Wednesday, May 5, 2010

You don't have to do it all.

I was joking with my husband about writing a how to guide for real food for real people after a friend of mine suggested a I write a book. I can't write. I used to write, a lot. But I'm, like, word stupid now. Really, I am. I've forgotten all basic rules of writing since college. When I write, it's how I talk. I blabber.

As I was telling my husband (who thinks a book is a great idea, but I think that's just 'cause he's sick of me talking his ear off about food) I don't know that I could write a book. I mean, aside from the writing/blabbering thing, almost all the information I know - I learned somewhere else. And I mean, who am I anyway? Just some girl who's still learning herself, you know? Just some girl who less than a decade ago thought McDonalds was a perfectly acceptable lunch for her toddler.

I've mentioned before that my transition started out of need, not desire. I had to cut costs. In fact, I remember the year this transition started. I was in my kitchen one night, packing lunch for the next day for my then 5 year old. My baby was just months old. An old friend of my husbands had come by and brought a friend of hers. While packing his lunch I mentioned that we needed more Hi-C fruit juice boxes. And the friend of the friend went on a little tirade about how when she had kids she was never going to feed them that garbage and blah, blah, blah. I was so ticked off. How dare she come into my house and put down my choices?! Just wait till she had kids and had to balance everything, sooner or later she'd turn to juice boxes. Well, her approach was wrong. The way she came across, was insulting. It's because of her, that even though I get preachy, I try not to get snotty. Little did I know then, in a couple years time I'd be scorning those little juice boxes as well.

That 5 year old that I was packing lunch for is now almost 12. His lunches are still far from perfect. I'm still learning. But he hasn't had a juice box in years. The boys use reusable water bottles.

You don't need to start big. You don't have to do it all. As Star commented yesterday:

"I think people get caught up in changing everything at once,and they don't think, "Well, ok, this is what I can do now, this is what I can work on." It's much more daunting to make real change when you want it all at once. But that's not always feasible"
That is so true. And that's one of the "chapters" my husband said I should have in my "book" (haha). You don't have to do it all. You don't. Maybe someday you'll want to, maybe you won't. But what you have to look at is what you can do now.

Can you stop putting juice boxes in your child's lunch? I bought reusable water bottles at Wegmans for 2 dollars a piece. They're rubbermaid or something (plastic-y) so still not perfect - but affordable. How much is a 10 pack of juice-boxes? At least 2 dollars. You're not saving money there. A 12 pack of pint size water bottles? $2.50 and they're clogging landfills. We've managed to reduce our trash by a huge amount, and my children are drinking more water and less sugar. That was easy right? A one time, 4 dollar investment. 
When I first started going to our regional market again, it wasn't because I had an interest in local foods. I had an interest in saving money. It was over the course of that first year that my interest turned to nutrition and local foods and food culture etc . . . but it certainly did not start that way. I had been going to the market for about 6 months when I decided to venture out and try one of the local, grass-fed meat vendors. I thought the prices were high. I though there was no way I could afford it. So I started small. Some eggs (3 dollars a dozen) and some ground beef ($3.50  a pound). Over time I began to adjust our menu's to eat seasonally, to eat less meat (though we're eating plenty of it now!) so that I could afford those meats. This change did not come all at once. I'd say it's been maybe 3 years since I started visiting our local market regularly, and it's only been in the last year that most of our food has started coming from there (varying on season of course).
You don't have to do it all.

I'm still learning. I'm still growing. I've been learning to make my own cheese. I make my own wine. You may never be interested in those things. And that is okay.

I've only recently started to cut out white flour and white sugar. I've only very recently begun to look at soaking grains. I've (repeatedly!) admitted that my kids eat chips and other snack foods. I can't do it all. I can't do everything I want to and do it the way I want to. Part of learning to make the change to real food, is learning when and what to let go of. You do what you can and move on.

Any change you make towards real and local food is going to benefit you and your family.

I think there are several bloggers participating in something called One Small Change. That's sort of what I'm talking about (and if anyone could link me to the origins, I'd be grateful). You don't need to get overwhelmed. You don't need to go spend your whole paycheck at Whole Foods. Honestly, I'm so used to shopping locally, I don't know if I would like a Whole Foods (we don't even have one near us). 

What is one thing you can do, today, this week, this month to make a change? Can you cut out juice boxes? Can you buy only local grass-fed beef? Can you check local harvest - find a farm or market and go there, even if you don't buy anything?

When I first started on my real food journey - I had no idea that's where I was going. You may already be light-years ahead of where I was. Check out my recommended reading tab for some great books on this topic. Not included there are the two books that I started with. They aren't so much real food as just scratch/budget food. I haven't used these books in years, and they've been in and out of my book donation pile so many times I've lost count. I think I'll keep them though. They were a great starting point for a clueless 23 year old who had never cooked anything that didn't come in a wrapper.

Those books were Miserly Meals and Not Just Beans. If you're on a tight budget and just getting started in transitioning from processed foods, I definitely recommend those books to get started.

 I'm thinking about doing regular posts over the next month or so on real food for real people. I hope you guys will join in, posting on your own blogs, or in the comments here!


kiki said...

MmmmmmmmmHmmmmmmmm - I think this is a chapter right here.

You're a good writer, and your story and your journey are interesting.

~Barb~ said...

I have to agree with kiki above me, you are a wonderful writer with the ability to keep my attention and make the reading enjoyable. I even found that I have a local organic beef ranch a mere 20 miles away through your link.
Thank you for such a wonderful post...I'll be a constant reader from now on.
Peace & Love,

gardenofsimple said...

Hi Barb! Thank you so much for your kind words :D And I'm so glad you were able to find a local ranch!