Food & Fitness

Prices and Obstacles

Yesterday was my last day of classes! Excellent, now I can spend even more of my time reading everyone’s blogs and writing on my own… I mean, studying for my upcoming exams.

Yesterday was also my third belly dancing class; we’ve graduated to learning how to do snake arms and combining the hip moves. Each move on its own can be mastered easily enough, but combining them is something else! I got reprimanded again for being too dainty. So my mission this week is to practice, practice, practice until my movements get bigger and my technique is improved (and maybe I just enjoy finding reasons to wear my hip scarf more than once a week).

The no-processed-food challenge is coming along super. Homemade shepherds pie and pork chops in yogurt sauce have contributed to the success (it’s a good thing I’ve got a father who puts up with my insistence on eating this way!).

As I suspected, the only real challenge part of it is determining which foods to count as processed and finding more natural foods, because I’ve been basically eating only non-processed stuff for the past few months anyways. But it can be frustrating to find the natural foods in the grocery store because there is a ridiculous amount of processing going on there. Even trying to find a can of chickpeas that didn’t have high levels of salt added to it took a long time! But I don’t mind spending extra time in the grocery store if it translates to a healthier me. That’s worth it.

An update on my experience with eating no processed foods, plus a discussion on why organic foods are worth paying a few extra dollars.

Something that I hear people saying all the time is that they’d buy organic produce if it wasn’t so expensive. I say it, too; most organic fruits and vegetables are very pricey and certainly cause me to hesitate in buying them. But then you’ve got to consider the other things that we spend our money on: $10 to go to the movies every couple weeks. $15 for a bottle of wine every few days (er, weeks). $5 at Starbucks each morning (and that’s just for a “tall” green tea!).

What about all of the granola bars, cereal, and chips that are at the top of the grocery list? Prices keep getting driven up. We pay for all of these things. In reality, it’s pretty hard to justify why we’re unwilling to spend a few extra cents or a dollar more for fruit and veggies that are pesticide-free and more environmentally friendly… especially when you consider the difference that purchasing those things can make on our bodies as well as the environment.

Anyway, my thinking is that if I make my own bread, my own ketchup, even my own wine, then that’ll save lots of money. And all those extra dollars which have been necessary to pay for these essential items can then be put toward buying organic produce (don’t you just love our sense of priorities?).

In terms of determining what counts as processed, I have decided that in regards to the restaurant problem, I’ll let myself eat the food that they’ve made in the restaurant. That is, within reason and depending on the dish etc. That’s probably the best way to go about it.

Butter is proving a difficulty, however. I only use butter or margarine in baking and cooking, but I generally use Becel. The problem is that Becel has a bunch of artificial colors and all sorts of things like that packed into it. So I was looking at real butter and going to switch over to that because its more natural, however, it’s got a teensy bit of trans fat in it (0.2g per 2 tsp). Gah! Trans fat! What do you all think? Should I just stick with Becel and that way manage to avoid the hydrogenation process?

I picked up a jar of almond butter too so I am looking forwards to trying it out to vary up my usual all-natural peanut butter. Does anyone know if almond butter should be refrigerated after opening? I’d hate for it to spoil! It sure looks tasty.

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  1. Gena

    Tough call on the butter. I guess the real question would be how much and how often do you use it? If you only use 2 tbs once a month, then the small amount of trans fat probably isn’t worth worrying about. If you use that much one a week or more, it might be worth sticking with the Becel. I dunno.

    Good work sticking to eating unprocessed foods. We don’t eat much in our house generally, but since the DH and I have both been time crunched, it’s been really hard to do things the natural way.

  2. Sagan Morrow

    The thing is that I don’t ever use butter except for with baking or cooking… the only kind of butter I ever put on my bread is peanut butter:) And we make a loaf of bread every few days or so which uses a couple tbsp. Tough call indeed! This is one of the complications that arises, though, in figuring out definitions and judging the components of nutrients.

  3. MizFit

    Im seriously edging is nearer to the proverbial poor house with my eating habits.

    Here’s hoping they DO pay off in the end or Ill just be a poorsickly MizFit!

    (and I hate to reveal I dont fret too too much about transfats.)


  4. ashley

    Congratulations on classes ending! I have 3 weeks left! And bellydancing? Woohoo!

    As for choosing foods, my motto: Do my very best. I will probably go out to eat Sat. night with a big group, but I will order as close to plan as I can. I will eat canned beans with salt, too! Uh-oh!

  5. the Bag Lady

    The Bag Lady only uses butter. Far better for you in the long run, especially if you are only using such tiny amounts. (Ya know, you can make your own butter, too….) And it is a terrific workout!

  6. Sagan Morrow

    Bag Lady, you are my hero. Making butter? Definitely not something I would’ve thought of, and that prompted me to immediately start looking for recipes on making butter on the Internet. I am totally going to try it (there might be a lot of cursing involved as it looks like quite a hefty task, but this’ll be an excellent experiment!).

  7. the Bag Lady

    Sagan – don’t know about the instructions on the internet, but one way to do it is to pour whole cream into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake it. And shake it. And shake it some more!! Hard. It takes a while, but you will eventually end up with pure butter, without all the crap they add to the commercial stuff.
    And you’ll get a workout, too!! (you can even use the buttermilk that’s left over for baking, or drinking.)

  8. Robin

    Thanks for commenting on my blog!

    Have you looked at Whole Foods or someplace similar for butter without trans fats?

    I want a hip scarf!! Lord knows, I’ve got the hips for it.

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