Compared to the Standard American Diet, my family is already pretty healthy. Snacks are generally fruits or vegetables or homemade goods. Dinners are usually a mess of vegetables with whole grains and a small serving of meat or other protein. But, we could definitely be doing better. While we don't eat prepackaged processed foods (cakes, chips, soda, etc) we do use a lot of processed ingredients (pastas, white flour, sauces, marinades, etc) which I'm realizing defeats the purpose.
I want to stop using foods with artificial dyes and added sugars. We already avoid blue dye because my son gets hives from it and we are now connecting certain bursts of hyperactivity with his red dye exposure. I realize that's a small step compared to some of your eating habits, but we're getting there.
My question is, what should I do with all the food we have now? Just throw it away? Donate it? While I hate to think of the wasted money, I don't think I should keep using it until its gone because I think that will just keep us in the cycle of using that stuff. If you made the switch, what did you do?
Some items I trashed. But items I know I'd use I kept and used b/c like you I couldn't toss it. When it was time to replenish, I just bought natural/organic/preservative/dye free.
I started with dyes. I read every.single.label.in.my.house. I was surprised with what had dyes. Then I moved on to preservatives. It took me a few mos to get it all out of my house w/o wasting anything. I only have Kraft Mac & cheese in my pantry and a couple Annie's mac and cheese. I just love the Kraft and it was on sale and with summer and baseball I needed a quick option available. *blushing*
Nate dog 5/15/04
Lil' G 11/8/07
My Shamrock 3/17/10
I also used what I had, and then switched to a better option later. Also, sometimes I saved things to use when we had company. This may sound awful, but eating healthy is expensive, and lots of people don't appreciate it. I have no problem taking a crockpot full of processed frozen meatballs in hfcs sauce to a potluck!
"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."
Just1More: I COMPLETELY agree. I made a big batch of vegan granola cookies for my son's preschool party. His teacher is vegan and I know some of the parents and kids are vegetarian. These things were delicious (and expensive to make, carob chips, organic coconut, flax, barley malt, etc), but I made the mistake of mentioning out loud that they were vegan and suddenly people couldn't do enough to avoid them. The vegans, vegetarians, and kids loved them, but the other parents turned their noses up at them. So obnoxious and ignorant.
My husband and I just went through our pantry and divided the food up by how we plan to use it in the future. The "keepers" stayed on the shelves, we did toss a few things we knew we won't finish but were open, some things were set aside for donation, and then we set some on a shelf as "to be used ASAP" because we don't want to buy them in the future. I figure the quicker they are gone the better, but I just couldn't justify wasting. I need to do the refrigerator tomorrow and get rid of some of the more egregious condiments.
One day I just decided enough is enough, I put all of my non-organic, processed food into a box and took it to the food bank! One thing you could do is replace your foods with the dyes with organic alternatives. If you get stuff like mac and cheese, mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc, there are organic alternatives. I buy these sometimes, although I know they are processed and have sugar in them(just because something is organic does not make it healthy!), it is mostly for when DH wants it or when we go to someones house. We got rid of all dyes a long time ago by simply switching everything to organic. I love vitacost.com for their organic foods that are processed, and some unprocessed, but organic lol. I get ghee, organic BBQ sauce, organic rice pasta (better than the enriched, white flour wheat pasta!), quinoa, etc there :) They have a ton of stuff!
I also order from azure standard. And I recently ordered a bunch of Lydias Organics snacks from iherb which I will continue to get on a regular basis because they are very minimally processed and made with sprouted ingredients, etc, and the kids love them! (I dont get the ones with agave because it is a very processed ingredient) Anyway :)
And yes, people do not appreciate good, healthy, organic, whole food so I dont make an effort to feed others who I know dont care my expensive food, yes it sounds terrible. But if it is family who is over for dinner then yes I make my usual expensive food so I can feed everyone guilt free :)
...we do use a lot of processed ingredients (pastas, white flour, sauces, marinades, etc) which I'm realizing defeats the purpose.
That does NOT defeat the purpose. Home-baked white bread is in an entirely different universe (nutritionally, mentally, and economically) from Wonderbread. After years of fiddling with this, my conclusion is: cook what your family will eat. My family will eat semolina pasta but not wheat pasta, so they eat semolina pasta. They will eat fresh grated cheese in lieu of the green shaker can or the neon-orange packet, so we've bid adieu to the can and the packet. That may be conditional victory, but it's a victory I can live with.
Similarly - buy a responsibly raised chicken a marinate in whatevertheheckyoulike, and you're still much better off than if you had bought a factory-farmed chicken. My family eats their free-range chicken with a white-flour bechamel sauce and basmati rice. If we all die of diabetes, it won't be Julia's sauce and India's rice that pushed us over the edge. It will be overeating.
I didn't have a lot of 'bad' foods so we used some of it, others (like a BBQ sauce with MSG) are just sitting there b/c I can't bear to eat them but it has been pounded into my head that you NEVER waste food. Haha. As to company, no, I don't make our super expensive organic farm fresh food either! Glad I'm not the only one! If we knew peole who also appreciated and ate this way, I would, but most think it's a waste of money so I just make homemade food but with grocery store meat etc. (we are in Canada so it's not that bad...)
Married to the love of my life and SAH Mama to my little sweet pea (Sept 2011) and darling baby boy (Dec 2012)
Primal Blueprint's Mark Sisson says that any food you are no longer eating that can be donated, should be. He feels that even though we have found a better, healthier way to eat; it is a priviledge to be able to eat this way. And not everyone can afford to. Food should not go wasted :-)
If there is homemade food that you can not donate, I'd definitely pass it along to a friend. I sometimes bring things to work for co wokers to snack on.
I donated the stuff we couldn't/wouldn't eat. Admittedly, it was never a lot because what we eliminated happened bit by bit over time due to reactions (behavior/development) or intolerances... and just eating around those got us to the point of eating whole foods or foods without dyes or preservatives; and then blood sugar balancing got us off of flours at all (we were gluten-free, but I had some GF mixes around).
And I agree: other people don't appreciate it. But I'm usually going to use what I have in the house and it's healthy stuff so they get healthy stuff. Plus, if I'm dropping food to a family in need they're usually undergoing some kind of life trauma, illness or new baby and I don't have the heart to feed them complete crap. Or if I'm bringing to pot luck, we're likely to eat it, too. We're never really in a position to be feeding a LOT of people who don't appreciate it so it's not really such a big deal to me. I guess if it happened a lot, it would be.
Heather - Wife , Mommy & Health & Wellness Educator, Speaker & Consultant
Dairy, soy & corn free with limited gluten... yes, really. And journeying towards peace. Blogging about both.
Let me guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices...