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LIFE

Living a Life of Less | Food

Okay friends, let’s just dive right in to this new series: Living a Life of Less. I’m super excited about this and honestly, could hardly decide which category I wanted to begin with. I’ve chosen food but even that will probably include more than just this one post overtime.

So much of this series was inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book Seven and her motto: Jesus, may there be less of me and my junk and more of You and Your kingdom.

I’ve found as I’ve started to change (or even begin to think about changing) one area of my life I realize others that need changing. For me it comes from wanting less stuff but also realizing that our day-to-day choices are also affecting our bodies and the environment, and while I’ve never been very concerned about the environment (leaving that for the so called hippies) I’ve come to realize that as a Christian, it is my duty to take care of the environment to the best of my ability, and my body as well!

So today let’s focus on food. I know I’ve mentioned before that I am a very picky eater, which has given me some hesitation with this area, but I’m learning that we’ve been so trained in the Western world to love food and live to eat, when really, shouldn’t we just be eating to live? Not that there is anything wrong with food tasting good, but we’ve become a culture that overconsumes.

But why make these changes now you ask? For me a huge reason is the fact that I am a parent. How can I teach my child to respect the environment and eat healthy if I’m not going to do it myself?

On that note, here are a few changes we have been/are going to be making:

More Farmer’s Markets & Local Shopping
I often get jealous of people who live in different places in the world when it comes to this, since we don’t have a very long summer or growing season here in Saskatchewan but I do plan on shopping more at farmer’s markets and from local butchers and purchasing what I can there. It means our food will be fresher, doesn’t have to travel as far too get to us and we are supporting local greenhouses and stores.

No Buying Food with Weird or Harmful Ingredients
Prior to last year I would occasionally read an ingredient label but honestly, it never changed whether or not I bought something. When Jared was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a year ago we suddenly had to start reading every label, and was I ever amazed. Nearly every pre-packaged item in stores contains a list of ingredients so hard to pronounce you know most of them aren’t going to be good for you. Even regular bread often has many ingredients added in to help “preserve” it.  Awhile ago there was a huge uproar about tartrazine in Kraft Dinner (used as a colorant) as it has been known to cause cancer and is banned in many countries, but not here in North America (and we find ourselves scratching our heads at the rise of occurrences of cancer, and we feed this to our children). But not only is tartrazine found in KD, if you read labels you’ll soon find it’s in many items, especially candy.

Make the Same 20 Meals Over & Over
I came across this idea from This Jessi Bridges at the beginning of the year and it has honestly revolutionized the supper hour in our house. The idea is to make a supper menu plan (sorry, dinner menu for my American friends) with 20 meals and just re-use that menu plan over and over again. For us, we use the plan during the weekdays which means every 4 weeks we are eating the same 20 meals we ate the 4 weeks before. It works well for us because we’ve found that we are so picky and when we would try new things we wouldn’t like them and we’d just end up throwing stuff out and even if we aren’t overly excited about the meal we’ve decided the purpose for eating is to refuel our bodies. When I read this on Jessi’s blog post I knew it was meant for me: “I know you’re wondering, how in the world can you eat the same meals all the time and not get tired of them? The answer to that is contentment. Seriously, what you eat is a heart issue.” I don’t know about you but that really hit home for me!

Buying Healthier Foods
Lately I’ve been trying to make a point of only buying foods that I know that will make me feel good after eating them. I find if we have junk food in our house that’s what I eat, but if I simply don’t buy it than it’s not an issue.

Make the Staples
I’ve only just started this but I’m currently making my own stocks (beef & chicken) and in the near-ish future hope to also make: jam, spaghetti sauce, granola, applesauce, pickles, jerky, and a bunch more! I love that this way I know what goes into my food and can adjust things to how I like them.

Waste Less Food
For us that means making smaller meals so we have less leftovers (since we just found they would just end up sitting in our fridge until we threw them out), for other families it might look different. Since I’ve been making my own stock I’ve been using Christina’s method over at Sweet Lavendar Bake Shoppe and have been putting the leftover vegetable and herb trimmings in a bag in the freezer to add to my stocks -I think it’s brilliant!

Compost
We started composting last fall partly to reduce our waste and partly because our dirt is so bad in our backyard (envision digging an inch down and being in the clay). It’s been great! Not only do we have much less trash at the end of the week but we are also making our own organic fertilizer! If you knew how excited this makes me you’d probably call me a hippie, that’s okay, I wouldn’t mind.

Grown Our Own
Okay, maybe easier said than done, especially since I don’t have a particularly green thumb and that combined with our dirt makes it difficult but we are definitely trying to grow some of our own vegetables and herbs this year.

Have Healthy Snacks Available
I’m a big snacker I’ve been trying to make sure that I always have healthy snacks readily available. My favorites lately have been popcorn, sunflower seeds, peanuts and raisins.

It’s a bit of a list and I’ve probably missed something but that’s a good portion of what we are doing to live with less in regards to food these days. We do still have some items in our pantry that don’t follow these rules that we will be finishing, but from here on out I hope to see a big difference in the foods that we purchase.

How do you live with less in regards to food?
Do you have any tips or tricks to eating healthy? Or any good grab and go snacks?

Other posts on living with less:
SPENDING | CLOTHING | POSSESSIONS | MEDIA | STRESS & COMMITMENTS | WASTE
check out some inspiration and the entire series here

Linking up with Simple Moments Stick.

URSULA @ NORTHERN AMBITIONS

Northern Ambitions is a healthy lifestyle blog where I share everything from triathlon training to DIY crafts. I also have a passion for healthy eating and I love taking pictures that make people drool! I believe living a healthy and happy life is all about balance and at the end of the day, it’s all about being surrounded by friends and family. So if you are like me and trying to live the good life, check it out!

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34 Comments

  • Rachel Cox

    love this Chantel! I am reading 7 right now and it is kicking my hiney…such a great and convicting book. Love the idea of making the staples. I make my own stocks currently but that is it…really want to try branching out into some other things!

    • Chantel Klassen

      Oh I’m so glad you are liking it, I love how she can write with both humor and conviction, it’s the perfect combo.
      Yay for branching out and making more stuff! Have you read The Homemade Pantry? I’ve gotten that from the library a couple of times and it’s got a great list and recipes.

  • Amy

    yes. yes. yes. and yes.
    Chantel – hit it right on the head!
    i have recently started hitting this place in life too – wanting to do more for God and in turn that means making sure i’m taking care of myself and supporting those around me.
    there is something beautiful about getting to the point where you no longer live to eat but eat to live. we are so privledged in our societies with being able to buy all of these pre-packaged food…and boy is it unhealthy!

  • In Due Time

    Yes yes!!! Love this!!! Thanks for bringing awareness to this topic – it is SO important to me and I think so many need to be taught (or reminded) about taking care of their bodies and eating healthier 🙂

  • Ursula

    I love these tips especially making the staples. I also think that the more food you make and grow the more you care about what goes into your body. It’s a cycle of wellness 🙂

  • Katie Cook

    Girl I just LOVE this list!! Have you read the book “The Blue Bike” by Tsh Oxenreider? She talks a lot about food and other areas in our life where we can simplify! I LOVE this list of yours!!

  • Kim Fernando

    So exciting for you guys! I was forced to make a lot of these changes in my own food between 2008 and 2010 when I was overcoming a serious illness. It totally changed my life, and I know it’s a way God opened my eyes to how I was or wasn’t taking care of myself and how He desired to feed me good things and bless my environment at the same time. I’ve gotten really lax about some of the things I’ve been saying I’m going to do for years like compost and grow our own… This motivates me to pick back up and see what steps we can take. Keep going! Love this series!

  • Ashley Parrish

    Love all of this! And yes, it amazing how many harmful ingredients are in our food. I’ve even started making our own tortillas and bread, because at least I know whats going in them. These ideas are great!

  • Beka Johnson

    This might be a weird thing BUT have you ever considered buying a whole chicken? I know you mentioned you get food from a local butcher {which is awesome}. I recently have bought a whole chicken, butchered it myself {gross, I know} and then made stock. It’s healthier and saves a bunch of money! I live in Woodward, OK so buying from a butcher isn’t something I can but I can buy a healthier chicken, which is what I’ve been doing lately.

    • Chantel Klassen

      Haha, Jared did this growing up, his family had chickens and he always helped butcher them every year (it was his job to remove the feathers), my cousins did too and I went along to watch one year . . . I don’t think we’ll be doing that any time soon, I’ll stick to buying the chicken already killed and de-feathered. 🙂 I would LOVE to have chickens for eggs though, unfortunately it’s not allowed where we live, though I’ve been thinking about doing a petition to fight that.

      • Beka Johnson

        This is such a late reply BUT I guess I should clarify. When I say I ‘butcher’ a chicken I mean I get it from the store. It’s one big chicken and then I cut it up. I have heard that the butchers in the store will cut it into 8 pieces for you but I always forget to ask. I don’t think I could personally kill, pluck feathers and then eat it. =-(

  • Cecillia Atkinson

    I’m new to your blog & absolutely love the topic you’re writing on! Living with less is something I got very convicted about after reading Radical by David Platt. Also, I’m right next to you in Alberta 🙂 I definitely love what you wrote about having 20 supper meals you continuously use. I think that’s something I’ll have to implement in my home.

    • Chantel Klassen

      Thanks for stopping by Cecillia! Where in Alberta are you? It’s so rare to “meet” other bloggers from Canada, never mind western Canada! I loved Radical, it’s the book that really pushed us to adopt. Off to check out your blog . . .

  • megan w

    I started making jams, chutneys and pickles last year and now I am completely hooked! I highly recommend the cookbook, Food In Jars (http://foodinjars.com/the-cookbook/) because it focuses on small batches so you don’t have to always make 18 pints of jam. The author has a new book out now, but I haven’t had a chance to get it yet.

  • Rachel G

    Angel and I have been paying a lot more attention to what we’re buying at the grocery store and how much we’re spending on different items–and honestly, I think being more aware about our food has made me enjoy preparing and eating meals more! I’ve really been working on buying ingredients in the amounts that will provide us with lots of different meals out–and now we treat ourselves more often by buying the expensive fruits and veggies we love instead of packaged foods.

  • Chloé Arnold

    Absolutely love this! Sounds like a book I may have to purchase soon! Excited to see the other posts in this series. And excited to copy you and attempt being better about food.

  • Jenna Guizar

    This is brilliant. Most definitely pinning this NOW to save it. I finally did a meal plan for the week, now I have to get to the grocery store to actually DO it. I loooove this. Thanks, lady 🙂 ~Jenna

  • Jenna Secrist

    This is soooo incredibly helpful! I just posted on my blog about how I am striving to be healthier as well as honoring God, my husband, and myself with what foods I put into my body as well as staying active. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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