Friday, August 20, 2010

real food for less $$

We interrupt this regularly scheduled programming [living room reveal] to chat about my other mega obsession: eating. Also, I have one more project to complete before the living room is really finished, so this buys me some more time :)

A few months ago, I started toying with the idea of looking into a new way of eating. I kept hearing whispers about organic meals and buying local and avoiding processed food, but decided that I didn't want to just jump on a bandwagon. If I was doing this, I was doing it because I knew why and because it made sense for our little family. So this summer, I read Food Rules by Michael Pollan. And by "read" I mean inhaled. It was like a series of clicks and lightbulbs leading up to one ah-ha moment: eating nutritiously isn't hard. And it doesn't mean low-sugar, low-fat. It means I won't get all soapboxy on you, but you should read it. It will seriously change your entire eating/cooking lifestyle.

Long story short, that book started me off on a new path. The main things I find myself doing when it comes to grocery shopping and cooking are these:
  • Avoid processed foods (all natural, no additives or preservatives)
  • Buy local ingredients (my main grocery trip each week is to the Farmers Market)
  • Buy organic, but only when it's necessary
  • Keep most meals centered around veggies (limiting the meat means being able to afford organic, hormone-free meat for the meals that include it)
Don't misunderstand - this isn't about organic living, although that variety often makes it in my shopping cart. But as Michael Pollan says, organic sugar is still sugar. It's about eliminating ingredients from your diet that don't belong there. Ingredients that aren't found in nature. Ingredients that God did not intend to be ingredients. You pick up what I'm putting down?

We've been living this way for about 3 months and it's incredible the difference it's made. We feel so much better. I don't hit that 2pm wall anymore, when I would usually start to feel sluggish. I feel more alert throughout the day. We ordered pizza this weekend and The Boy said that the day he took leftovers was the most difficult day to concentrate this week. Take care of yourself folks, it's worth it.

The most challenging part of this has been finding things that aren't processed. Trying to score a bottle of salad dressing that doesn't have unpronounceable ingredients in it is next to impossible. That's why I consider you peeps who have a Trader Joe's nearby to be charmed. Jealous.

To give you an idea of how easy/inexpensive it is, here's a recipe for stuffed peppers that we had this week:

  • 3 red bell peppers, sliced in half lengthwise (organic, $1.50/each at the Farmer's Market)
  • 2 cups cooked whole wheat couscous (instead of the traditional ground meat)
  • Half a bag of frozen spinach
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I would prefer to use fresh, but I'm trying to clean out my pantry!)
  • Feta cheese, fresh from the deli
  • Fresh basil and oregano, chopped

Arrange the pepper halves in a baking dish

Mix the remaining ingredients and fill pepper halves
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until peppers are tender

Y'all, this meal came in under $10 and we got one dinner and 3 leftover lunches out of it.

So that's that. My newfound love for all things naturally yummy. Do I eat like this all the time? Hellooo, I had a rootbeer float for an afternoon snack yesterday.

Everything in moderation, right? :)

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