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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!
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?
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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