Okay, so that’s a hopelessly long title, but indulge me a minute.
Have you ever heard of 100 Days of Real Food? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that blog. Lisa Leake is so inspiring. She and her husband were raising two small girls when she read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. That was her wake up call. She wasn’t even a mom who only fed her kids McDonald’s Happy Meals and let them drink all the pop they wanted either. I’d say she was pretty normal about the diet her family ate, but she started to think… just what was in that neon pink Go-Gurt?
So, her, her husband and her two little girls didn’t eat any processed food for 100 days. Nada. Can you imagine how difficult that would be? And while she was doing it, she decided to write a blog to chonicle the project. And give the rest of us tips and tricks she used to achieve her goal.
And, she encourages all her readers to try it themselves for 100 days. Or if that seems too daunting, a week–“mini pledges.” I’ve been wanting to do one of her mini pledges for a while, but, to be honest, I just didn’t think I could do it.
But a few weeks ago, I read on her blog about this one that I’m doing now: no low-fat, lite or fat-free food for one week. This one sounded pretty easy, so I took the plunge. When companies make products that are lite, low-fat or fat-free, they almost always replace the fat with sodium, sugar, or God-knows-what-else. Just like Lisa, at one time, I thought Snack Wells and fat-free ice-cream were the keys to the universe. That’s been a few years ago, and I’ve come a long way since then. For about the past year and half, I’ve tried to avoid artificial sweeteners, both non-calorie and high fructose corn syrup. Foods that are marketed and labeled as low-fat, lite or fat-free are processed. That’s how they got that way. No matter how “good” you think you’re being by having that big bowl of fat-free ice cream, it’s definitely not better for you (or better tasting for that matter) than they small scoop you could have of homemade ice cream made from real cream, eggs and natural sugar.
All this mini pledging and such happened about the time that I really started taking a hard look at what Jeremy and I eat for breakfast and lunch. I feature a lot of what we eat for dinner on this blog, but rarely do I mention breakfast or lunch, except occassionally when I talk about a breakfast I made on the weekend at home. Like pretty much everyone, we eat 10 meals a week–two meals a day on weekdays either at work, on the way to work, or on the way out the door to work.
Since I started cooking and eating more sustainably, seasonally and locally, this has been the one hurdle I just haven’t been able to overcome. Because I needed something that could be eaten away from home, sometimes quickly and prepared easily, packaged food was just too easy. A few months ago, I finally stopped buying cereal for breakfast. Jeremy doesn’t like cereal, but I am perfectly happy with 1 cup of cheerios with milk and a hard boiled egg. Everyday. I like oatmeal, but cereal is way quicker. Since Jeremy’s kinda picky about breakfast (give him homemade biscuits and gravy everyday and he’s happy). He doesn’t really like cereal. Doesn’t like oatmeal. Really likes biscuits, eggs, bacon, fried potatoes and the works, but I don’t have time to make that every day. I used to buy him Hot Pockets or Eggo waffles or something like that from the freezer aisle. Bad, bad, bad for you and it got really expensive.
So the past few months, I’ve been making something on Sunday night to eat for breakfast all week. Something like apple cinnamon or berry muffins, zucchini bread, scones, a fritata, or some filling for some breakfast burritos ready to put in a tortilla. Although I started doing this for him, thinking I could eat an english muffin or oatmeal, I’ve been eating a lot of these breakfasts, too. I’ve gotten pretty good at making these breakfasts with an eye on the calorie count. I’ve looked for recipes that call for less sugar, substituting applesauce for the oil and using a mix of my stone-ground local flour and buckwheat flour. Here are a couple of the examples of our breakfasts from last week and this week: breakfast casserole and oatmeal with blackberries, demurra sugar and whole milk. Last summer I canned three pints of whole blackberries as an experiment to see if that would be just as good as freezing them. It’s turned out even better. They kept their shape and sweetness wonderfully. I’ll definitely be canning more like that this summer.