Friday, September 6, 2013

Simple Family Fridays

        Last week I touched on the topic of keeping life simple- or K.I.S.S.- keep it simple stupid- and while the name stupid is not a word I would regularly use- the acronym still sticks in my mind. I was asked by a few readers to elaborate on some of the things we utilize while striving for a simpler life. Now that school is in session I feel like I need these reminders as much as anyone- so I thought I would try something new here- Simple Family Fridays- where I will share some of my tips and techniques in creating a simple family life!

     Simple Tips #1- Eating Sustainably

        We made the switch from more conventional eating to striving for a sustainable diet in Ernest about a year ago- this is not to say that a grocery store threshold never shall be crossed- quite the opposite. What eating sustainably means eating locally, seasonally and organically- planning while staying flexible at the same time. Let me explain this contradictory statement further- we shop a great deal at our local farmer's markets which means that we need to be flexible to substitute one item for another if a particular vendor is not at a market- working from a master grocery list but making substitutions if needed.

      We shop what is in season at the farmer's market- right now tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and corn and then flush out the remainder of our list at grocery stores- carefully. For example we shop at Costco quite a bit- I mean what growing family doesn't? Costco has great deals on chia seeds, organic ground beef, walnuts and organic milk- plus toilet paper- obviously!

       We shop the farmer's market for eggs, sausages and the Bean Boy's Hummus- but hit Whole Foods for dry bulk items like black beans, lentils, oats and bananas- cause bananas* don't grow on trees around here and are a vital part of our morning smoothies! We try and stay away from the interior isles of the store as this is typically where all the packaged goods reside in any grocery store- and at Whole Foods that can be dangerous!

      Shopping at the farmer's markets is so much more fun that shopping a conventional grocery store- in fact mock me if you will- but I get anxiety in grocery stores- I panic and end up with only half the items I came for. Farmer's market shopping can be much more relaxing once you get over the fear of the crowds and sticker shock. Shop wisely and with a list- shop on a full stomach.

     To balance out the cost of local and organic foods as well as do the environment a solid we try and go meatless at least once a week. By choosing to go meatless we are reducing the stress on the land- plus it is heart healthy. Opt for a hearty lentil soup and baguette or bean burritos- with lots of cheese of course!

     In order to keep this whole grocery shopping situation simple I make sure to meal plan for the coming weeks- from the meal plan I can look in our pantry and decide what items we need to stock up on. Now that school is back in meal planning is key- it means at 4 pm I am not scrambling to defrost something- I already know what's for dinner- simple. Needless to say we try and make much of our food from scratch- I have a handful of recipes that are family favourites that rotate with the season- that doesn't mean that we never eat a frozen pizza or take out- cause we do- just very occasionally!

        I hope you like my first post on simplicity- I chose the topic of food and eating as it is always on my mind- feeding my family- planning- being healthy- if you are a regular reader you will I am sure have noticed my food obsession by now. FYI it runs in the family. My final thoughts on food and simplicity are this- food doesn't need to be complicated- it doesn't need to come from a lab- food should be nourishing, tasty and simple.

* I know that bananas aren't local or seasonal but hey we are human and we like bananas- at least the ones we buy are organic!

PS- wow- I almost forgot it's Friday again- you would think by the name of the post I would be aware- duh! Clearly I need more coffee- always more coffee! We are packing up for the last hurrah of this summer- camping in the Okanagan with some dear old friends- yes they really are old- my age at least! Friends I hope where ever you are in this fine world of ours you are surrounded by light and love this weekend- Happy Friday!


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  2. I live for keeping things simple. I have a menu, and I try to do it 2 weeks in a row. I try to keep my pantry and fridge well stocked and yes shop in season, although I am spoiled in that department. I try to cook so that I have extras for additional meals, and I plan for left over nights. (I can't stand to waste food!)
    Oh and I've pretty much memorized the clean 15 and dirty dozen lists. FYI bananas aren't on the dirty dozen, while I think organic tastes better and is better, if it's much more than the conventional I'll buy conventional. AND meat isn't bad for your heart. I'll argue that loud and long. Esp if you're eating good grass fed organic happy hippy meat, which you of course don't want to waste!

    1. I won't argue with you on the meat thing being heart healthy- all I can say is any diet information my Dr has given me lately has said that too much red meat is not that great for your diet. I feel for my family that it can't hurt to go meat less once a week- we enjoy eating veg- so why not. Eating less meat is great for the pocket book as well- while we try and eat the best meats and vegetables that we can it does get expensive- not eating meat once a week makes it a bit easier on the wallet!

      I also know bananas are not on the dirty dozen list I still chose organic as more of an environmental choice than anything- conventional banana farms are atrocious- while I am sure organic banana farms are not perfect I feel that the use of less chemicals in the environment is always a good thing. Plus with all the organic food we buy- organic bananas are probably one of the more affordable items on my list!

      Our family choses local and organic foods as much for the environmental impact as the health benefits.

  3. I think they're referring to cholesterol, which I don't believe is as bad as they say. BUT yes, meat free is good to do sometimes, it's nice and cleansing. And even grass fed cows make messes. ;)
    Sometimes I see bananas that are $1-2 more a pound for organic over conventional, which ugh! I need to do more research on the nastiest crops, regardless of where they are on the clean 15. Scary. What's strange to me, and saddens me, is how little organic comes from Hawaii, you'd think with such great opportunity to farm etc with the weather it would be more prominent for organic stuff, but it's not! So shocking. I think I am really really spoiled here in the Bay Area. Just had a friend from here move to there and said it's awful, but she's taken it on as her personal mission to change that. She's a warrior.


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