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Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s resolution’

How weird to be in the middle of a food trend and not realize it.

I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of processed food in my family’s diet for the past few years. I was unemployed for a few months when we first moved to Huntsville, so I started cooking a lot to try to save money and fill time. And not Hamburger Helper-type cooking, either. I’m talking from-scratch cooking, as in grate your own cheese (melts so much better than pre-shredded) and making your own meatloaf spice mixture (because have you READ the ingredients on those little flavoring packets?). The salad spinner became a permanent resident in the fridge, always filled with fresh (and local, when available) greens.

We didn’t give up EVERY processed food, mind you. There may or may not be a multipack of frozen pizzas from Costco in my freezer right now. The peanut butter that the husband eats every day is incredibly hydrogenated (I’d go bankrupt trying to feed him the real stuff). I don’t make my own mayonnaise, although I should make my own salad dressing.

So I’m not claiming that we’re dietary saints. But we’ve both maintained our weight for the past five years despite some substantial lapses in workouts, and we’ve put a significant dent in the number of colds and other odd viruses that haunt so many households. Coincidence? Maybe, but I’ll take it.

We find ourselves in the middle of the Real Food Movement. Come on in. It’s delicious.

I rescued a copy of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite from my mom’s Goodwill box a few months ago and just got around to reading it. Author David A. Kessler explores, among other things, how utterly processed the average American diet is. The food industry exists to sell us cheaply manufactured goods that make us want to eat more, no matter how much sugar, fat and salt it takes to get us hooked.

I spotted a title at Barnes & Noble this weekend that actually distracted me from the Harry Potter table: Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food: Kick Your Fake Food Habit, Kickstart Your Weight Loss. Author Christine Avanti explores factory food addiction and how her move to fresh, real foods helped her lose weight and, more importantly, maintain her weight. I didn’t pick up the book because, I told myself, I’m not trying to lose weight OR fill up my bookshelves right now, but I’m very curious to read Avanti’s findings.

The thing about (who knew?) being part of the Real Food Movement for the past couple of years? I can now often taste the difference between processed foods and real foods. For example, I can taste the excessive sugar in jars of spaghetti sauce — there’s only one variety I can really stand to eat now, and the husband’s not fond of it. The flavor of salt in canned soup is getting overwhelming — heck, I can taste salt in one variety of CHEESE now, prompting me to replace it with another.

So, as anticlimactic as it may be, my New Year’s Resolution is to keep following the Real Food path. I’ll also be changing up my exercise routine (more on that later), but mostly I’ll continue figuring out how to feed the husband and myself quality, delicious foods and get further away from the “better living through chemistry” theme that has overtaken our food industry for the past few decades.

To that end, I’m afraid the pantry is about to lose two longstanding residents. You’ve been handy, jarred spaghetti sauce and canned soup, but I can taste your additives, and I can make you better without them.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 50: I declare today a sick day for the Do One Thing challenge, although I did manage to read and recycle two magazines.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 47: This is going to sound totally lame, but I’ve wanted a groovy tissue cover box for a while. I mean, if you’re going to have to keep a box of tissues around, it may as well look good. Bless their hearts, tissue makers try, but their box designs just scream “Go get grandma her tissues.”

Target has been slowly marking down tissue cover boxes for a few months And by “slowly,” I mean they’ve been marking down $19.99 boxes to $16.49. Not exactly what I call a clearance.

Today’s Target journey, however, turned up the beauty pictured above for $4.99. It was the only one that I could find, and it was perfect. It’s groovy without being flashy, because a flashy tissue cover box would just be gauche, no?

Previously:

Day 46: Tightened a couple of cabinet pulls in the master bathroom with the handle on a pair of nail clippers. Because sometimes rattling cabinet pulls compel you to fix them RIGHT NOW without having to wander into the freezing garage to search for a proper screwdriver.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 45: Rescued a florist’s vase from the garage. Normally, this sort of thing would end up in the thrift store box, but I like its minimalism. I cleaned it up and filled it with colored glass pebbles that I bought for a tiling project. (We were going to intersperse the pebbles in a pattern among the tiles, but it turns out that both my husband and I HATE tiling and there was no way we were going to work any more complications into the project than we had to.)

Anyway, I’m sort of not digging the whole colored pebbles in a vase thing, so it may end up at the thrift store anyway, but at least the garage is a little neater.

Previously:

Day 44: Dropped two magazines from our subscription list. Both are guilty of misguided attempts to blend their print and online operations, attempting to increase subscription prices while publishing all stories on the Internet for free. This is not a survivable online strategy. Besides, my husband cashed in a bunch of airline miles a couple of weeks ago for still more magazine subscriptions, so we’re still in the dead tree business.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 42: I picked up a Michael Graves drawer organizer, priced at $4 rather than the normal $10, at Dirt Cheap, which seems to have an unending supply of items from Target this winter. I had three small kitchen cabinet drawers filled with accessories and gadgets, all of which I use sometimes, but some of which I use ALL the time. And drawers are like handbags — the thing you need is always at the bottom under other things.

Now I have the stuff that I use all the time sorted into four little organized rows in a larger drawer. I moved the contents of the larger drawer (rolls of foil, plastic wrap, parchment paper, etc.) into two small drawers, and the third small drawer holds the things I use sometimes.

The three small drawers before organization.

 

(If you haven’t heard of Dirt Cheap, it’s an offshoot of Hudsons Salvage. When I was growing up in South Mississippi, Hudsons was known for selling what I called “disaster merchandise” from stores that had suffered fires or flood. Today, Hudsons and its offshoots, Treasure Hunt and Dirt Cheap, sell what’s known as “problem inventories,” which apparently include everything from closeout stock to seconds. Shopping at these stores is an adventure, to say the very least.)

Also this week:

Day 41: Filled all the liquid soap containers with liquid soap, then forgot to bring them upstairs for a whole 24 hours. But it’s the thought that counts, right? And your hands can’t be that dirty anyway.

Day 43: Sort of organized some school files I brought with me on a CD from my last job. This is the sort of task that makes Dropbox pretty appealing.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 35: Pinpointed the cause of the problem with one of the closet doors in my office (other than the fact that cheap, hollow-core bi-fold closet doors are the worst invention ever marketed to uncaring builders and unaware homeowners). Whoever lived here before yanked on the door so hard that the bottom pivot screw was actually ripped from the door, leaving a gigantic hole that I’ll have to fill with epoxy. Assuming I don’t simply replace both the doors with an awesome beaded curtain first.

Day 36: Spent the better part of the morning helping the husband set up my mom’s new computer via telephone and remove connection. He configured her wireless connection, while I ran Mac orientation. And if your mom has ever had computer problems while you were eight hours away, you know that helping her launch a reliable new computer setup totally helps your peace of mind. Ergo, this counts as a point for life organization.

Day 37: Spent a couple of hours researching online backup systems. I tried Mozy, but it’s become extremely unreliable lately, and its non-detailed interface doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies about which files have REALLY moved into the cloud. I’m currently leaning toward Dropbox, but I’m still taking nominations if anybody has a strong opinion.

Day 38: I made the mistake of taking the humidifier apart before I filled it up with water before bed. Oh my. The scale buildup on and around the heating element was simply horrifying, and I spent the better part of 30 minutes trying to scrub it clean. Even more horrifying was the knowledge that my husband had, indeed, actually cleaned it before. More than once. Meaning that the mess I saw did not take three years to accumulate, but possibly only weeks.

Day 39: I sorted through two catch-all UAH file folders. Not the biggest task, but I did manage to merge the documents that belonged together and get rid of some duplicates. The paperless office remains elusive.

Day 40: I grabbed a small stack of old copies of the New Yorker, tore out the stories that I had marked to save, filed them and put the old magazines in the recycling bin.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 33: Computer file maintenance. My digital belongings aren’t as messy as they could be, but they’re not a miracle of modern data preservation, either.

Day 34: Lugged a heavy piece of construction debris to the curb after watching it languish in the garage for nearly nine months. The trash guys effortlessly carted it away. Girl muscles FTW.

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