Feb 6, 2012

Melissa's New Year's Real Food Resolutions

This post was written in 2011 by Melissa, mother of SIX boys.  At the end of the post she gives an update for 2012.

This girl is definitely more in the “drop the ball” camp when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions. Nonetheless, I face 2011 with great optimism that setting goals, whether they get fully met or not is a worthy practice! After all, how are you gonna measure your success without a gauge?

When it comes to eating real food this year, I am more optimistic than ever! Why? Because for one thing, I am already making significant baby steps (significant for me and my family anyway). And secondly, because the idea of eating real, whole, healthy foods moved from that part of my psyche that wants to be thin and pretty and acceptable in the world’s eyes to the part that says, “This matters for health and well-being and even for spiritual reasons.”

When things move from the superficial to the meaningful, the need to incorporate that becomes powerful and intentional. And even though I find myself occasionally (okay, more often than I’d like to admit…) reverting back to bad habits, especially in this past holiday season of feasting, I find that I am more convinced that my health is the thing taking the beating - not my waistline. It is for those reasons that I once again, set my face towards the goal and say…LET’S DO THIS!

My resolutions for this New Year are a short list but packed with lots of change for my family. Baby stepping we will go into this as we have already been doing!

1. Conquer my fear of the farmer’s market and buying locally.

Those of you who frequent the markets are wondering what it is I am so afraid of!? It is just the unknown. I feel unknowledgeable about things like what to look for in produce and local meat, what is a fair price, and if I can afford to pay the price. I tend to fall into extremes, either buy nothing…or buy everything…and either way live with regret. One way I am baby stepping towards this is to purchase organic produce a little at a time from Whole Foods and try new veggies and recipes with them. Then, once I know what my family will eat and how much is good and how much is a waste…I can make better decisions at the markets. I also plan to find a buddy who will go with my and hold my hand…so to speak!

2. Continue to experiment with new cooking techniques and recipes.

I have conquered kombucha and kefir and even tried Hindu fermented lemonade! Now, I’d like to try lacto-fermented mayonnaise, sauerkraut, more grain-soaking and maybe grain-sprouting. I also want to make my own vanilla extract, my own spice mixes (like taco seasoning, salad dressing spices, etc), and more of my own condiments.

3. Improve at managing my grocery and household budget so that making more expensive, but healthier choices will be doable.

I firmly believe that this can be done. I have already seen it. For example, if I make my own kefir I don’t have to buy yogurt at Whole Foods and that savings alone justifies my purchase of a cow share so that we can have access to raw milk! If I buy less sugar and snacks that are unhealthy, I can justify purchasing organic produce.  And, if I buy in bulk or from a co-op I have to spend more up front perhaps…but in the long run I am saving money…and my health! I want to get really savvy at this so I can show my husband that indeed, we are NOT spending more for this lifestyle or that if we are, it is minimal and worth it!

4. Begin weaning myself and my family away from chemicals in our home.

I confess….I love a clean home. I love clean laundry. And I have always equated those things with the SMELL of some chemical…be it bleach or detergent or perfumes. Slowly but surely I am becoming convinced that this is not good and not necessary. I have yet to begin this process so I am excited to see where it leads and if I am satisfied with the results.

So there you have it…that is a great accountability for me! Like I said, I feel confident these things can be done in 2011. It is exciting to see how I have already grown in the area of Real Food in the past few months. Blessings to you as you try new things this year too!
2012 Update:

I was scared to revisit these goals, but pleasantly surprised I had worked on most of them to one degree or another.  I was glad I kept it simple. 

1.      I did not conquer my fear of the farmer’s market at all.  In fact, never even went to one.  I really am going to have to find a friend to go with…several friends go so I have no excuses.  One issue I run into all summer is my boys swim on Saturday mornings and that keeps me busy 8 weeks of the summer.  I still want to work on this resolution!

2.      I did try new cooking techniques!  I made wonderful vanilla extract and then vanilla sugar, have made my own mayonnaise with ease and tasty results,  and make homemade salad dressings.  I have yet to do grain sprouting, but I have soaked grains for things like breakfast oatmeal casserole.  I will continue doing these things this year.

3.      I can’t say I “found the answer “ for  lessening my grocery budget to adapt to real food purchases, but probably managed to maintain status quo with it. 

4.      I did make A LOT of homemade cleaning agents this year and wrote about it here.  I still make many of my own cleaners though if I get busy I revert back to store-bought.  I am getting ready to check into Norwex cloths next week as this will eliminate the need for a lot of cleaners homemade or not.   

I need to maintain these resolutions this year and add in more experience with things like fermenting.  I hope to follow some of Julie’s recipe for fermenting foods.  I am also working on making more healthy alternatives for my kids for snacks.  I enjoy baking so I think this one will be FUN!


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