Eat Better

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 11: Food, Food, Food, Blog, Advent, Nails, Nails.

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In my ongoing saga of health issues, I still don’t have a lot of news. All we know for sure is that I have a bulged disk in my neck, but my neurologist doesn’t think that’s causing all my issues. About 3 weeks ago, I watched a few documentaries and did some pretty extensive research and decided to take on a “healing foods” diet. Lots of veggies and fruits, lots of water, no sugar, no white bread, no white rice, no white potatoes. The focus is lots of foods that reduce inflammation, and avoiding foods that cause it. At the time I started it, I was exhausted and in constant pain. Every morning, when I woke up, my arms and legs were so numb, I had a hard time getting out of bed. Since starting the plan, I have a lot less pain, but I’ve still got a long way to go. The onset of the holidays has not helped. Thanksgiving was a huge curve ball, and then with family stuff, I’ve eaten out probably 4 or 5 times in the last week. I know, I know, I can just have a salad when I go out to eat, but I have such a hard time doing it. I mean, I don’t want to pay 10$ for a salad I could prepare for myself, from my own garden, even!

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To maximize my intake of raw vegetables, I’ve been having green smoothies for breakfast and lunch every day. I can get 5 servings of vegetables and 4 of fruit in just 2 smoothies! Plus, I also have a salad and some veggie-heavy soup with lunch, so any dinner veggies are a bonus! The problem with the smoothies and salad, is that I’ve been spending about half an hour a night rinsing and chopping vegetables and preparing my food for the next day. And I have to fix supper, too, so that’s another 30-60 minutes. And then there’s clean-up…so I spend about 2 hours in the kitchen every night. So, I took all the fruit I had, and measured it out for 10 smooties and put them in the freezer, and then did the same with my greens and put them in the fridge. So now, making a smoothie is as easy as measuring some almond milk and juice into the blender, grabbing a bag of greens and a bag of fruit and dumping it in! 5 minutes!

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21WerujkJiLNow, onto dinners. With my “special diet,” I’ve been fixing dinner just for myself and when Scottie comes home (at 2am), he’s on his own. Occasionally, I’ll make him some hamburger helper (do not judge!) but I’ve been spending enough time in the kitchen as it is!

So, I started looking at Crock-Pot freezer meals. Seems simple enough. Prepare 20 meals at once! Just put everything in a freezer bag, freeze it, then pop a bag in the Crock-Pot in the morning, and come home to dinner! It’s a little tricky to find food I can have on my plan, not to mention I really should be eating mostly fish, but…I think we’re going to give it a go.

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And now, for something completely different! There are certain blogs that, when I see new items in my Google Reader, give me the sensation of the guiltiest of pleasures. There’s nothing wrong with any of the blogs I follow, or I wouldn’t follow them, but when I see…

badcatholic

I smile, snicker, then sort of look around to see if anyone’s watching before I click on it. Where else can you get a “Rebuttal Up in Hurrrrr!” that is eloquent and thoughtful without being stuffy? Who else will admit that disasters make us just a little bit happy, which then gives us license to consider why? After reading Marc’s ponderings about Andy Warhol, I was just breathless. I cannot recommend this blog more.

The reason I bring it up today is because of this article, about the Guttmacher institute, which made me sick to read. If you didn’t know, Guttmacher is the propaganda center for Planned Parenthood, and they are top notch at spitting out lies. It’s just disgusting.

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Week 1 of Advent is winding down and I’m a little sad. Scott is working nights so I’m lighting the candle by myself every night, and doing the Jesse tree devotions on my own. It’s oddly appropriate, though. Advent is a time when we don’t celebrate, not quite yet, but we prepare in anticipation of the joy that is to come. Advent teaches us to wait.

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I got my annual Christmas manicure! My favorite manicure of the year!

download (2)

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Well, it usually is. I still look at my Hawaii manicure with great affection.

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Did I love the manicure for what it was…or for what it was for? That’s the eternal question, right there.

As always, there are more Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary!

 

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Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday, Eat Better, Everything Else | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

The Gluten Free Challenge Pt 2: Days 5-7

These are events that transpired about 2 weeks ago, but I’ve just not gotten around to posting. I went gluten free for about 2.5 weeks, at which point, my pain and numbness continued to get worse, so I decided it wasn’t doing me any good. It was worth ruling out, though!

Day 5: Gluten free on the road

I worked at a store in Oklahoma City for the day to help out with coverage. It’s tempting to just “wing it” when you’re working out of town, but I try to pack a lunch and stick to my routine as much as I can. I packed a bowl of beef & cabbage soup, a gluten free biscuit, an applesauce and a yogurt. Since I wasn’t sure when I would be able to eat my lunch, I packed a Bolthouse Farms Blue Goodness smoothie for the ride up. I think I’m starting to get the hang of this!

The guys I worked with decided to order wings and they offered to order me some as well. As sweet as the offer was, I said no. I didn’t have any idea what kind of gluten content I’d be getting myself into, so I decided to play it safe. Oh, it was tempting, though, especially when the wings arrived!

Day 6: PIZZA!!!

I’ve been on approximately 1,000,000,000 diets in my life. My goal for as long as I can remember has been perfect moderation. To know when to say yes to the deliciousness of pizza and when to say no. To be able to eat two slices and stop there.

This is where gluten fasting is wildly different from dieting. The time to say yes is never. The time to stop is at 0 slices of pizza.

I had a work meeting at our business office in OKC Sunday evening. The main focus was getting more business accounts at The CellPhone store, and blah blah blah, statistics on our business customers, blah blah, strategies for gaining new businesses, blah blah blah, dinner will be provided.

In case you hadn’t guessed, it was pizza.

Smarty-pants here assumed eating dinner at the meeting would be out of the question. Since I had to drive to the meeting immediately after my shift that day, I packed another Bolthouse Farms Blue Goodness smoothie. I’ve got to figure out how to make those myself or this habit could get a bit spendy! Having a belly full of smoothie sure was helpful when I arrived.

There was pizza as far as the eye could see.

Now, my vision is awful, so for me, maybe it wasn’t that far, but still. It was devastating. There were a few baskets of snacks scattered about, but I couldn’t have any of that either, and no one else was interested in anything but PIZZA. There’s just something particularly horrifying about the prospect of saying “no” to that greasy, cheesy goodness. Not just for now. FOREVER.

Meanwhile, my coworkers are reveling in their new-found pizza heaven. Plates were piled 4 and 5 slices high, no one was chewing, just steadily cramming the gooey goodness into their faces. The guy sitting next to me flipped one slice over on top of another and made a pizza sandwich. The wild gorging was like some Babylonian feast and I, I alone resisted the siren call of PIZZA!!!

I had a bottle of water.

On the way home, I started planning the hash brown quiche I would make when I got home. The 45 minute drive seemed to last forever, until finally, I was home! Out of courtesy, I asked Scott what he wanted for dinner before I got to cooking. His response ignited a fury in me the likes of which I could have never imagined.

“Don’t worry about me, I already ate. I had a pizza.”

ISN’T THAT JUST WONDERFUL FOR YOU?!?!?! AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD?!?!?!? EVERYBODY GETS PIZZA TONIGHT BUT ME!!!!!!!

My favorite place in the world to eat pizza is Mazzio’s. I know Mazzio’s isn’t available everywhere, but it’s the best, hands down, as far as I’m concerned. There is no chain, no mom & pop brick oven pizzeria that can top Mazzio’s as far as I’m concerned.

After my considerable hissy fit, Scott insisted on going to Mazzios, where they are now serving gluten free pizza.

Even without the gluten, it’s still better than any other pizza place.

It’s so beautiful!

*Single tear rolls down my face….*

Day 7: You have donuts, I have a smoothie…

Tuesday means early morning meeting at The CellPhone Store. I fixed my breakfast in advance. I was quite proud.

Introducing Rebecca’s Blue Awesomeness! Why, yes, you may have the recipe!

1 banana

1/2 cup blueberries

1 cup apple juice

1/2 cup milk

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until smoothie. Enjoy!

 

I’ve decided to try to transition from 2 cups of coffee a day to 1 and then just have a smoothie to go instead of a coffee to go. This was an experiment in mixing the day before, and it was a mad success.

Then I got to work.

There was a box of donuts sitting on the table. Staring at me. Literally

Okay, so I took this picture at the end of the day. It looked much yummier and less plaugey at the beginning of the day.

I stayed strong. I’m jealous of their donuts, yes. But certainly they’re jealous of my delicious smoothie.

Throughout the day, The donuts continued to stare at me. But I had my soup for lunch and my chicken salad roll-up. I tried to throw the last donut away to avoid temptation completely but one of my coworkers stopped me. “Someone might want it!” she said. I WANT IT!!!!

But I didn’t have it.

A much better option, in fact, the number one option for sandwiches is the roll-up. Corn tortillas are much less expensive than specialty tortillas or even regular flour ones. It is, however, very difficult to make a sandwich wrap out of them because of their size and texture. So, what I did was warm the tortillas up on my countertop grill, spread the sandwich mix on them, and roll them up! To increase speadability, I threw everything I wanted in my chicken salad or tuna salad in my mini food chopper and mixed it up like that. Very yummy! Two roll-ups and a bowl of soup make a wonderful lunch!

The Results

By the end of week 1, I was pretty much in the habit. By the end of week 2, it was a no-brainer. However, a few days after the 2 week mark, I started having trouble getting out of bed due to the numbness and pain in my arms and legs. So, it obviously isn’t a gluten intolerance. But, it was an eye-opening experience, that’s for sure!

Categories: Eat Better, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

The Gluten Free Challenge Pt 1: Days 1-4

*Eye roll* Why are you jumping on the gluten free bandwagon?

Back in August, I started having trouble with my left leg going numb when I laid down to sleep at night. Within a few weeks, it started happening at odd intervals throughout the day as well. After about a month, it spread to my left arm, then my right arm. About a week and a half ago, my arms stopped going numb and I started having constant, searing pain. I’ve quit smoking, started seeing a doctor, started seeing a neurologist, had 3 MRIs in 4 weeks (I should have the results on the last one soon!), and still don’t know anything.

Another blogger suggested that it may be gluten ataxia, which you can read more about here, or just go Google crazy–there’s a lot of information out there to sort through.

I started out what I thought would be a one-week challenge, however, based on my research, it can take months to get gluten out of your system and heal enough to feel any kind of relief.  So, I’m probably going to be eating like this for a while, depending on what the doctor says. I’ve decided to document the first week of this insanity here.

Day 1: This can’t be that difficult, right?

I tried browsing recipes on Allrecipes.com, my go to site for food….but filtering for gluten-free foods was a bit tricky. It was much easier on eatingwell.com. This is the part of the show where I started to obsess over cake and bread and crackers. Good grief, when did crackers become the enemy? I finally decided that coming up with a full week’s worth of dinners was too hard when I really didn’t know very much about gluten, so I just came up with two meals: Quiche and Enchiladas.

After work, I hopped over to WalMart to grab a few supplies. Cue the nightmare music.

Hummus is universally safe apparently and there were lots to choose from. Just try finding a cracker to have it on. I googled “gluten free crackers walmart” on my phone and came up with a brand, but couldn’t find it in the store.

I very easily found a gluten-free cake mix. For $4.64. I can get a regular cake mix for $1 at Aldi! I seemed to recall an episode of The Biggest Loser where Chef Rocco Dispirito made something with chickpea flour. That’s what I need! Alternative flour! I went up and down the baking aisle 4 times before I finally found a tiny little bag of soy flour. For $2.08. It was the only alternative flour I could find. I grabbed it, complaining all the way. At least there was a bread recipe on the back. Easy peasy.

When I got home, I saw that the bread recipe called for wheat flour. This is going to be a long week, isn’t it?

Day 2: Brought to you by the number “5!”

I sat down and made out a week-long gluten free meal plan and Scott and I went to Aldi to pick up a few additional provisions for the week. Aldi has gotten some good reviews for their prominent labeling of gluten free foods, so that helped a lot, but it was still confusing. Why is a can of pinto beans gluten free but refried beans aren’t? Why did someone have to put wheat in the beans just to mash them?

We got just about everything we needed there, and then we decided to check out the west side WalMart (I went to the store on the east side of town the night before) and see what kind of gluten free products we could find. I bought a bag of cookies and a box of cookie mix. The already-made cookies weren’t bad.

After WalMart, we headed to Natural Grocers, a store Scott has wanted to check out for a while, but not I. I can’t go to Natural Grocers! I don’t do yoga, I don’t drive a Prius, and I don’t hate chemicals. I love chemicals. Ammonia and bleach are some of my favorites.

Despite not wearing skinny jeans or a peasant skirt, I found Natural Grocers to be quite accessible. I was able to find gluten free everything. Noodles, bread, flour, condensed soups. I picked out a loaf of tapioca bread to try out, partially because Scott thought tapioca would be the yummiest, but mostly because it was the cheapest.

Here’s the financial impact: everywhere we went, there was a common theme: A gluten free item was right about 5 times what I would pay for the same item with gluten.

That evening, I made truly homemade enchiladas. I even made the sauce from scratch. The corn tortillas were store bought, but I was still proud. After 2+ hours in the kitchen, I had prepared a feast of enchiladas, mexican rice and refried beans–all homemade, all gluten free. I greatly prefer flour tortillas to corn, but I can adjust. The beans were great and the rice was magnificent!

Day 3: No Problem

I skipped breakfast and ate leftover enchiladas for lunch and supper. Man, I love going on autopilot.

Day 4: Adventures in Bread

I can eat my potato soup!

A few weeks ago, I started making my own soups and freezing them in individual bowls rather than buying canned soup for lunch every day.

Unfortunately, I have an affection for noodles and dumplings that is just uncanny. (Hehe, un-can-ny! Get it?)

Fortunately, I started using instant potato flakes as a thickener for soups instead of flour, so my potato soup is safe!

I packed a bowl of potato soup in my lunch and a sandwich made with the Tapioca loaf I purchased at Natural Grocer. The slices are tiny, but whatevs. I need to eat lighter anyway. It’s a little dry, but so what? Well, it’s kinda rubbery. It’s kind of…

EXACTLY LIKE EATING A DIRTY OLD SPONGE FROM THE KITCHEN!!!

I tried to dip it in the soup and let it soak, but it was no good. I was eating a dirty old kitchen sponge sandwich. Tiny as it was, I couldn’t finish it. It was too horrible. So, I ended up spending 3$ on a tiny loaf of bread I can’t even eat. I guess I’ll never get the ol’ budget under control.

On the way home, I stopped at WalMart to do some more hunting and found gluten free Bisquick! Finally, a lucky break! It just costs more than twice as much as regular Bisquick for a box half the size (I’m sure it’s meant to even out to 5x the price per biscuit) but it’s Bisquick! I can have biscuits and dumplings and pancakes and waffles and pot pies!!! Woot!

Had it really only been 4 days since I had bread? It seemed like it had been much longer. The mix looked legit, but the directions were a tad bit different. It called for shortening to be mixed in with it. Wha??? Whatever, I did it. For good measure, I also mixed in some cheddar cheese, parsley and garlic powder. Mmmmmm, garlic cheddar biscuits! I love it!

They looked amazing! Amazing! But the true test is taste, right? The taste was…different. The texture was perfect, but all I could taste was the shortening. Maybe margarine next time? (I detest butter–margarine all the way!!!) When I dipped the biscuit in the broth from my soup, it tasted just like a biscuit!

So, in the battle of the bread, we have one major failure and one victory. I’m excited to experiment more with the biscuits, but as much as they cost, they may be only an occasional treat. Based on my research, that may be the rule for all breads.

So Far…

I learned a lot in just a few days. Maybe 2 days after I bought that bag of soy flour, I realized what a ridiculous thing it was to do. So far, I haven’t starved, but we’ll see. Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion of my gluten free week. If there is a conclusion.

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Eat Better: Lessons Learned So Far

The primary purpose of this project is to be better stewards of what we have, to stop throwing food away. It would also be nice, I must say, to save some money and be able to give more to the Regional Food Bank. The message I keep getting is to SLOW DOWN. I throw things away without thinking twice, or even thinking about it at all, leading me to believe that perhaps we throw away a lot more food than I thought we did.

Money Matters

I thought I had slowed down and shown careful consideration. I suppose I was wrong. I made a meal plan, I went to the grocery store, and I quite painfully submitted to not getting anything that wasn’t on the list. Despite not buying any meat, aside from a package of bacon, I was shocked that my total was still $110. No bags of chicken breasts, no giant pot roasts, and still $110! And that’s on top of $30 I spent the night before at Walmart. Upon consulting my meal plan, I was even more shocked. I only planned 12 simple dinners and some soups for my lunches. Maybe it will just take a while for the savings to catch up with me.

The Tortilla Situation

I found a recipe online for Chicken Tortilla Soup from Souper Salad, a restaurant that used to be in this area and hopefully will be again! The recipe called for corn tortillas, which I considered replacing with chips, but decided to get the tortillas instead. The smallest pack of corn tortillas I could find was a 30 pack. I knew I wouldn’t need 30 tortillas but without a second thought (of course) I threw the 30 pack in my cart.

After fixing my soup and portioning it out into 7 freezable bowls, I started thinking about those leftover tortillas. I only used 8. That meant 22 were going in the trash. I kept telling myself I could freeze them, but would I? What else was I going to make with them? I have a few recipes, but that would involve getting a lot more ingredients. Within the first few days of my Eat Better Project, I’m already wasting food. I felt horrible.

I wandered around the kitchen, hoping inspiration would hit me and….taquitos! I could cook up some chicken breast, roll some taquitos and freeze them myself! Scott would love to have them in the freeze for quick lunches when he’s home alone.

My first round of attempts was very poor. It turns out, you do have to wrap corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and put them in the microwave for a few minutes before rolling them. The instructions on the package speak the truth. So, 7 tortillas went in the trash anyway. But we ended up with 15 taquitos! And since I didn’t have any taco seasoning on hand, I made my own. Without all the sodium.

Brisket Stew

I’ve had half a brisket in the freezer for some time now, and I decided to go ahead and fix it up in the crockpot and chop it up. I left some meat out for our meals for the next few days, but froze a few pounds for later. I figured it would be handy for days when I just don’t know what to cook. Once I was done chopping, I was left with a crockpot full of….flavor! I had filled the crockpot with water and boullion, which was now mixed with the stock from the brisket. I was a little antsy about all the chili powder I’d thrown in, but I grabbed a spoon, had a sip and after some debate decided it would be suitable for stew!

Potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, parsley, tomatoes, and about a cup of the brisket meat, and it made for one spicy stew! I was very heavy handed with my brisket seasoning when I put it in. I ended up having 2 bowls for supper, though! It was fantastic! And I had 7 more bowls of soup in the freezer for my lunches.

Stretching it Out

So, I’m on day 11 and I’ve still got 9 meals left from my original meal plan. We’ve been very good with leftovers and have found that we can get an extra meal or two out of a dish just by eating all of it. If there’s not much left, chop up some extra salad or put a slice of bread on the plate. We’ve also had a few suppers out of the soup that was supposed to be for my lunches. However, after making a batch of Potato Soup and Pumpkin Bisque (Yum!) in addition a few leftover bowls of Chicken Tortilla Soup and Brisket Stew, we still have about a dozen bowls of soup in the freezer. I did have to make a grocery trip for $30 because we we low on milk and bread and a few other things. While I was disappointed, if we continue to be diligent about not throwing food out and eating what we have, we should be able to make it until the first week of October before we have to do a full shopping trip again.

So far…

I’m slowly getting into the proper mindset. Rather than throwing something out (like the broth or the tortillas) I’m starting to see what I can do with it. But that’s not enough! As I learned with the tortillas, I need to have a plan for every ounce of food before I buy it to make sure nothing goes to waste. It was good fortune that I had everything I needed to make the Brisket Stew and the taquitos. Otherwise, I would have wasted it!

I actually started this post about a week ago. What I said about saving money at the beginning of the post? Here’s where the savings come in: we haven’t eaten out in 11 days. I wanted to get our eating out down to twice a month. We are well on our way! In July, we spent over $220 eating out and in August we spent over $130! August really hacks me off because we were trying so hard to save money for our trip and we still let $130 slip through our hands when we could have spent much less to eat at home. And while we were out spending that money, groceries we had bought were going bad at home and had to be thrown out.

Finally, I’d like to say how happy I am with making my own soups and freezing them rather than buying canned soups. I may get a pressure canner, or ask for one for Christmas so I can can my soups. I love being able to control what goes in. My recipes may need tweeking, but they don’t have to be perfect the first try, they still taste wonderful and I’m not picking out the things I don’t like. I’m also getting a lot less sodium and other preservatives. Well worth it.

Categories: Eat Better, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Back to Business: The Eat Better Project

It took me a little longer to recover from vacation than I had expected, but I’m back! Arrival back at the real world has been rough, but it’s actually a relief to get back on budget. Hawaii is incredibly expensive. When you’re used to pinching pennies, spending $50 on cheeseburgers for lunch or $20 for hotdogs, plus the constant purchasing of souvenirs…let’s just say, I felt like my checking account was hemorrhaging all week! When we got back home on Saturday, we still had some frozen and pantry items, so I didn’t have to go grocery shopping until Tuesday. However, as soon as we got home, I remembered a pledge I had made a few days before our trip: No more throwing away food.

Poor Stewardship

It all started when I read that Americans throw out an average of 40% of our food. I was appalled. This is very poor stewardship. So many people go hungry, while those of us who have enough to eat throw out almost half of it. At this point in our lives, we certainly don’t throw out nearly 40% of our food, but there was a time when we probably got close to that. We worked long hours and planned to eat at home, but ended up eating out almost every day instead. So a lot of the groceries we bought ended up in the trash. Currently, I would say maybe about 15-20% of our food goes in the trash. The jar of queso we opened but never finished, that last helping of spaghetti neither of us wanted, the last tomato out of a pack of 4 that went moldy, etc. It’s just a little bit here and there but it adds up quickly!

Poor Eating Habits

I lost about 30 pounds from January to June. However, with quitting smoking and vacation, I’ve managed to rediscover 10 of those pounds. But it’s not just about losing weight. I want to feel better. I’m tired of being tired, of dragging through the days. Just a few months ago, I was eating fresh salads, fresh fruit and veggies, and grilled meats. Now what are we eating? Boxed dinners, canned soups, frozen lasagnas, and it’s all stuffed with sodium, sodium, sodium! Why did we deviate from eating fresh? Oh, right. Things didn’t get eaten. Veggies went in the trash by the bagful. Ugh.

Gluttony

It’s a big problem in America. We don’t like to think of it as a sin, but it is. It’s an excess, a deadly excess, and it’s something else I’m putting between myself and God. We need to be better stewards of what is given to us: our bodies, our money, our food. We need to exercise the virtue of temperance:

Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: “Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart.” Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: “Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites.” In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought “to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world.

CCC 1809

When I first converted to Catholicism, one of the things that really stood out to me was temperance. To know when to stop. For me, gluttony seems to touch everything I do. When I smoked, I would smoke 2 or 3 cigarettes in a row. Sometimes, I’d have 4 or 5 just getting around in the morning while I drank coffee. If I like a show on Netflix, I’ll watch 4 episodes in a row, every night until I’ve gone through the entire series. More, more, more. But the most stunning excess is what I’m willing to waste. How many times have I thrown food away just to make room in the refrigerator, when it wasn’t even bad? How many times have I lit a cigarette, knowing I could only have a few puffs on it before I had to throw it out?

According to our annual income, we’re middle class, but according to our excesses, we’re flipping filthy rich. It has to stop.

Eat Better Project

No, this blog isn’t going to be all about eating right and under budget. But I’ll probably check in about once per week with an update about my Eat Better Project. The rules are thus:

  1. Avoid throwing food away as much as possible. This can be difficult, because sometimes things just end up going bad before we get to them. Proper preparation and planning… I’m not hoping to drop our food waste to 0% by any means, but I’d like to bring it down to a minimum. I think I’ll keep track, even.
  2. Reduce canned meals, frozen meals, and boxed meals (veggies and fruits are okay canned). One exception on the frozen meals: if I prepare the food myself and freeze it, it’s okay.
  3. Eat breakfast!
  4. Reduce our grocery bill by at least $20/week (it’s currently around…$80-$100/week). Give at least half of that saved money to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Ideally, I’d like to get our grocery shopping down to once every 2-3 weeks. Depending on the expiration date on the milk, I suppose.
  5. Reduce eating out to twice per month.

Lofty goals? It can be done. It can certainly be done. Not on my own, of course, but God gives us grace to overcome every sin.

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