Friday, July 29, 2011

No Grocery Store Challenge - Be a Localvore/Locavore!

The Guidelines:

1. All grocery (read: food) purchases must be made via Farmer’s market, roadside stand, small shop or  private purchase.

2. $30USD (before tax) is allotted – for the entire 28 days – to purchase various items that cannot be found at aforementioned venues.  All food purchased with this $30 should be organic/bio, if possible.

I am now in my third week of my NGSC and I have no intention of slowing down.  I’ve been to the store only once to pick up some organic coffee creamer, cereal and sunflower seeds.  Pleasantly surprised is too light of a term to describe how I have felt about this experience so far.  Here are a few of the things I’ve learned:

1.  I had more food packed away in my pantry than I thought.  This challenge has prompted me to dig into the corners of my “pantry” – which is really a bereft bookcase in the office because my house does not have an actual pantry – and I’ve discovered some treasures.  I’ve also been working through all of the frozen items I had stockpiled.

2. Preparing and freezing food isn’t as hard as I’d imagined.  My freezer is now stuffed with 30-ears-worth of corn, rhubarb, homemade spaghetti sauce, walnuts, beans, pureed carrots & cauliflower, breads, lemon & lime cubes, peas, and homemade raspberry-basil sorbet.

3.  I have learned how to make things that had never occurred to me to make from scratch.  Along with the aforementioned spaghetti sauce (Never had I made it from fresh tomatoes – so easy, who knew?!) and raspberry-basil sorbet, I also made my own nut butter for the first time.  I used almonds, cashew, pecans and a dash of organic pumpkin oil.  And I will NEVER purchase peanut butter again.  My 4 year old gives it two sticky thumbs up and would eat it for every meal if I let her.  Score! I also blanched and froze vegetables for the first time.   

I swear this is not ALL mine!
4. I discovered a local wine shop.  Wine – grown locally and sold in reusable bottles – for $2.  Seriously. 

5.  I have saved a LOT of money.  I mean, a LOT.  I make no claims that this will happen to you because every town and market is different.  But for me, in Hungary, the savings have been incredible.  Well over 50%.  Keep in mind that we pay a 25% VAT on all grocery here.  At the Farmers’ Market, you don’t.  And now my impulse buys are an additional flat of raspberries or a bag of fresh-ground paprika. 

Which means:

6.  I have lost 10 lbs.  Now I know this is mostly reduced water retention.  HOWEVER, the reason I don’t have water retention is because I’m not porking out on bags of chips.  I’m cooking fresh, whole foods with herbs as seasoning.  I also have a lot more energy thanks to eating non-processed foods & sugar. I was not doing the NGSC to lose weight, but I. WILL. TAKE. IT.

7.  After trolling the internet for other NGSC participants – I am not the first and I am happy to say I am not the last – I stumbled upon the word, “Localvore or Locavore.”  What a delightful term.  I now dub myself a Localvore.  May I live up to it!

Since I joined the challenge and it was graciously mentioned by both TakePart & Food, Inc (and, seriously, what an honor!!!), I have been contacted by two individuals who have either started or will be starting their own NGSC.  So wonderful!  And if you’re still skeptical about going full-on, check out Sara’s NGSC Lite.  Even if you skip just one grocery store trip to visit your local Farmer’s Market, you have made a difference.  Kudos!

If you missed it, check out my Farmers' Market & Food Storage tips.
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