Today is Day 5 of operation “eat everything in my fridge, cupboards, and freezer” and operation “cut back on animal products, imported foods, and waste.” My fridge has now been reduced to a bowl of chick peas and a bowl of goji berries soaking on the shelf, a stray banana, avocado, red chilli, a bowl of babganoush, pieces of lemon, a pineapple, grapefruit, jug of water, milk, Children’s Panadol, and a single egg. Not exactly a feast. The chick peas will go in tomorrow’s falafel. I don’t know what to do with the goji berries, and the avo will be the base of some homemade guacamole. Pineapple for breakfast. Since my cupboard was beginning to resemble Old Mother Hubbard’s, I thought it would be a good idea to carefully plan some meals for the weekend. I looked through my cookbooks, and made a list of what I should try to find at the market and what I would need to get from the shops. This list took me well over an hour to prepare. To avoid waste, and to choose the best products takes time. It is very clear to me that I’m an amateur. I’m counting on the hope that with practice, I’ll become more efficient. By this morning, I had managed only to spend $35 on groceries for the week, most of which was on local produce. By this afternoon, I had spent $120 at Coles. To be fair, fifty percent of that was nappies and other nappy-related items. Tomorrow I hit the market.
I have been spending some time researching the growers and distributors from my food labels online. Did you know that most of our pasta comes from Italy? Until today, I couldn’t find organic butter that wasn’t from Europe. When I buy organic chickpeas in a tin, they are packaged in Italy with chickpeas that are imported from an undisclosed origin. If I buy dry chickpeas, they’re from Australia. I’m learning a lot about the process of how our food gets to our table, thanks to both the internet, and to the people passionate about the food they grow and sell. In the last week I have had discussions with farmers and even the manager of Coles (lovely man). They’ve shared a lot with me. We’ve discussed everything from food quality to sustainability. One point that we all agreed on was that despite the improvement, in some (very few) aspects of the meat industry, the use of animal products, including dairy, will never be sustainable. It will have to end one day. See a short article UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet , from June 2010. The more I read, the more I feel that I need to learn to be vegan. There it is. The adjective. Don’t hold me to anything just yet. How about “vegan-ish?” Or how about the rest of the world stopped eating so much meat and dairy that we could all sustainably have a little bit?? Please? This journey I’m on is a process with a steep learning curve (for me). This is not a lifestyle that will replace my former habits overnight. It will take some stuff-ups, time, and commitment.
Since reducing gratuitous eating and packaging waste in the house, I have to say, I’m not sure if I’m hungry or experiencing withdrawal. I’m in no way starving myself or skipping meals. What I have learnt is that I need to be better prepared with both food and water. Especially with a family of four on hand. Changing the way I eat, the way my family eats, is challenging. I have come to realise that despite what I originally thought, I do rely on dairy considerably. I’m now making the effort to use less of it, for example, ordering a macchiato instead of a cappuccino. I think changing the way we eat is much better, tastier, and healthier than using dairy substitutes. I mean does anyone really like Soyghurt??
Yesterday was a disgustingly hot and humid day here. My daughter, who is currently sprouting some new teeth, has been breastfeeding A LOT. What happened was, I was 20 km away from home and thirsty thirsty thirsty! I didn’t give in to a nice cold bottle of water in the shop window. Nope. With only some minor speeding, I got myself home to that nice cold glass jug of water in my fridge. Beautifully infused with grapefruit instead of plastic…it was worth it. For the first time in a very long time, I am understanding what it is like to feel really hungry and really thirsty without a quick fix at hand. I think I might even appreciate it. It is such a nice feeling to be hungry, and having to hold out for something I made. It makes it taste even better. I’m learning to think before I eat.
FYI: So did you know? Coconut milk is actually 55% coconut cream and water (with some guar gum of course) and all of it comes from Thailand. Next time just buy the coconut cream and add the water yourself. I have a trillion coconuts dripping off the trees in my yard. I’ve promised myself that I will learn to make my own coconut milk very soon as the guar gum in the tinned version hurts my stomach when it is uncooked. The BPA on the inside of the tin can’t be that good for us either.
CONFESSION of the week: I had a strawberry milk and two unethical eggs. I don’t know for sure if they were unethical, but I don’t know that they weren’t. The milk was definitely a no no (Dairy Farmers).
Good night everyone! I’m too tired to be funny today 😉
An empty fridge and some delicious, local milk from Misty Mountains (Mungalli Creek)