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Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, good mother, good looking, good tempered, well groomed and unaggressive. ~ Leslie McIntyre

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Grocery shopping and why I LOVE it.

     Today has been avery productive day. Bagels and coffee with friends and family. Major house cleaning including sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, laundry and dishes. Lots of cooking took place as well. A pomegranate blueberry quick bread was baked. A vegetarian 'meat' loaf with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts was prepared for dinner. Watched my girls play games and pretended to eat 'pancakes' that Regan cooked on her new kitchen. She even made me a cup of coffee because she's that great of a kid. All these things took place today and yet I still felt slightly unfulfilled. All day long I couldn't figure out what it was and I racked my brain all evening. Then it hit me - I didn't go grocery shopping this weekend! Some people may read that and think to themselves, "So what. You didn't go grocery shopping. Big deal." That would be an accurate thought, but this is ME we're talking about.
     Grocery shopping has never been something that interested me. To be quite honest - cooking never interested me. I was always thinking about food and counting calories and worrying about whether something was light or non-fat, but the actual preparation of meals NEVER appealed to me. I guess I didn't have that gene. When we moved to POrtland, OR and Jason was in culinary school I began to force myself to do the cooking. Jason was working so many hours a week whether it was for work or school that he just didn't have the time. It became something I had to do. I began to read cookbooks and watch Food Network and learn how to use a chef's knife (Jason was a really good teacher) and as time went on food became something I was interested in more and more. There was a point in time where I could tell you the calorie content of almost any food under the sun, but I was still more interested in weight loss than actual health. The idea of a 'healthy meal' consisted of Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones. Don't get me wrong - in a pinch those things are perfectly fine every now and then, but they are definitely NOT something anyone should be consuming on a regular basis.
     Reading a recipe and figuring out how to make it vegetarian was my first real venture into creating meals. When I became a vegetarian I wanted nothing more than to take the foods I loved, the comfort foods of my childhood, and make them something cruelty free that I was comfortable eating. That's where my love of the grocery store began. I would wander, aimlessly at first, up and down the aisle's falling in love with the packaging of the containers and then the ideas of the things I could make with them began to come to me. I fell in love with the set up of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's and the word 'organic' became a part of my vocabulary.
     No offense and no disrespect to my roots, but living in Springfield, MO the word 'Organic' never existed. People do their grocery shopping at Wal-Mart and then make their way to the other side of the store to purchase a pair of Dickies work boots. Organic black beans or hummus were not products that flew off the shelves or even sat on the shelves for that matter. Things have changed quite a bit in that small city, but 10 years ago that's just the way it was.
     Becoming a vegetarian changed everything about food for me. Not eating meat was the easy part. Grocery shopping became like I imagine shopping on Rodeo Drive is for some people. I got a rush out of it and still do. Making a grocery list and planning meals for my family to feed them for the week is like a drug for me. Figuring out different ways to prepare the same old thing is what I live for. Walking through the doors at Trader Joe's gives me a kick of adrenaline and I have to go up and down EVERY aisle to see if they're carrying something new or if there is something old that I may not have noticed before. I love mixing and matching fresh produce with a jarred pasta sauce or a frozen veggie substitute with a bag of whole wheat pasta. Finding a new and yummier type of bread that is filled with whole grains and fiber is like stumbling across a Fendi clutch at a thrift store. :)
     The point of all of this is that grocery shopping is a part of the big circle. I adapted a certain life style many years ago. Grocery shopping is the beginning process to that life style. Some people find it of the utmost importance to have the brand name jeans and designer bags to carry while wearing those jeans. To me it is of the utmost importance to have my pantry and cupboards and refrigerator filled with organic foods and snacks for myself, my husband and my daughter's that came from my local farmer's market, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. I would rather spend my money on things that I know are making us a healthier family, not impacting this planet in a negative way and supporting sustainable farming because THAT is what is important to me.   


thisvegetarianlife said...

I love grocery shopping too. We don't have a trader joes, but we make do, going from store to store to see all the different organic and healthy stuff they each have. Even the Wal-Mart ::shudder:: has been known to have a few good things now and then.

My son has developed a love of grocery shopping now too. He likes asking if they juice or granola bar he wants his healthy, and gets so happy when I say yes! :)

RealFitMama said...

thisvegetarianlife: I love that my oldest daughter is interested in what she eats and whether or not it is healthy or organic. That is my ultimate goal really. I want to instill good eating habits now so that she carries it with her all her life. I don't want to send her into the world with a 'bad start' on her health. Good for you for shopping around to find the healthy/organic options and Wal Mart has definitely come a long way!

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

We are lucky to live in an organic/healthniut area, but I still have to drive 20-30 minutes to Trader Joes. Instead I spend a little extra money on food at the local market. Glad you've learned to love shopping and preparing meals :)

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