Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Eat From The Pantry Challenge -or- Healthy Eating

When the kids were younger-- say, from before the time Aravis was born until around five or six years ago-- we were healthy eaters. By healthy eaters I mean we didn't eat much in the way of convenience food or fast food, cooked almost everything from scratch, consumed little in the way of sweets, and ate veggies with almost every meal. We were barely scraping by, so I purchased the least expensive, conventionally grown foods, including bologna, cheap milk, chicken leg quarters in bulk, etc., but other than that, we had a healthy diet. I even ground my own wheat berries for homemade bread for awhile there.

For some reason, when we moved into our current home, our eating habits began to deteriorate, which is another post altogether. Mr. Honey and I began drinking coffee, which we only like sweetened. My grain mill broke. I began purchasing more convenience foods and lowered the guard on sugar intake for myself and the children. (I still watch it, but I used to only allow sweets maybe once or twice per week-- now, for some reason, it has slipped into once or twice per day.)

In the last week, Mr. Honey and I and the kids have come together in our desire to eat better (which is also another post), and want to change our poor eating habits. We are almost out of sugar, and do not plan to stock up. Coffee, I think, is going away, due to our desire to enjoy it with sugar. We are going to eat more whole grains and less "white" foods.

And we want to start purchasing more organics as the budget allows. We experience lethargy and forgetfulness on a regular basis at our house, as well as mood swings. (In a home where four out of five people are female, who is surprised? But still.) Also, Mr. Honey and I are both unhappy with our weight. A lot of this has to do with sugar consumption, but I wonder what would happen if we ate foods grown without pesticides and other contaminants?

So, so, so--

There is a group of bloggers doing an Eat From The Pantry Challenge in the month of January, and I thought we could join in. (Mama Squirrel is joining in, too, which makes me feel more comfy about joining in online-- I 'know' someone else who is participating!)

We have decided to use up our food stores in the month of January and restock with organics. We got Omaha Steaks from a family member for Christmas (!) and have a lot of beef right now, as well as some ham and three pounds of chicken. (I do not think we will eat all of this meat in one month! I am only listing it to show that we won't have to purchase meat.) We also have quite a bit of grain-- white and wheat flour, semolina, cornmeal, oats, millet, brown rice, a bag of pasta, two packages of flour tortillas and one loaf of bread.

Every family gets to make their own rules for the Pantry Challenge, so here are ours:

1. Purchase only organic dairy, produce and grains in the month of January
2. Limit the grains purchased to one bag of pasta and five loaves of bread (Mr. Honey does not have access to a heating element for his lunch and eats sandwiches much of the time)
3. Purchase a wide mouth thermos for Mr. Honey so he can carry soups and chili and other good things in his lunch
4. Go to the grocery store four times total in the month
5. Use the money we save to restock with organics at the end of the month

I have never purchased much in the way of organics because it is expensive, and we have been debtors for most of our married life. But this website says organics are only 20% more expensive than conventionally grown foods, so we should have room for the increase in cost simply by eliminating junk and filler foods. My measuring stick for purchasing organics will be that the item is no more than 20% more expensive than its conventional counterpart. I really think things like milk, eggs and meat will fall outside this limit, but I know purchasing those items organic is highly recommended. What do you think? Do you purchase organics, and if so, what are your guidelines for deciding on organic or conventional?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this idea! I have an overloaded pantry and freezer and my freezer needs defrosting badly so it will help to use up what's in there.

I use mostly organics whenever possible. I help organize an organic produce coop so that takes care of produce. I hope this year I can start buying grass-fed meats and I am already part of a group that drives several hours to buy raw grass fed milk. We also order raw milk cheese from Morningland Dairy at wholesale prices.

A friend told me that if you can't eat all organic, you should at least eat grass fed meats and dairy because the pesticides, etc. are very concentrated in them. Consider how much grass and/or grains it takes to produce a pound of meat or how many gallons of milk it takes to make 1 pound of cheese. I never thought of it that way. I was focusing on organic produce, grains, etc. So my goat is to move toward better meats. The hard part will be educating my budget minded husband! :)