Pat Myself on the Back Tuesday: Eating more organic and saving money??

So, when I think about a week, I think of Monday as being a really fresh start. It’s almost ALWAYS easy to stay on track for Mondays, usually because the weekend may have been indulgent. Monday is a great day to just start over, screw your head back on straight, and move forward with your week. That’s one of the theories behind Meatless Monday, I think, is that Mondays are usually a day that people use to eat healthy and start their week off right. A meatless meal is certainly one of the healthiest ways you can go (depending, of course – white pasta and white garlic bread drowned in processed vegan cheeses is certainly not a healthy meatless meal.) So Mondays are easy.

But then Tuesday comes, and its one of the weirdest days to me. Tuesday usually disappears between Monday’s reset switch and Wednesday’s mid-week insanity (Wednesdays are always O.O.C. for me, I don’t know why.) But what if Tuesday had a whole new meaning behind it?

I’m going to start patting myself on the back on Tuesdays for things that I did well the week before. A lot of the times, if I am tempted to eat poorly, I am more likely to ‘relapse’ into bad eating habits if the previous week was not perfect either. When I have a good full week, it motivates me to continue moving forward through another one. I figure that a pat on the back is a great way to recognize positive things and focus on the things that I did for myself that resulted in a gain rather than the things that I may not have done as well as I wanted. Recognition = motivation to do more things better. So, on Tuesdays, I’m going to Pat Myself on the Back.

So this week, I’m going to pat myself on the back for eating more organic foods AND saving money in the process.

Is it really possible? You bet your bottom dollar it is.

Let me tell you how I did it. When I worked at a grocery store full time, it was very easy to NEVER grocery shop. You get into a rhythm of buying both breakfast and lunch at the store, grabbing something processed and easy to heat for dinner (especially if your job at the store is to cook for the public, it really turned me off on cooking at home.) On your days off, since the cupboards are bare from ‘forgetting’ to grocery shop, you get takeout or go out to eat. By the end of the week, your food bill is through the roof. And its not an easy cycle to break because meal planning and grocery shopping and cooking all take time. Once you’re in that groove, its hard to make time because you’re so used to having the free time to do what you want. It’s not necessarily as important to take time to cook or stock your pantry. I also can’t tell you how many times I attempted to make a plan and then did a big shop and then got sucked back into the rhythm of work and hurry and eat on the go and don’t cook. Unfortunately, this wasted even more money.

Now, I’m cooking almost every single meal at home, and often I will cook something that I reuse in different ways for 3-4 days. Sometimes I’ll even just make a big one-pot meal and eat it for lunch and dinner for a couple days. My cooking is that good. 😉

So now I’m using a lot of whole foods instead of processed foods. And the interesting thing is that in whole foods, the cost of organic for the quality that you’re receiving is ACTUALLY worth it. If you were to compare 3 different processed chocolate cookies – 1 organic, 1 all-natural, and 1 conventional AKA chemical-ridden –  I am sure you would taste a difference in the conventional cookie. However, I’m not convinced how much difference would be in the organic vs. all-natural. At that level of processing, the extra freshness that I think organically grown whole foods have beforehand is lost. That extra freshness is what makes it worth the little bit of extra money for organic whole foods. Have you ever taste-tested two strawberries? Organic vs. conventional, even in peak season. The difference is mind-blowing. Peanut butter is another one that I recently noticed a difference in. And bananas. Even peppers and potatoes. The list goes on. Here’s where I wonder about the connection between how delicious a whole food tastes and the quality of nutrition it offers. Could organic taste better because its more nutritious? I really think so. The plants usually look healthier (more nourished!) and are more vibrant in color, which almost always translate to more nutritious.

The reason our palettes cry out for certain flavors or why colorful food is so pleasing to the eye is linked to what our body is craving for nutrition. In the world of processed foods that we live in, many people misinterpret the signal for, “Hey, we need nutrition to have energy and feel better.” We’re reaching for coffee, white bread, sugar; foods that when eaten will cause a blood sugar spike or caffeine rush. Yea, there will be a rush of energy, but inevitably there will be more of a metabolic stress when one’s body has to regulate back to normal levels quickly. And then, the stress of regulation will then cause a deficit, and the body cries out again for help… It’s a neverending cycle that has resulted in millions of people sick with diabetes, obesity, heart control, and more.

Anyway, I guess I’ve gotten a bit off topic. Bottom line is that now that I’m preparing my own meals at home from more ORGANIC whole foods (meaning fresh or frozen fruits or vegetables, beans and grains bought in bulk, nuts, etc), I’m spending much much less money than when I was purchasing all-natural, vegan food that was prepared for ‘on the go.” I’m choosing everything organic that I can and feeling good about where my food dollars are being spent. It’s worth the extra X% that it costs for the quality, nutritious, delicious food that I am now cooking in my own home. Tomorrow, I’m hoping to stop by the Wintertime Farmer’s Market at the Hope Artiste Village. I would like to buy more local as well. And then maybe by next year, have enough knowledge and resources to grow some of my own food! Goals!

By the way, dinner tonight was a grilled cheese (Daiya cheddar) with avocado and a bowl of Dr. McDougall’s lower-sodium organic garden vegetable soup.


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