Monday, October 31, 2011

Minimalist Food Challenge (Day 1)

A while back, Jaymz and I got to talking about food. I have some interesting personal philosophies about eating (which I'd like to write about this month as well), but this was more a conversation about the sheer amount of food we have in our house.

I've written before about how much I like to hoard things. For some reason, this is particularly an issue with food. I like to keep food, I like to buy food in bulk, and I like to have a full refrigerator and cabinets at all times. My tendency to hoard food has been getting a little easier for me lately, as I've been getting treatment for some (previously undiagnosed) thyroid problems I was having. In any case, I still definitely have some room to improve.

Another problem with having so much food in the house is that inevitably, some of it goes bad and we end up wasting food. This is always really hard for me, as I don't like wasting anything! Part of why I want to do this challenge is to learn how to buy just the right amount of food for us to be able to eat in a given week, so that nothing goes to waste. 


Jaymz and I could also use to cut back on our food budget, so we had this idea to spend a full month eating on as little money as possible, while also using up some of the food we have in the house. We talked about trying this a couple of months ago, and I immediately got panicky and started thinking of stocking up food for the minimalist month (which completely defeats the purpose). Today, I feel like it's totally doable, so we begin now. Starting today prevents me from being able to stock up on foods in any way, and it's almost November, so...close enough!

Here are the rules we've come up with:
  1. Buy as little new food as possible
  2. Eat as much as we want
  3. Use up foods we already have (in the freezers and pantry cabinet in particular)
  4. Try to keep food spending (including any Thanksgiving foods) $200 or less for the month
  5. Write about the progress weekly on Mondays
I want to admit upfront that this is going to be difficult for us, and perhaps (as you see the amount of food we have in the house) the small food budget will seem like too much. We do also enjoy eating out, and lately Daniel in OT, we're running fairly low on time and energy. Also, Daniel eats a lot of food, so keeping up with his appetite without help from as many (store-bought) prepared foods will be a challenge in and of itself.

We have a new deep freezer (pictured above) which is no longer empty, so that will help us with being able to store more prepared (at home) foods to save some time in our everyday routine. I'll also be working on meal planning (something I've never been very skilled at in the past) and I'll share my work on that with you, too.

Momma Jorje: Monday MinimalistMomma Jorje has this great Monday Minimalist series (complete with a new button!), so I'll be participating in that for these Mondays in November, giving you updates on our food situation.

Wish us luck for this month of minimalism!

8 comments:

  1. Oh, good luck with this!!!! I need to follow your lead. I'm going to visit Mamma Jorje also and think about other ways to minimilize.
    Food is hard.
    I've been mostly off processed food because I've been dieting, and trying to get the whole family off as well. This is a good inspiration. I look forward to following your journey.
    Good luck!!!

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  2. We did this back in March. It was great for the grocery budget and I loved having the cupboards all cleaned up. Irony: by the end of the month my husband had been offered a job overseas. We were unknowingly helping ourselves move.

    Good luck!

    PS. Love the button!!

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  3. I've always had trouble with this too. Like Teresa I have changed my diet dramatically and was having a hard time with the "extra" food in the house. Because I buy in bulk a lot, I couldn't give it to the food bank. Turns out a friend's daughter was having trouble with her food stamps...managed to clean out that cupboard and feel good about it! Simplifying your life is an excellent stress-reliever...but it's a process and not an end point!

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  4. I have the opposite problem...I'm averse to buying in bulk. :) A lot of has to do with the fact that financially it isn't feasible for us, but I have to admit, I just hate having extra stuff sitting around. :) I actually planned a months worth of meals for November and bought for the whole month and it was a little unsettling for me. I actually joked with my husband that our fridge and pantry look like a normal family's since they are full.Normally ours are sparse (to the point that my mother-in-law used to freak out and think we never bought food and would go to the store and buy us a bunch of stuff, ha!) Anyway, good luck with your challenge!

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  5. I like to have a full pantry and fridge, too. I think it stems from growing up poor.
    I really love menu planning! I think it helps me stick to a budget... And knowing what we are going to eat for dinner ahead of time, is just one less thing to worry about.

    Good luck with your challenge!

    I hope you and your family are hanging in there.

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  6. I'm so thrilled to see the button get thrown into use on the very first day I posted it! Thanks for sharing it. :)

    I absolutely SUCK at meal planning, even for a week! I'm not very confident in the kitchen, so that doesn't help. I've hardly cooked at all since my 1st trimester, either. My husband and teenager have become very accustomed to "fend for yourself" nights. Our new roommate does cook almost every night, though, and has been very generous with meals. That has been SO nice!

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing your progress. Welcome to Monday Minimalist!! Maybe you'll find the thrill so addictive you'll extend with a new project in December. ;-)

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  7. I really just wanted to write to say, Nice button! Where'd Jorje get that designed?

    Just kidding.

    We've been very unminimalist about food lately, too. It's kind of ridiculous. We struggle between wanting to enjoy life and not nitpick so much about everything and be reasonable in our spending and eating habits. We've done challenges where we eat up what's in our pantry and freezer before — maybe we need a push to do it again.

    By the way, I'm still drooling over that deep freeze. Oh.

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  8. Wow this really fits for me.. I have a serious issue about hording food. Its much better now than ever before though. I lived on my own for a few years when I was about 15 years old. During this time I starved often.. it lead to me stealing food from the local store or people homes just to eat. This is where my hording now comes to play... I never want to NOT have food again.. Although its unrealistic... somewhere my mind says... "WHAT IF!"

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