Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Changes, the Good and the Bad

As my diet has changed from the mainstream to the local, there have obviously been some major changes in what I eat, there are things I miss, and there are new things I have discovered that I love.  I wanted to highlight these in this entry.

The Biggest Changes in What and How I Eat

  • I eat a lot more meat.j0400573
  • I eat a lot fewer beans.
  • I don’t have as many packaged ‘low calorie’ and ‘low fat’ options, it is up to me to make my meals that way based on whole food ingredients.
  • I eat a lot more whole wheat products.
  • I have no sour cream!!
  • There are no frozen entrees, which I ate a lot of for my packed lunches at work.
  • The pasta I find always looks like straight egg noodles as opposed to angel hair, rigatoni, or shells, and the texture is a little less firm.
  • I use butter instead of margarine.
  • Instead of shopping at Kroger, I shop at a variety of smaller stores and farmers’ markets.

Things I Miss

  • Fat free refried beans j0432845
  • Any other kinds of beans
  • Tortilla chips
  • Low fat sour cream (or even sour cream in general)
  • Soda (which is strange since I never bought it for myself, only drinking it on rare occasions)
  • Low fat ice cream
  • Fat free chocolate and vanilla pudding
  • Citrus fruit (especially grapefruit)
  • Reduced fat peanut butter
  • Milk chocolate (I can still find it, but it is a lot more challenging and more expensive)
  • Candy (mainly Starbursts).
  • Baby dill pickles
  • Fluffy white bread
  • Snack foods in general (i.e. chips, crackers, popcorn)

New Things I Lovej0144416

  • Gerber’s chicken sausage
  • Sautéed cabbage (which was a real shocker for me)
  • Honey puffed spelt
  • Dutch pancakes
  • The joy of stumbling across a fruit or vegetable that has just come in season at the market
  • Jacob thinking I am a master chef because I have thrown lots of miscellaneous stuff in a pot and made a delicious dinner from it (it’s all about starting with good ingredients)
  • Learning to cook a wider variety of meals.

As I created this list, there were some things that surprised me.  As I compiled the list of things I missed, obviously lots of food items jumped into my mind.  However, as I wrote the list of things I like, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t so much the actual food items that I thought of (although those are great and that list will no doubt expand with the growing season).  Instead it was the experiences around the food that I was enjoying.  Jacob and I have been working in the garden together, cooking together, and meeting lots of new people and old friends at farmers’ markets, which has created a positive aura around the idea of eating local.  I was also a bit shocked that I really don’t mind running to a variety of stores to get everything I need because once I thought about it, I realized that I used to stop at Kroger on an just about every other day because I would always forget one thing or another.  Now, I just stop at a different store every other day or so (and I don’t forget quite as much because I have to really plan out what I am going to be cooking based on what I have found at the farmer’s markets), so I’m really not shopping any more than I was before and I get a wider variety of sights, sounds, smells, and just general human interaction.  The smaller stores tend to have more employees that are willing to talk about what they sell, and of course, the farmers’ markets are a social haven for community and food information.  Even though there are food items I miss, I am quite confident that as time goes by I will be able to fill those voids with new, healthier, more delicious local items and the experiences I am having as I grow, gather, and prepare these local items are far more valuable and rewarding than the convenience and packaged foods that I have sacrificed.      

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