Thursday, December 30, 2010

Preview of things to come

As I read more about the benefits whole foods and the dangers of processed foods, I am committed to changing our diet.  OK, I've got commitment, now what?  It's so easy to get completely overwhelmed.  With artifical colors and flavors, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), hydrolyzed whatevers, how do you ever begin? 

This past summer I started figuring out the dangers of industrialized foods and I've tried to cut things where I could, but this has led to a hodge-podge of incomplete changes.  Some things are HFCS free and others aren't, some have hydrolyzed soy protein b/c I didn't know that wasn't good until after I bought it.  Whatever the case, this year my goal is to pick one item or group each week and switch over to a real food alternative.  Now, please realize I still have to be budget conscious.  I cannot in good conscious throw things away that we've already purchased, so as I empty my gigantic Sam's-sized bottle of honey, I will replace it with local, raw honey. My HFCS laden ketchup will also get replaced.  You get the idea!

Also, this year, I plan to go through our house and get rid of (donate, repurpose or recycle) those items that we aren't using, don't need, etc.  And, if those things weren't enough, I want to revisit the things that I do that are green.  Are they still the best option?  Is what I'm doing cost effective?  Could I be accomplishing the same goal in a cheaper/greener way?

This whole process started because, as a two-income household, we lost income (about a fourth of it, and there wasn't that much to start with).  I cut back on the number of daycare children I have and my husband lost both of his part-time jobs, so we were forced to cut back.  But, I don't want our financial cuts to jeopardize the quality of life for ourselves or our children.  I am determined to provide better quality with less money.

Next month, we will make our final credit card payment, and we will never have credit cards again.  Over the course of 2011, we will also pay off my van and hopefully make a good dent in one of my student loans.  I would like to pay it off, but I'm not sure how realistic that is.  My grocery budget has been $500/month and I really am hoping to keep it under $400.  This will feed my family of 5, and my 7 daycare kids, breakfast, lunch and 2 snacks.

What are some of your goals for 2011?  Are diet changes among them?

Monday, December 27, 2010

The beginning

I look at my life today and know that I have changed from the person I was 3 or 4 years ago (for the better I hope!).  While I've always considered myself someone who knows good food and likes to cook it, I am coming to the realization that I'm nowhere near where I want to be.  That goes for the life we live as well as the food we eat.  I think I already do several things that are "green," but I am learning that I can always do more.  This year, I would like to simplify my life by ridding ourselves of clutter, changing to environmentally friendly products where I can and further modify my family's diet to whole foods.

This seems like an overwhelming task, but I look at the person I was those 3 years ago and I have come a long way.  The goal is to continue to change/try one new thing each week and make permanent lifestyle changes for the benefit of my family, 52 weeks = 52 life improving changes.

Oh, and I neglected to mention this whole process has to be budget conscious.  In the past, my grocery (read "everything") budget has been $500/month.  In 2011, I want to lower that amount to $400/month.  Our family income significantly decreased in 2010 and, while we had some tough times, we made it through.  I think that if I continue to make wise choice regarding our food money, we can eat a high quality diet and be "green" at the same time.  I invite you to embark on this journey with me-all 52 baby steps.
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