m feeling good about these changes but realize that I am still in process.  I still love a Double Stuffed Oreo.  I’m a Chicagoan by birth so, the thought of nixing hotdogs makes me itch and I don’t care what goes into those things.  The thing is, that with the small healthy changes we make along the way, I can actually enjoy my little indulgences more.  I appreciate them as a treat.  Sit down and savor them and drop the guilt afterwards because I am more often and equally as happily enjoying my kale and my pears throughout the week.

What changes have you made?  Or would like to make?

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