Wednesday, July 6, 2011

No Grocery Store Challenge

As a kid, while everyone was enjoying their Pizza Hut pizza, I was “tortured” with homemade pizza.  You know, crust made from scratch, ingredients sliced by hand.  On picnics, while everyone else was reveling in the processed cheese and meats of Lunchables, I was the loser eating a sandwich with homemade, thick-sliced bread.  Yeah – poor little me.  I grew up with home-canned peaches, pears & pickles.  Freezer jam made from strawberries we picked.  I never got sugar cereals.  I remember longingly staring at boxes of Cookie Crisp at the grocery store.  I thought my parents were just stingy.  I had no idea that homemade bread IS better than store bought (“Scientific” Fact!)  The grass is always greener, right?

I ate like crap as a teenager.  I treated my body like a trashcan.  The newly acquired freedom of mall visits and measly teenager income allowed me to eat as many chips (darn you, Doritos – why you so tasty?!), drink as many Dr. Peppers, and stuff as much fast food in my mouth as I could.  And thank goodness I was blessed with a FANTASTIC metabolism (Sidebar: Dear Metabolism, I miss you.  Please come back!).  I never worried about what I was eating and I’m sure my parents thought that all of the Food Knowledge they’d shared with me was lost forever. 

But it wasn’t.  It was in there.  And when my daughter was born it came flooding back militant-style.  I made my own baby food (so much easier than I would have imagined).  I became organic and locally-grown OBSESSED.  Sure, I still ate like poo on occasion.  But my daughter didn’t.  She didn’t even get to taste the sweet delicousness of candy until Halloween – when she was 2 ½.  Mean, mean mommy. 

So, a week ago, when Food, Inc’s link to a TakePart article popped up on my Facebook News Feed, I was intrigued.  It talked about a family of three (Hey, like me!) and their pledge to not use grocery stores for a year.  Now, a year is a little more than I’m mentally able to get behind at the moment.  But there is NO reason why I can’t try it for 28 days.  That’s how long it takes to form a habit, right?  Like leasing with an option to buy. 

Here are my guidelines (basically lifted, with a few tweaks, from The Hippest Housewife’s blog chronicling her year-long expedition into Grocery Store Free living):

1. All grocery (read: food) purchases must be made via Farmer’s market, roadside stand, or through 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 incredibly optimistic that this will not be overly challenging.  And, keep in mind, I live in HUNGARY.  My local Farmer’s Market is WONDERFUL, but it’s also all in Hungarian.  Here’s what I hope to get out of this entire process:

1. Immerse myself even more in the local culture.  It’s easy to breeze in and out of our grocery stores here with minimal interaction.  That has not done my Hungarian Language Skills any favors.  I’ve been here a year already and I CAN DO BETTER.
2. Healthier eating.  We already eat almost entirely organic/bio, but it’s difficult to stay away from all the little temptations at the grocery store.
3. Reduced food bill.  Because nearly everything I’ll be purchasing to eat is fresh, I will be forced to buy smaller quantities more often.  I will be attending our local market 3 days a week.  My hope is that less food will be wasted and less money will be spent replacing it. 

So, today, I’m putting it out there on the INTERNETS.

Starting Sunday, July 10, 2011, I pledge that I WILL NOT purchase anything further from any grocery store, aside from my allotted $30USD, until August 7, 2011.  Bring. It. On.

Want to join me? Link up?  I would love to hear your plans and progress.  Can’t stomach the month? Try it for a week.  Shop local and shop fresh.  Summer is a great time to start.  

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