Because I’m stubborn and maybe a little bit of a control freak.
That is why I’ve chosen to take the steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle. Well that and I have a huge appreciation for farmers, nature, and people who think about their actions and how they affect those around them. Perhaps there’s a bit of repentance in there too, for all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the years, or purchased without care that it would be garbage soon enough; for all the 99 cent junk and sale items I picked up just because it was cheap. Real food is so very appealing because of all of my family and friends that have suffered illnesses brought about because of others’ irresponsibility and carelessness. I’ve lost trust in many of our food and care suppliers, because they are Big Businesses looking at the bottom line…but that’s another post.
More than anything I want to prove to myself that I’m capable of getting that much closer to a responsible and more sustainable lifestyle. Will it ever be perfect? Probably not, but that’s the challenge: inching as close as possible without sacrificing too much happiness for our household.
So, you ask, what will we be sacrificing for said happiness?
- Packaged bread products – I’ve been baking our own.
- Premade pasta – I’ll keep a backup supply just in case my experiments don’t turn out well.
- Boxed cereals – I’ll substitute homemade pancakes and English muffins (both freeze well), eggs, toast, and whole grains.
- Premade tortillas and wraps – I still need to find a good replacement recipe.
Fruits and Vegetables:
- Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and other out-of-season produce not grown locally in greenhouses.
- Store bought canned items – we’ll rely on last year’s crops that I froze and canned with the exception of tomato paste.
- Bananas, avocados, kiwi, and other imported items – unless it comes down to scurvy, we’ll be avoiding imported produce.
- Juice boxes – I will keep one pitcher of juice on hand for the Kid, otherwise we’ll do without.
- Cheeses not made within the state of TN – we’ll make our own mozzarella and spreading cheeses.
- Butter, buttermilk, and yogurt – I’ve been making our own with local milk for some time.
- All meat products will be sourced from a local butcher/processor.
- Eggs will come from local sources.
- Imported nuts – we’ll stick to bulk nuts grown in the Southeast or skip them all together. (Peanut butter will be a challenge)
- Imported seafood – seafood only caught in USA, avoiding farmed when possible.
- Canola, peanut, imported olive oil, corn, fancy nut oils – we’ll be sticking with butter, coconut, and California olive oil.
Seasonings, Spices, Sweeteners, Condiments, Leavening products, and Beverages:
- Vanilla extract, garlic and onion powders, and anything not in whole form – I’ll do as much seasoning with herbs that I dried last year or prepare seasonings from whole product. Chocolate may be the exception here.
- White sugar, brown sugar, Splenda – molasses, sorghum, demerara sugar, honey (local only)
- Anything in a plastic bottle – This one will be tough and may have to be withdrawn for Kid and Hubby. I’ll attempt to refine my mayonnaise, make our own salad dressings and mustard.
- Instant yeast – only if I can master true sourdough bread. I’ll keep baking soda and powder because my baking skills are not the best.
- Tea – I can brew my own from my mint, lemongrass and ginger (purchased).
- Coffee – Fair trade if in the budget, non-negotiable; I will have coffee.
- Wine – Locally made (ran out of homemade last month)
We don’t keep Kool-aid or sodas, so no sacrifice there. We don’t often buy chips, however we do keep crackers (I will sample several recipes). I can pick up local popcorn as snack item. Desserts will be homemade and restricted to the same measures listed above.
Okay, don’t panic! I know this list sounds like a lot to give up. There may be things I fall back on. My family may boycott and take emergency hamburger runs into town on occasion. While I have more time than a working parent, if made in larger portions most of the food we’ll rely on will store well. It may take part of my weekend to prepare foods in advance, but it will become a family affair. The Kid will happily assist me with cooking and baking as long as she gets dirty and has the first taste. And is there anything much better that can I teach her than how to feed herself and those she loves and all while being more responsible to Nature?
Well, what will we get out of it? A sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that we did it ourselves while snubbing a few Big Businesses along the way. Perhaps we’ll also reduce our footprint a little (and our waistbands). More than anything, I hope that we’ll have a greater appreciation for the food we eat, learn some and teach some, and gain a greater respect for those that keep it Real.