We hardly have any recycling.
I don’t crash at 4:30 in the afternoon every day.
I eat only when I am hungry.
I think more about what I eat because I have to make/prepare it myself.
These are some of the comments my husband and I have made since we started our 100 Days of Real Food challenge. The impact that eating less/no processed food has had on our family and lifestyle go beyond what we anticipated. At times, we have embraced the creativity it takes to find a recipe for goldfish crackers and actually make and eat them. We have also become frustrated with the time and effort it takes to replace the entire batch of goldfish crackers that were eaten in 5 minutes. Seriously! They were eaten in less time than it took us to clean up the kitchen after making them! Some additional impacts this challenge has had on our family include:
* My children are all more engaged in food preparation, from grating carrots for snack to cooking tortillas.
* School lunches are more interesting. The kids help think of creative things to put in their lunch. And the best part is, it all gets eaten!
* My children have a better appreciation for what goes into preparing food and therefore do not like to see it wasted.
* We think “outside the box” (pun intended) when planning meals. Who says we can’t have scrambled eggs and waffles for lunch or dinner and gumbo for breakfast?
I must confess, this has been a challenging goal for myself and my family. Our house often seems bare when it really is not. Our cabinets and refrigerator (and recycling bin) are lacking the boxes of crackers, bags of chips, and cans of soup. Instead, what we see when we open our cabinets and refrigerator are: containers of flour, fresh veggies, and various other ingredients that, when combined, will become a healthier and more delicious (most of the time) version of the crackers, chips, and soup that we used to get from the grocery store. Speaking of grocery store, if you are into apps then you’ve got to check out Anylist. It’s awesome! It creates multiple lists, including grocery lists, for the phone and pad that can be shared and manipulated by multiple users. It also has a recipe feature and, with the tap of a finger, you can add an ingredient from a recipe to any list (grocery or otherwise) for a future trip to the store. And since I always have my phone with me, I always have my grocery list!
We have laughed at ourselves after “sneaking” a package of cookies into the house and hiding it under the bed. We have felt defeat after reloading the pantry with familiar pre-packaged, processed old favorites. As far as our cooking trials, we have tasted delicious favorites as well as nasty do-overs. All in all, my family is still committed to maintaining the things about the 100 Days of Real Food challenge that worked consistently for us. We will continue to buy more fresh vegetables (we are considering a local CSA membership), make our own bread (we have a bread maker) and tortillas, make most of our snacks such as crackers, cookies, granola, granola bars, muffins etc. And most of all, we now fully understand the impact of our eating choices on the environment as well as on our bodies and minds.