On food and coupons

I am an instant gratification kind of gal.  But who of my generation isn't?!?!  I keep getting on the scale this pregnancy waiting for that ginormous weight gain to happen but it just isn't happening yet.  And we just celebrated Halloween!  (My kids had candy the day after and then forgot about it...Mommy didn't.)  

Over the course of this last year, while I was preoccupied with my mom and her terminal cancer diagnosis, I gained a decent amount of weight.  I, like many others, am a stress-eater.  

And, last year, I was busying myself with couponing.  It was great being able to feed my family for less each week.  But as I did my research into processed foods I realized that having all that food around actually was worse for my weight!  The foods we were getting through coupon clipping were really tasty.  Any I have no ability to regulate myself with food.  It is just not my strength.

But, I have a few theories about why my weight isn't skyrocketing like it usually does for this pregnancy.  

First - my mom is somewhere praying for me like crazy that I don't balloon up like a blimp unnecessarily.  (I'm all about gaining weight when pregnant.  It's really not about me.  It's about the baby.  But 45 lbs is a leeeeeeetle excessive...)

Second - every time I go to cook something, I'm missing 2/3rds of my cooking utensils...

Third - When I want a snack and I go to the kitchen, this is what I find:

  • A box of organic potatoes, 
  • Some basmati rice, 
  • A jug of apple cider vinegar, 
  • Organic oats, 
  • Raw honey, 
  • Wheat berries and 
  • Empty egg cartons (the chickens are molting and we are on a ridiculously low supply of eggs for a couple weeks!)  
  • And, I have some butternut squash and some sweet potatoes on another shelf.
  • (*Ignore the cheerios - they are for late night emergencies when Leo wakes up starving)

Trust me - my fridge doesn't look much better.  There is some buttermilk and jelly in there.  Maybe some cheese, syrup, butter and bread.  

I have been wanting to write about how my food philosophy has done a complete 180 in the last year but never got around to it.  Let's look at my bounty around this time last year:

Look at all that easy to make food!  Just open and eat!!  And out of all this, here is what I would still purchase from this group: sour cream, cheese, bananas, carrots, Go-Gurts (I know I know - but they are the only item the kids get for themselves when I am still sleeping in my bed in the early morning)...and the occasional sweet potato fries for emergency dinner nights.  That eliminates a LOT of junk from this table!!!  We don't eat Ritz (crackers are empty foods that fill Leo up and he won't eat dinner!), tortilla chips, Pillsbury ANYTHING (a big thank YOU Pillsbury for turning ME into the dough boy).  The reality is that Pillsbury, General Mills and Kraft are the big coupon companies for food.  I was getting everything for pennies but the items were not healthy and I was getting them in bulk to "save more".  And then you find out the "food" you are buying isn't really food at all!  Like the newest article: Shock finding: More than 75 percent of all 'honey' sold in grocery stores contains no honey at all

Honestly, I haven't been to a grocery store for our shopping in months and months.  I order food through my Coop and pick it up every other Tuesday.  Milk and other dairy are delivered to a neighbor on Monday.  My egg farmer delivers to my door.  And I pick up my CSA share once a month.  But, things are looking pretty sorry around here if you are hungry and need instant gratification.  

A couple nights ago, Jason is all "I'm so hungry.  I want pretzels.  No, I want chips.  Cashews would be perfect right now.  No, maybe some bbq wings.  Better yet, some fries from Wing Stop.  I just want something salty and sweet."  Uh...I got nothing.  No food anywhere!  Then, I fed the kids lunch yesterday and Leo looked up at me and said, "Mom - I'm still hungrin."  What do I give the poor kid?!?!  I have no foods at the ready to feed my family.  I think there is a frozen chicken and some fresh ground wheat in my freezer???  So, our quick solution was some spelt flour pretzel sticks - half super salty with real sea salt and half are cinnamon sugar.  Now Leo has a snack and Jason has a late night salty/sweet snack...if they last until he gets home :)  In the past, whipping up some homemade pretzels would NEVER happen!  But, necessity breeds desire.  And we needed food!

But that is the reality of cooking with real foods.  You fill up on really good fats like butter, coconut oil, olive oil and other fresh super foods from the local farmers.  You rarely feel the need to snack at all.  But when you do want a snack, the prep time is labor-intensive - which is a good thing for a junk food addict like me.  

This is all coming from the queen of Weight Watchers for so many years!  I spent my days eating processed foods as long as I could properly measure the calories and fat of everything.  Now I don't even have labels on the majority of my foods!  I just eat my meals every day (4 for me instead of the traditional 3) and I don't even look for food in between meals.  The biggest benefit of all is that my son is now eating my dinners.  In the past, a few goldfish after naptime meant that he wouldn't touch dinner and he would be awake all night long complaining of hunger!

I have left my couponing days in the dust.  I no longer clip to "save" on dishwashing detergent, clorox items, laundry soap, etc.  As I frantically clipped coupons and searched for deals each week, I started wondering exactly how much it costs the manufacturer if they were willing to let me get it for free with the right coupon deal??   Plus, I saw this video last year and couldn't get it out of my head.

I decided to skip the time and energy needed to coupon and put it into mixing a few key ingredients.  I was still spending next to nothing but I had the added benefit of knowing exactly what items were in a product!  

So, instead of clipping coupons, I just make my own products (THAT WORK!) for mere pennies.  
  • I make dishwasher detergent (a powder of 1/2 borax, 1/2 washing soda and some vinegar in the rinse aid dish), 
  • I make my own laundry detergent
  • My cleaning supplies are baking soda and a bottle of half water/half vinegar with orange essential oil for a delicious smell, 
  • I wash my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, 
  • I make my own sunscreen (a mixture of coconut oil, aloe vera, lanolin, beeswax, olive oil, essential oils and zinc!)
  • I plan on making homemade deodorant when mine runs out.  

(I buy my face moisturizer and the kids shampoo from a small, trustworthy natural company.)

The biggest issue with my new approach to food is the amount of work needed to actually consume the food.  On my current list of Things to Do are the following:

  • Grind wheat for the freezer
  • Make beef and chicken broth
  • Render lard (I know - who does that, right?!?!  Well, she does - and her food tastes amaaaazing)
  • Thaw and cook a whole chicken for freezer meat
  • Make applesauce and apple cider
  • Make homemade granola

And that's just for this week...Now that I write it down it sounds like a lot.  And in order to accomplish this, I am going to dress for success every day for the next week.  I have banned sweatpants!  I'm going to wake up, brush my teeth and put on some big girl pants.  And I can even venture outside to get the mail now that I look like a real human being.  (Greeaaaaaaaatt...more laundry....)  Look at what happened already!  I am wearing "real clothes" and I was able to tackle the longest post EVER!

I have had a few friends comment on how much work it is to live like we do.  But honestly, it is a few hours of work here and there for an awesome reward.  My homemade applesauce tastes WAAAAY better than the store.  And my chicken broth will hopefully keep us healthy through the flu season.  My husband loves my food.  I feel like I finally have a really solid solution to my approach to food and weight issues.  And my kids are happy and healthy.  They don't even notice that they don't get juice or goldfish like all the other kids.


IF you made it to the end of the post, I congratulate you.  I tried to look it over once or twice to check for errors or sections to take out completely but I couldn't make it to the end :)  And now for your reward:

Yup - it's just cute photos of my kids.  That's really all I got...

I'm pretty sure the only person excited about the reward was Granny...if she made it through the entire post...

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