Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 90- The End

I have reached the end of my little experiment.  I must say I started it with a lot more enthusiasm than when I finished.  If you recall, the whole thing started after I read the book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan.  I also watched the movie Food Inc. around the same time.  I think I need to go back and re-visit both.  I have also been using Pollan's book Food Rules: An Eater's Manual as sort of a guidebook.  But I haven't stuck with it that much.

This summer I was really motivated to change and I was visiting the farmer's market weekly.  Things completely fizzled out for me by October as I was stuck back at the grocery store where "whole food" is a lot more expensive.  It's very discouraging to me that unhealthy convenience type food is so cheap and more healthy whole food choice and organics are so expensive.  I guess you have to decide if it's worth it.  Right now I am back working so convenience is winning out.

There are things I will stick with.  I have really limited the diet soda, artificial sweeteners, low fat and "lite" items.  I am consciously aware of high-fructose corn syrup and soy products.  I really don't buy much off the shelf grocery store meat or eggs any more.  The drive-thru is a rare treat and it gives me indigestion.  I still like McDonald's french fries. (yeah, I know...)

I'm also much more aware of what kind of cleaning products and cosmetics I'm buying- instead of always just the cheapest kind.  I was excited that CVS had some organic shampoo on sale last week.

I'm probably going to go back to my other blog- The Working Mom- because I am a working mom again.  It's still tough and I'm not that thrilled about it.  So this whole thing did not change the world or anything but I hope you had something to think about.  Thanks for reading.  Good luck and have a happy holiday season.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 85- Thanksgiving

Nearing the end of my 90 day experiment that has been kind of lagging the past two weeks (darn job that got in the way).  This week is Thanksgiving and I am actually not cooking this year- but I found a wonderful farm near us that raises organic free-range turkeys and chickens and I might order one next year.  I have never cooked a fresh bird before so we'll see.

Now that it's almost winter, I find it harder and harder to acquire and eat locally-grown whole foods.  I have been back to buying packaged foods again from the grocery store.  I have even had fast food a couple times. And (gasp) now that I am working again I find I can't make it without a Diet Coke (I don't drink coffee).

I am thankful that I had this experience and I will wrap up next week with some take-aways and then this blog will be done.  I may start up my old blog again (The Working Mom) so you can head over there.

Here is a recipe for sweet potato casserole I am making this year:
2 lg can yams or sweet potatoes
(I just baked 6 whole sweet potatoes for about an hour and scooped them out with a spoon)
1/2 c butter
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs beaten
1/2 c milk (I used evaporated milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c brown sugar
1/4 c butter
1/3 c flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 c chopped pecans (optional)

Drain and heat sweet potatoes in a pan, mash with butter.  Add sugar, salt, eggs, milk, and vanilla and mix well.  Pour into ungreased 9 in glass dish.  For topping mix brown sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon and nuts until crumbly.  Sprinkle on top of sweet potato.  Bake at 350F for 40 minutes.  Double recipe for 9 x 13 pan.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 76- Meatless Monday

I had this idea a little while back but I never implemented it.  Food Rules: An Eater's Manual #23 "Treat meat as a flavoring or a special occasion food." Or more like a condiment than the main course.  I'm not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought we could try to eat one meatless meal for dinner once a week.  And use the money we saved to give to charity.  In our case we are saving the money up to give to our church for Missions (as in missionaries).

Tonight we are having pasta with plain marinara sauce instead of meatballs.  I am saving about $5 on frozen meatballs. Do you have any favorite meatless meals? Here are some good ideas from another blog (not just rice and beans).

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 73- Make your own

The other day I talked about cosmetics and home cleaning products.  Do you know you can make some of your own products?  The benefit is they are usually pretty cheap to make and you know exactly what is going in it if you make it yourself.

One product I make all the time is daily shower spray cleaner.  This is really easy to make- just save a used spray bottle from something else and rinse it out well.  You can find the directions here.

I know a number of people that make laundry detergent from scratch.  It sounds pretty easy and I think it makes a huge batch.  I have not tried this recipe yet.

You can even make your own deodorant- take a look at this one.

Finally, here are some instructions if you want to give up using shampoo to wash you hair. (I don't think I'll be doing this one!)

Do you make any home-made products?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 70- What goes in and what goes on

Sometimes what goes on your body is just as important as what goes in.  I am not an environmentalist, or a tree-hugger, or part of PETA.  But... the more I read the more I think I want to avoid certain chemicals in cosmetics and beauty products.

Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used in cosmetics and beauty products.  While there is no proven link (yet) parabens are apparently found in small amounts in breast cancer tumors and like soy, parabens have an estrogen effect.  Yet again this is an ingredient that is found in just about everything you will find in your bathroom.  If you put something on your skin it is probably absorbed. The FDA says parabens are OK and safe to use. Here is a pretty good list of paraben-free products and it also talks about some other ingredients such as phthalates and SLS (sulfates). I say buyer beware and you might want to look for less chemical laden products especially for children.  It seems that fragrance-free products may be a little better but not totally free of these chemicals.

Para-dichlorobenzene or p-DCB is found in air fresheners and toilet bowl cleaners.  In animal studies, p-DCB has shown a link to liver and kidney cancer.  Clorox Green Works and Seventh Generation products are good choices for the bathroom.

Phthalates are a type of chemical used in makeup and lotions and well as nail polish.  Phthalates also have an estrogen effect and may be associated with early puberty.  Phthalates are banned in Europe and in the U.S. are banned in child's toys.

I found a really nice grapefruit scented body lotion from Noah's Naturals at Walmart that is paraben-free.  Kiss My Face and Burt's Bees products are generally paraben, phthalate and sulfate free.  The Burt's Bees website gives a very good explanation of "natural" products.

I was reading the November issue of All You magazine and there is a good article on this topic if you want to read more- you can pick it up at Walmart.

To check if your favorite home product or cosmetic is certified "natural" check the NPA seal website.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 64- Running Out of Steam

I am on Day 64 of my 90-Day journey and I am running out of steam.  I think I know what happened.  You know when you start something new and you are all eager and excited? That was me for the first 30 days.  Then life really kicked in.  First I came down with a cold.  Not a big deal.  But then I didn't feel like exercising, or eating right.  And then we went on vacation and forget it.  And now I started a new job and I am feeling really swamped and pressed for time.  So I don't have time to shop properly or eat properly.  And now farmer's market season is over so I'm stuck mostly going to the grocery store.  And I'm not following my own rules.  I think I need to go back and read some of my own old posts!

How are you all doing?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 60- Almost Halloween!

Well, I'm 2/3 of the way done with my 90-day journey.  I've gone backwards a lot in the last couple weeks- first I was sick with a cold and then we went on vacation.  I know that shouldn't be an excuse- but that's life and we move on.  I'm going grocery shopping today and going to move forward.

This weekend is Halloween and we have Trick-or-Treat on Sunday.  Yes, we do participate and I do pass out candy (although I did toy with the idea of passing out individual silly bands instead of candy).  My daughter had her party at school and came home with some candy- we've been rationing it out a piece at a time.  I found a good idea on another blog about buying back your kids candy after you let them keep a few choice pieces.  Another idea is to let them keep 10 pieces and have the Great Pumpkin take the rest (kind of like the Tooth Fairy).

Hope you have a good weekend. November is next week and I start a new job on Nov. 1st- wish me luck!