Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Flakier than a box of Kellogs

I've had two interrelated ideas running around in my head recently. Both would be potentially huge lifestyle changes, and for both, I'm not totally sure just how committed I would be.

The first is that I've been considering a complete reevaluation of the way we eat. I'm very interested in the "eat local" movement, or even just being more conscious of what we eat. You know, less prepared convenience food. I think we do a reasonable job of eating healthy, although there's still a lot of room for improvement.

I'm running into a few problems, though. First, I don't know anyone eating local, so I have no one to help me out with tips on how to do it. I'm searching the web, but it seems to be a big job.

Second problem: one of my sons has a peanut and tree nut allergy. I know, that doesn't seem to be related, but I've found that it is a problem. As I try to make healthier or more environmentally conscious choices, I've found that far more of those choices are not nut-safe. My theory is because many of these foods are from smaller vendors, who probably don't have the space to have nut-free facilities, so all their products end up potentially contaminated with nuts. This just further limits the already small number of choices available.

Third problem: cost. It's not bad in the summer to eat local vegetables, and they taste so much better that even if they do cost slightly more, it's well worth it. And often they cost less, so that's not a problem. But off-season, there aren't many choices, and non-vegetable choices do tend to be more expensive than their conventionally grown options. For example, this past Thanksgiving we had local turkey: $80 for one turkey! Yeah, that's not going to fit into our budget on a regular basis.

So, I think what we'll try to do is make better choice. I'm not going to set an eat local goal, like 50% or anything. What I'm going to try to do is to be informed about my choices, and chose to eat local when possible. I think I'll try to do one 100% (or as close as I can get) local dinner per month, just to start getting my feet wet looking for options in the area.

My other issue that I've been thinking a lot about recently is living simply, trying to reduce consumerism in our lives. Celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas, the time period from Thanksgiving to New Year quickly devolved into one big consumer driven fog. Too much stuff! So, I'm trying to be more cognizant of purchasing what we NEED, not just what we want. Thinking about purchases instead of just impulse buying. I'm sure I'll be blogging more about this in the future.

But, my concerns in general are that I'll become really flaky. I feel like people who move far from the norm of standard accepted behavior sometimes become really judgmental about it. And I hate that. I don't want it to be a competition, or to be judged because sometimes I just want a cup of Starbucks coffee or a banana. I don't mind if people think I'm weird, but I don't want them to think I think I'm better than them. Oh well, I'll just keep telling myself I can't control what other people think, just what I do.

Easier said than done, right?

Random unrelated thought: When I asked B-man who he loves, he answered, "Mommy, Daddy, [N-man], and (pause....) ME!" Then he cracked up. He has such a weird and wonderful sense of humor. I love how he's always trying to say something funny. N-man is more of a straight-man, but is still willing to find the humor in the situation and greets the world with such enthusiasm. He peed on the potty the other day, and danced around for about half an hour saying "Yay, me! My pee-peed on the potty!"


KCSummertime said...

Hey there -
Both admirable goals. I think of the eat local/reduce consumerism movements much like the green movement. I didn't get rid of my car, and I haven't installed solar panels to replace my gas line. But I do recycle, I do turn off the water when I brush my teeth, we did replace all of our lightbulbs with CFLs.

I think that you can make incremental changes that have impact but don't feel crazy, flaky, or depriving. In the menu of Stone Hearth Pizza (that local pizza place we told you about), it had some amazing and ridiculous statistic about the number of apples shipped to NYC, and how something like 75% are from the West Coast, even though New York produces more than enough apples to meet NYC's annual needs. So that seems like a simple one right there - buy local apples. (I already do, because I like the eastern apples better, but you know what I mean.)

And in re: consumerism. I can't remember if I told you that this year, we didn't do presents for any of the adults in our family. Instead, we all got to choose a charity, and we donated to those charities. I LOVED it. I loved not scurrying to the mall to buy scarves & stationery & slippers and other anonymous, useless crap for my in-laws. I loved learning about these nonprofit organizations I'd never heard of, and being in touch with all the amazing things people are doing in the world.

We did still have gifts for the kids, but that was absurd too. Like my kid needs 6 new Gap shirts?? Please. It's ridiculous. Not sure how to cut that one down, but as I say - incremental changes. :)

You're awesome, and I love reading this stuff.

jules said...

i have to say, the idea of "do we need" vs. "do i want" really got me thinking.

i commend you for your mission to eat local more frequently. i too try to do the same (we actually have an organization here that helps promote local farms), but find that i'm more successful in the summer months than the dead of winter.

incremental changes, my friend.

What A Card said...

Thanks guys, I appreciate the support! Small changes. I found a lot of potential sources for local food. I said to the Husband today that I wanted to go to a grist mill on the RI border. He looked crazily at me, then said it sounded like fun so hopefully we'll have a free day soon to make the trip!

I'll keep the blog update with my ongoing quest, along with some recipes. Yum!