I think you can tell a lot about the world that we live in when you look at the first world problems that we have. I use to work at a Dairy Queen.
One day a women came in and asked for a Arctic Rush, which if you have been to the DQ it is basically a slushie, but she wanted it without the flavoring in it.
I didn't really think much of it until she was leaving and I heard her tell her friend she was on a diet and it was only "crushed ice". She left before I could tell her that the stuff used to make the "crushed ice" has a TON of sugar in it while the other packet is just the flavor, it could also have sugar in it, but I don't remeber. She was not the only person to assume this in my multiple years working there during college.
Sugar is in every corner of our society and if you don't pay attention you will end up surprised.
But if you ask me the whole food situtuation is sort of messed up.
What I mean is, I never understood the purpose of putting the word "breakfast" before a kind of food to make it "okay" to eat the first thing in the morning.
Breakfast pizza springs to mind.
While I do like breakfast pizza, any pizza I decide I want to eat at 7am is breakfast pizza. I'm an adult, so if I want to eat a slice of cake first thing in the morning, I don't feel like I need to justify it by giving it a special name.
But there are so many things. My mom made Zucchini bread. And since it was with zucchini it had to be healthy. Then I asked for the recipe, and well after two cups of sugar, nothing can be healthy.
I wish my kids went to school in Sweden. I just learned today that the schools there only server home cooked meals with a salad buffet.
Ah, yes, I guess it is mac and cheese, sloppy joe, and crochets for us....
I've developed a food mantra that I wanted to share. It's simple enough that it's a good thing to "set intentions" around, and it helps me shift my focus. This helps me know i'm not going to starve myself because - well, if I'm depriving myself I'm going to feel awful.
"My body is not a trashcan." (This is a slightly modified version of what Jack Lalanne was told.)
And while it sounds terrible, it has helped me realize I care about my body, and if I'm feeding my body trash...I'm going to feel like garbage.
I was on Weight Watchers for two years, I enjoyed the program but it didn't work for me. I don't think tracking was maintainable for me long term. I know people that have made this into a religion. By tracking calories they tell me that they are able to eat everything, yet they still have to fight.
By lifting weights and focusing on macros/calories it is allowing me to control how my body looks and get to a desired lean body shape that I have always wanted.
This is through personal devotion and hard work. Not by buying into hype, the products that will "give" you the chance to circumvent the actual aspect of this, well, you are only cheating yourself. At first I hated the taste of oatmeal, well, there was a problem but it was easy to fix. At first I had to force myself to choke it down. But was this a problem with the food or with who I had become. After a while I realized that it wasn't the food. I just expected this mental stimulation from the food that the junk was giving me. I expected it to be sweet or salty, but it was strange, after I had eaten oatmeal for a while I started to feel great. I had tons of energy and I want to get out and be active. Also I learned that I was responsible for preparing the food. Making it taste the way I wanted.
And my whole prespective shifted.
Your body runs off what you put in. Why would we throw extra salt, fat, and a bunch of other stuff we don't need to our meals?
I guess I am just spending a lot of time thinking about what food has meant to me my whole like. Both my parents grew up pretty poor.
My family is not poor, we're your typical middle class American family (both my husband and I work), but I love some of the simpilist dishes you could imagine, particularly the stuff I grew up on.
We are all healthy and happy and I have the piece of mind knowing that we are eating home cooked meals. Thouh I think I made it sound simplier than it really is. I actually put a lot of effort into making things as healthy as I can.
My mother did the same thing but she never counted a calorie, or looked on the nutrion facts. I really don't think that they had them when we were growing up. But we were also happy and healthy. I think that the trick might be making extremely simple meals. But she really never had to count calories. She simply choose the right foods to eat.
I think mainly because she didn't have the option to spend a small fortune on chips, candy, and soft drinks. When we had them it was as a treat, and it actually was a treat for us growing up.
I make sure my childen see it as that as well.
My new co-worker, she told me that coffee was bad for you and plus she didn't like the taste. The same went for tea, though she "would" drink it with sugar and milk. She thinks that water is a fad and prides herself on the fact that she has gone without drinking a glass of water in over a year.
Last week she had five kidney stones removed. Five, and they were all over an inch. Three of them were between one and two inches. That is what happens when you only drink the fun beverages.
She is twenty-two years old by the way.
I enjoy keeping track of this stuff and it just seems natural to me to get an idea of what I need when I am going to do something. This can be simple, but when it is more complicated I tend to make lists. Lists are a lifesaver and a great way to keep track.
They also give you an idea of where you can make adjustments.
My friend and her husband have two children, for reference my family is the same size and age.
When we go shopping things look very different.
I make a plan for the meals for the week. I know what I need to buy and how much things will cost. My friend will just wonder the store and throw things in her cart. She usually has to go shopping more than once a week because she hasn't bougt everything she needs to prepare the meals.
For example, I sit down every Sunday evening and make a rundown of what I will need. Shopping is done on Saturday so I have a whole week to adjust or add to the list. Her grocery bill is easily $400 or more a week.
Mine, well take a look for yourself, this week I will be making:
- Pizza, veggies & dip: $1.94/person
- Hamburger night (half veggie burgers) & veggie cheese stuffed potatoes: $2.42/person
- Tacos & burritos: $1.75/person
- Curried chickpeas, coconut-spinach dal, naan & hummus: $1.07/person
- Pork chops, mashed potatoes, peas & carrots: $2.10/person
- Vegetable and Lasagne and garlic bread: $2.44/person
- Sunday dinner, roast beef, yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes & mixed veggies: $2.43/person
Dinner will cost us less than $60 for the week. These are all wholesome home cooked meals. I am not pinching pennies. In fact I try to get higher quality bio veggies and the works. So many people want to save on everything possible there's a point where your quality of life starts to go down so you can have money for when your old.
My friend tells me that I am frugal. Well, I don't spend $150 a week on drinks. The biggest budget breaker I have found is drinks, milk, oj, really anything other than water easily costs $0.50-$1.00 per 16oz glass (technically 2 servings).
People need to realize that being frugal isn't just about saving money. It's also about how much value you can add if you're willing to make an effort and plan well. For me adding a lot of expensive drinks is not adding value. And my family is a big cranberry juice fan and I can get two gallon containers for a reasonable price.
I do a five-week meal plan for our dinners, and prep our lunches for Monday - Thursday on Sunday.
In the beginning our slow cooker was a life saver! On days I knew we were going to be out all day, I threw something together in the crock pot.
Since then I have evolved and now my meals are planned out ahead of time.
Now the way I do the meal plan is pick seven meals, then draw up a rotation list of four meals per week (the other three are leftovers, restaurant, or throw something together on a whim).
Each meal is only repeated three times, so you're not having exactly the same thing week after week.
Figure out what you can do ahead (mix chicken and marinade ingredients together and freeze, make huge batch of pork taco filling in the crockpot and freeze in smaller packets) and which ingredients will stay good the whole month. Calculate out your shopping list for all the things you can buy ahead of time.
Shopping and prepping are a huge day, but a lot of your prep is done! Then week to week, all you have to do is purchase your fresh ingredients and get things out of the freezer.
I got started with a book called "A New Way To Dinner".
It teaches you that with a little prep on the weekend there is minimal cooking during the week - just combine ingredients.
They feel like fancy/sophisticated recipes but they are easy to throw together (e.g., cook pasta, stir in the tomatoes you roasted on Sunday and corn and basil and you've got "Penne Pasta with Blistered tomatoes and corn".
My daughters love it.