Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Eating & Food Sourcing: Yes & No

I've really been digging the latest season of Tsh Oxenreider's podcast, The Simple Show. In this season, she takes a 'yes and no' approach to each show topic. Each week, Tsh and her guest summarize what they are saying yes and no to as relates to the topic at hand. It's an easy way to structure your thoughts on a topic, so I am going to start my own "Yes and No" series of my own. Sometimes I'll borrow topics from her show, sometimes I'll come up with my own (pretty sure I'll be doing several on pregnancy and parenting!).

For the first post in this series, I am going to borrow the topic from Episode 90 of The Simple Show:  Eating Locally. Below I'll share what I say yes and no to as it pertains to eating and sourcing our food. But first - a disclaimer. Like many things (or really, nearly everything) in life, choices like how I eat and source our food is a "you do you" type of decision; there is no right or wrong answer. Sure there are some general guidelines, like drinking enough water and eating enough fruits and vegetables, etc. But beyond that, every person has to make their own choices. I'm far from perfect and I don't expect anyone to adopt or admire my approach to eating and sourcing food. This is just me sharing what works for me/us.

I/we say yes to:

- Not eating every meal together. Phil and I are busy people with full schedules (especially me!) so it's not possible to eat every meal together. Plus I am just not in the position to make dinner every night of the week. If I cooked every night, we would waste more food because we can't eat that much food in a week. Instead, I say yes to cooking 2-3 times during the week and we eat leftovers or simple meals on other nights of the week, like eggs and toast (for her) or cereal and yogurt (for him).

- Buying most of our meat from a local farmer. If you read a couple of books about the agriculture industry, it changes your view of meat that is sold in the grocery store. I had been searching for a better solution for awhile and then about a year ago I realized the meat seller at the farmer's market I frequent had a year-round meat-share program - kind of like a CSA for meat. We split a half-share with another friend because we are not huge meat eaters. Each month, we get a frozen organic chicken, a dozen eggs, 2 pounds of ground beef, and the 2-4 other things such as bacon, steaks, pork chops, brats, pork sausage, etc and we split it up each month. It's kind of fun to pick up the share each month and see what we we will be splitting!

- Packing my own lunch 4 out of 5 days of the week. I'm a creature of habit and don't mind eating the same thing day after day, so I will make something over the weekend, like a soup or stew, or I will prep all the toppings for a salad, and then that is what I will eat for lunch 4 days of the coming week. I do let myself buy my lunch one day of the week as a treat.

- Growing our own food and canning what we can't eat while it's still fresh. Luckily there is a community garden close by, otherwise we would not be able to have a garden since our yard is pretty small. Our growing season is limited in the Midwest, but I make the most out of the season and get over to my garden 1-3 times a week so I can pick what's fresh before it spoils. I've also gotten on board with canning and do not find it at all intimidating. I know it's not for everyone, but it's a great way to preserve food from your garden, or food you buy in bulk from a farmer's market. I'm sad that my tomato crop was disappointing this year as I was hoping to can some marinara. However, my tomatillos have produced like crazy so we'll can lots of salsa verde to use throughout the winter and gift to family and friends.

I/we say no to:

- Eating out often. In general, I would say we eat out for dinner about 3-4 times a month. It varies depending on what we have going on - some weeks we eat 2 meals out; some weeks we don't eat out at all. But in general, we view dining out as a 'treat'. That is how we were both raised so we are on the same page on this matter. In my parents' case, it wasn't exactly a choice to not eat out because there weren't really any restaurants in my tiny town (the population was 500 people). And it was far more economical for my mom to make dinner for our family of 7 than to take us all out to eat. Plus it taught us kids that eating out was something special and not something you do on a daily occurrence. We personally get sick of eating out very quickly so I don't view it as a sacrifice to eat out infrequently.

- Packing a lunch for Phil. He is a light eater since he's pretty much the same size as me, so it's inexpensive for him to eat out each day. He says on average he spend $6-7. There's no way I am going to pack his lunch (I know some people make lunches for their spouses but I don't have time/make time to and he wouldn't want me to even if I was willing) and he has not interested in packing a lunch so eating out every day works for him.

- Buying all organic produce. This is an area of opportunity for me. It's easier to buy organic during the farmer's market season as the organic produce looks great there. However, after the farmer's market season ends, I would have to rely on my local grocery store and some of the organic goods just are not appealing. I always buy organic lettuce but besides that there isn't anything that I consistently buy organic. My goal is to work towards buying organic for items on the dirty dozen list (12 produce items with the most pesticide contamination).

What do you say yes and no to when it comes to eating and sourcing your food?


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I love this format too and I've been enjoying the simple show episodes too!
Yes: eating out 2 nights a week, cooking 4x ish nights a week, packing lunches- both of us pack our lunches on Sundays, buying locally or organic when possible especially if Jack will be eating it...
No: growing our own food (at the moment, I'm hopeful we will do this again when the kids can get involved or at least not hinder it lol), buying organic when it's insanely expensive ha..

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Yes to growing my own food, canning and drying my own food, making and packing lunches on the weekends (and eating the same thing over and over), buying coffee out once per week, eating out as a special occasion once per month, eating simple dinners (no cook a lot of the time), buying what is in season when possible and buying in bulk to save money.

No to organic, eating out at lunch, cooking every night or spending too much time thinking about recipes etc. (I often revert to the same old, same old.)

Now that you are not right in the middle of the city, have your grocery shopping habits changed? I know you used to do it the French way and pick up one meal at a time. Are things different now?

Charbelle said...

I find this so interesting! Michael works from home so he never eats lunch out but he goes to the grocery store several times a week for things like milk (we go through at least 2 if not 3 gallons a week) and whatever particular thing he might need if he's making dinner. We at dinner together 2 or 3 times a week depending on what's going on. I by far have the busiest schedule. I sometimes will bring grilled chicken or pork for lunch but here lately I've defaulted back to the frozen entrees. I would like to find a meat co-op I think that would be a great thing!

missris said...

Oh my goodness this kind of thing is so interesting to me! First, I bet you could find scratch and dent tomatoes from a local farmer/farmer's market/CSA if you're really interested in canning some for the winter ;) Also, I try to buy the only organic for the dirty dozen but I don't always succeed. I also try to minimize the amount of wasteful plastic packaging that accompanies my fruits and veggies so sometimes I'll buy certain things at Whole Foods, the farmer's market, or the co-op precisely because I can use my own bags or because their stuff isn't shrink-wrapped in plastic. I make dinner almost every night and Sergio and I take leftovers to work almost every day for lunch. Where I work there's not really anything close by that I can grab for lunch so I almost never eat lunch out. He's in a better location for getting lunch out during the workday but he doesn't have the time to go and find himself something to eat so it's easier for both of us, for different reasons, if we just take lunch every day.

Marlys said...

Eating out is a treat for us, but as we age, find that we do eat out more than we used to. We maybe eat out twice a week, as in a small town, there aren't options. We no longer have a grocery store in town so that happens once a week at best! As we age, we find that we eat less which is great!
I loved canning but did so much of it back in the day, that it now appears a chore to me, but will find out if I feel differently when I retire.
I am not hung up on organic foods, as there are pros & cons, but do buy some when I am at Costco, as they seem to specialize in organic products there.

Amber said...

I am loving that format of the Simple Show as well and it totally translates well into a blog post, I will have to jump on board with these style of posts!

What we say no to: eating our meals together and actually even eating the same food. Eric basically prepares ALL his own food and unless we are cooking a huge meal together as a bit of a treat (which we only do 1-2x per month now thanks to his work schedule) we don't eat the same food at the same time ever. Part of that has to do with having very different work schedules, but also just very different tastes. I also say no to buying lunch almost ever, mostly because my work is a 15 minute drive from town so it just doesn't make sense to go into town to buy lunch.

What we/I say yes to: buying coffee out, I have gotten in the bad habit of picking up a coffee 2 - 3 x per week on my way to work or on my way home from teaching my fitness class / swimming / going to yoga in the morning. I just get a plain coffee, but it's $2.30 each time. I mostly have started doing this so much because being pregnant I'm only drinking one cup a day and even making it at home in my french press I end up wasting quite a bit I feel like. I'm sure this will stop when I'm on maternity leave though so I'm just going to roll with it for my last month of work.

Nora said...

Such an interesting read!

As you know, I have changed a lot of our grocery habits thanks to the Green Bean Delivery service. None of the meat is overly processed and it's all from local farms in MO which I LOVE.

Lately I've been cooking 2-3 times a week and then we either have leftovers or also have simple meals. D has bowling this time of year so that is at least one night where I eat a sandwich or cereal or something.

We don't grow our own food; I wish we did!

And nope, I don't pack a lunch for D, either. He will grab leftovers or he eats at work, depending on what he has going on. I usually bring my own lunch or snacks for myself to eat at work, maybe eat out once a week depending on what team is in the office and what we have going on.

Stephany said...

I stopped listening to The Simple Show about a year or so ago when it seemed like it was becoming more motherhood focused, but maybe I should add it back to my feed! Then again, I'm so behind on my podcasts as it is, haha.

I really want to check in and see if my area has a meat CSA! I try to always buy the organic meat at my grocery store, but I'd much prefer to buy from a local farmer. I'm going to have to do some research!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

This post is AWESOME.

I might have to steal this idea :-)

- I say yes to packing a lunch basically every day. I'd say I only buy my lunch once a month, and bring a lunch to work every day otherwise.

- We say no to overly processed/artificial foods. We read labels and ingredients all the time, and try to buy things with the least amount of ingredients. We have stopped buying salad dressing/BBQ sauce etc., and now make our own.

San said...

I love this post and might jump on the bandwagon.... it's interesting to me how other people do things around food.

I say yes to making my own lunches. For me personally it would be too much spending $6-7 every day on lunch, but I guess it's all a matter of priorities. We cook a lot, so I often take leftovers for lunch (which works great!).