Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Resolution #2: Eat More Whole Foods and Cook at Home Every Night

Eat more whole foods and cook at home every night (eat out no more than once a week per meal*).

I know it's very popular to resolve to eat better, exercise more, lose weight, etc., but that's not what I'm doing here. I want to lead a healthier, more intentional life. I'm not trying to diet, or get to a size 4. I just want to be happier and I know that healthier food gets me there. I've tried this before, and I felt great.

In 2008 or so, I quit drinking soda, except for the occasional Jack and Ginger or Jack and Coke. Lately though, for some strange reason, I've been craving good old fashioned Coca Cola Classic. And I've been succumbing to that craving, having had well over 10 sodas in the last month (more than the last 5 years COMBINED).

My problem with drinking soda is not that it's full of sugar and bad calories. My problem with drinking soda, and eating junk food in general, is that it's full of chemicals. In fact, I firmly believe that the "Food" industry is stuffing us with food-like products and not food itself. It creeps me right the hell out. A preservative here and there never hurt anyone, but the fact that I really have to search high and low for a loaf of bread, pasta, ice cream, or sauce that have only ingredients that I can pronounce just ain't right.

Junk food in general hasn't been my thing for years. I'm lucky enough to have a great cook for a partner, and I'm not half bad myself, so 9 times out of 10 I prefer a good homecooked meal or a salad to eating out. But sometimes life gets in the way, and I'll enjoy some Burger King or Taco Bell with the rest of middle America. Or I'll "cook" the fastest foods with the easiest prepackaged ingredients. It's not good, guys.

So, for starters, I'm taking a look at the prepackaged foods I love the most, and trying to find better, healthier versions.

Take salsa, for instance. I can eat an entire container in one sitting. And salsa, as a rule, is not that bad for you. It's all vegetables and spices. But again, prepackaged foods with their preservatives give me the heebie jeebies, so why not try an at home version? Well, I did. Yesterday. And it was DELICIOUS. Did it take a little bit of extra time? Sure. But I know it was worth it. Next stop? Home made tortilla chips.

I also want to make sure that I'm keeping healthy whole foods on hand, so I can cut out the fast food element. This is a fun resolution for me. I LOVE to cook, and I love to eat. And I just so happen to have about a bajillion recipes that need testing. Finding the right balance between making too much and too little has always been a challenge for me, but hopefully this is the year that I can figure it out.

Another good boost to this resolution is that I'm lucky enough to live within 3 miles of a fantastic Farmer's Market style grocery, and I work within a mile of a local butcher. There's really no excuse for me to not make better choices.

*Currently I'm underemployed, so the idea of eating out is laughable. But once I do find more gainful employment, one lunch a week, or one date night out doesn't seem like a crazy splurge.

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