Okay, so in my last post I said we’d figured out some new guidelines to follow (now that our official real food rules are over), and that we were embracing our new freedom of flexibility. Well, as it turns out, all of that is easier said than done…for me at least. My children seem to have no problem whatsoever scarfing down something that I consider downright nasty (pizza from the school cafeteria anyone?), but my husband and I on the other hand feel that we are just going through the motions of pretending it’s okay to occasionally eat “junk” food when we are out. Now that we know the hidden truth behind all the junk out there it’s just turning out to be harder than expected for us to truly feel carefree about eating something with an unknown origin.
So the truth is…most of the time I am just putting on an act that I have no problem scooping some dip (that contains mystery ingredients) with store-bought tortilla chips when in my head I am really thinking I wish I had brought some Triscuits in my purse. Now, I am the first to admit this is unusual behavior for me because I used to eat absolutely whatever I wanted and not care. For example, I used to order ice cream even when it was only supposed to be for the kids, and I promise I would have almost never ordered a salad for my lunch. So in summary, I still can’t say I’ve found my optimal place between the processed and real food worlds, but I am working on it. I guess it is a longer process than expected so I am slowly but surely learning the instances where “rule-breaking” truly is okay vs. not (and I’ve had the stomach aches to prove it).
Pictured is one of the few examples so far where we truly had no problem breaking our previous “100 Days of Real Food” rules. I know the sweet potatoes and BBQ sauce most definitely contained sugar and the bun was obviously made from white flour (here I go again breaking down the ingredients in my head!), but what you see here was a plate from a recent Farmer’s Market sponsored BBQ. The pork was raised locally and smoked all day. The side items were provided through a partnership with local farms and restaurants. The event, which ended up being on an evening with absolutely perfect fall weather, was just lovely, and as it turns out it’s been one of the few situations (so far) where I truly felt at peace with my “rule-breaking” meal. So clearly I still have a long way to go before I find that “new normal” that will work for me, but in a weird way I consider all of this newfound knowledge progress!!
On a completely different note, I would like to announce that I’ve decided to take on another real food project (why not?). I truly appreciate all of the people who take the time to read this blog and as a tribute to those readers I am going to do something with your feedback top of mind. I am going to take on another 100 Days of Real Food pledge, but this time on a strict budget! And I need your vote (through the comment section below) to help me decide what my new budget should be. We are a family of four eaters, and I will be tracking our food budget weekly. Things like household products, alcohol, entertaining, food while traveling, and eating out (which doesn’t happen often and will be tracked separately) will not be included, but just about everything else will be coming out of this weekly budget. I will also add that we will mostly be following our original real food rules, but since a strict budget is the focus this time around some “rule-breaking” in moderation will be allowed. I have been doing some “research” on facebook and am personally landing somewhere between $125 – $150 a week. I want it to be challenging, but reasonable…and I would love to get your input on the final number!
Before you cast your vote though, let me share that this whole budget thing is going to be a real challenge for me. I know there are a lot of meal budget and couponing blogs/websites out there, and most of those people are clearly experts. I will be the first to tell you I am not one of those experts. I have shopped on a strict budget before, but never while also focusing on real food. Our first pledge was the best way for me to learn about shopping for real food, but now it could get scary when I have to do it all on a strict budget. I admit that I haven’t been paying enough attention to my spending and can easily drop 200 dollars at Earth Fare …and then another hundred at Harris Teeter (…and then another $60 at the Farmers Market – don’t tell my husband!) So I obviously have a lot to learn and plan to blog about my trials and tribulations along the way. Stay tuned and don’t forget to leave your weekly budget vote below…I will be getting started very soon!