Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sustainability

~I typed this out once and was trying bloggers new editor hoping that it was working properly. However, it's not and the entire post didn't save a single word! I don't know if the editor doesn't work in Chrome, or it's stupid and just doesn't work right at all. So back to the old editor and to rewrite the post. It was kinda long, so maybe I can truncate it a bit~

Sustainability:

capable of being sustained; of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged <sustainable techniques> <sustainable agriculture>; of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods <sustainable society>


I'm looking for an eating plan that is sustainable in my household. One that is affordable(on a very tight budget), tasty, and supports great health. I also need the ability to fix convenience type foods. Stuff that's quick, easy, requires little thought or energy to put together. Also need foods/recipes that my family will eat willingly. Stuff that does not result in grumbling, weird faces, or sneaking plates under the table for the dogs to nibble on. Foods that are familiar and liked by them.


I've been reading on primal/paleo eating. Mostly primal. The plan seems easy enough. If it moves, eat it. If it can be found growing in the wild, eat it. If it was a shelf life of 3 years, don't eat it. However it says no sugar, and very few beans(legumes), grains, potatoes. Also it says to eat unprocessed organic, local meat and veggies.

Well, I'm for little to no sugar. Sugar really does no positive and a ton of negative things to the body. I can't agree on the no beans, grains and potatoes. I think I could make these as smaller servings, but I cannot cut them out of our diet at this time. I need these to kind of round out our meals calorie-wise and for satiety. My weekly food budget averages out to about 100 a week for 2 adults, a 14 year old boy, a 13 year old girl, a 11 year old boy and a 10 year old boy. We do qualify for government assistance. I cannot work at this time due to my class load. Yes I could cut the load back and get a part-time job, but that really doesn't help much. I need my degree in order to make a livable wage. As a nurse's assistant in this area you top out at around 15.00/hr. To get there you have to work in one place for several years. Starting wages average about 9.00/hr. Please thank your nurse's assistant because they bust their ass for peanuts basically.


I digress...so we make do on one income right now. It's doable, you can live fairly well on what my hubby earns if you're smart about it. It means making sacrifices though. Is an organic whole chicken better then the 10lb bag of chicken leg quarters? Most likely, but I can make 3-4 meals out of the leg quarters for about 5.00. For 5.00(if I'm lucky and can catch a sale), I could make 1-2 meals (maybe 3 if I boil the chicken and skimp on the meat in the meal) out of the whole organic chicken. I don't buy a lot steaks, they're usually out of our budget averaging 5-7 dollars a pound. I buy some pork when it's on sale. We eat ground chuck (not ground beef, we are willing pay 12-13 dollars for 5lbs to not have a skillet full of grease and little meat when cooked). We also eat the occasional deer and squirrel. We eat fish as well, but not store bought fish. We eat catfish, bluegill, bass, etc. That we catch out of the lakes and rivers around here.


Maybe I could use the meat as more of a side or flavoring rather then a main course item. My family would grumble some, but maybe I could appease them with the occasional steak dinner or something. Nothing else there's Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Three holidays that I fix a huge meal with whole turkeys, large hams and the works. So if they ate modestly during most of the year they would have these dinners to look forward to.


Okay the grain issue is a big one. We like baked goods and treats. Nothing better then slavering butter on fresh out of the oven, homemade bread and muffins. That warm, melt-y goodness of a fresh chocolate chip cookie. Freshly baked cobblers, pies, tarts with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I know I couldn't give these up permanently and for sure my family couldn't.


Also we like pasta. Spaghetti dinners with a meat and tomato sauce, noodles cooked just right. Large salad and a breadstick on the side. Macaroni and cheese, egg noodles with butter and garlic. These are frequent meals and side dishes. They are cheap and easy to fix and taste pretty good too.


I also fix rice often, and oatmeal is a favorite breakfast food of 4 out of 6 us. So giving up grains would be a no go here. Cutting back is a possibility. However if I'm cutting back grains, I need to replace it with something. So I guess we could add more salads to the menu. More fresh greens are possible. Actually fresh greens are not something I cook often. I'm not a fan of spinach. We ate what seemed like tons of canned spinach when I was a kid. I don't think my mom added anything but maybe salt and pepper to it. I hated it, I would give my serving to my brother. We usually had the Popeye spinach and he wanted to have strong arms. I'm finding, as an adult, that I can tolerate frozen and fresh spinach. Still not my favorite vegetable, I still have flash backs of the slightly slimy, mushy stuff served to us. However, I'm finding with a few tweaks I can make it edible. My Hubby and kids loves stuff, go figure. I don't know If I've ever ate kale. I've tried collard and mustard greens and they're not too bad. I like swiss chard. So more greens is a possibility.


A big thing would be working on convenience foods. I'm guessing there's not a lot of freezer meals, or fast food items that would go along with primal eating. We have a busy lifestyle. I take 17-18 hours of college classes a semester, my kids have several activities (baseball, choir, band, civil air patrol, FFA), Hubby works anywhere from 40-60+ hours a week. On top of all that, there are nights where we just don't feel like cooking.


So in order for this type of eating to be sustainable in my household I would need to:

  1. Figure out how to eat more organic and local foods on a slim budget.
  2. Figure out how to make or buy convenience foods that don't stray much from the plan.
  3. Figure out grain substitutes or make grains a tiny part of our eating.
  4. Also, though I didn't mention it above, Figure out snacks. We eat a lot chips, popcorn and other snack items. How do I replace those.
Sounds like I got my work cut out for me in order to have a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.