Back in January, I started a food challenge–to eat out of the pantry & fridge/freezer until we could do it no longer. I chose to do this in the midst of a kitchen remodel. It was the tail end of it, and it was a pretty minor remodel. It was still a remodel, though! I’ve been a very bad blogger, and I haven’t let you know how things ended. So, here it goes.
After my last post, we made it about another week and a half with very, very few cheats. By the end, we had very few vegetables left in our stores–predominantly canned tomatoes. I tried, but my stomach just couldn’t handle it to carry it any further. So, it was about 3.5 weeks total. I’d say that’s a win! We saved a bunch of cash, used up a lot of great food, and I lost some weight & thoroughly enjoyed myself in the kitchen. I’m happy to say that I’ve kept most of the weight off, despite some stressful times that sent me back to the junk food for a bit. I have broken one of my worst habits, though: my go-to comfort food french onion dip and Baked Lays. I bought it as soon as I took my first real trip to the grocery store after this little experiment and merrily had some when I got home. My fingers swelled up, my stomach churned, and I haven’t touched them since. My digestive system is tuned to real food now, and for the most part, I just don’t want the junk.
My kitchen habits have changed. I’ve returned to more slow cooking–not in a slow cooker, just longer cooking meals. Even though some of these meals take several hours to cook, most of them don’t have a lot of prep time. They require more planning, not a lot more work. It’s become more of a ritual. These slow foods tend to be cheaper, too. I have cooked many roasts, chicken, stews, etc. These meals are fantastic for rolling over to quick work night dinners, too. On Friday, I made two beef roasts that will end up as pot roast with veggies (we had this for a family dinner tonight), beef & mushrooms over rice, beef veggie stew, and roast beef sandwiches. Some leftover grilled vegetables from Thursday will become a veggie soup to be served with chicken salad sandwiches made from leftover grilled chicken from the same meal. I’m saving a bundle buying meat in large packages, saving time with all of the rollover cooking, and we have plenty of food to share with friends and family.
Another goal was getting my kitchen organized. It’s been a win here, too. Since I’ve been cooking more, it’s just become easier to keep it organized. Since we’re nearly always eating at home, it’s become easier to keep on top of what’s in the fridge, pantry, etc. We’ve eaten through most of the deep, dark freezer, too. It’s about 70% full right now–mostly with things I’ve bought since the challenge ended & keep replacing them.
There’s been an unintended side effect to the challenge, too. My consumption of other goods has changed. I have purchased very little besides food in 2010. I’ve bought a couple of birthday presents, a couple of notebooks, a necklace, and a few Christmas decorations on super clearance. The total of items for myself is about $35 in 2.5 months. I’m afraid to go back and look at prior purchases for an accurate total, but I assure you this is a massive drop. I have not purchased a single item of clothing. For most people, that wouldn’t be weird. For me, it’s astonishing. Typically, I buy at least one item per month–usually more. Given all of the post-Christmas sales, I’d estimate that I would have purchased at least a dozen in this same time period before this new take on clothes. I’m rediscovering my closet & wearing things in new combinations. I’m discovering that you can wear the exact same outfit–accessories and all–more than once. You have no idea how materialistic that last sentence made me feel. I had no idea how freeing it could feel to just stop consuming. It. is. amazing.