I promised a loooong time ago that I here in the west and are spreading. It's all volunteer run and you just pay $16.50 (including tax/fees) and in return they pool the money and buy in bulk from the same suppliers as the grocery stores. They try to go as local as possible and cutting out the middle man makes buying produce a whole lot more affordable. I've been getting them off and on since the beginning of the year in an effort to meet my New Years resolution to go 80% produce.
Which goal was inspired by Green Smoothie Girl, whom I finally got around to looking up after seeing her on a video where she got a Dressing Your Truth Makeover. I am sooo glad I did look her up and downloaded her 12 Nutrition Myths. The one about milk has been such a saving grace for us! Without reading that I never would have figured out why my oldest girl always had a chronic runny nose year round!
So yes, we've cut out milk, and as such we no longer buy cold cereal. I really don't miss it. It is sooo expensive to buy something so processed and mostly air, that often contains too much sugar (and when it truly is healthy you can break your teeth on the hard whole grains and seeds *cough*Kashi*cough*.)
Ok, end of rant about cold cereal. Anyway, cutting out those two things has been a great decision for us. We've saved money on our groceries and I don't have to wash nearly as many spoons and bowls. And yes, I think we're all healthier now.
Now for those of your who already know about Green Smoothie Girl, you might be wondering why I said 80 percent produce instead of 80 percent raw, which is what she does. This is because I know myself, and I know that big changes don't happen over night, especially when they involve more people than just myself. (Namely, the hubby.)
So I figured, listen to the Flylady and take baby steps. Let's just up our produce intake and then we can see how much cooking we can eliminate next year.
So this brought me round to my previous thoughts on joining Bountiful Baskets. I had been thinking about it for at least a year off and on, but the idea of that much produce in my house made my head swim because it seemed that whenever I bought fresh stuff, a large amount very often went to waste. So, once again, baby steps.
We got one and tried it . . . it did take some getting used to, and if I do recall aright, some things did go bad before we used them, but it was overall really good so we did it again a little while later. . . And again. Then we did have a little regression where we had to get some Charity food from our Church's storehouse and that was frustrating because while they do give a lot of produce, it's only enough to last a month or so, and then all you have left is a years worth of carbs and meats and condiments. Which, of course, are good things to have on hand, but it doesn't make for very healthy eating when that's all you have in the house.
Okay, so we did get canned fruits and veggies too, and I did the best I could with those for a while, but I have been most happy to see my hubby's work pick up again because I've missed my Bountiful Basket!
I think that time without one really made me appreciate it more. I also think that I have finally gotten used to eating more produce. We used to get one every other week at most, but yesterday I bought my third one in a row, so we will have had fresh produce for three weeks in a row next week! Of course, this is almost all we are spending on groceries (Aside from some occasional cheese from the local grocery store).
So really, because we are all stocked up on meat and carbs, it's kind of nice that we can just focus on buying fresh things and since we are also no longer buying chips or crackers we have slowly learned to snack on fruit, celery, carrots . . . things like that.
The only other thing that can be a bit of a challenge is that one never knows what the basket will hold until they get it. So, if you've never cooked with or eaten some of the offerings it will take a little extra research and thought to work it into your meals. And yes, sometimes it takes a little courage too.
I honestly used to be a very picky eater as a child. (possibly influenced by picky older siblings as the second youngest of seven.) There was a time when I was heard to say that I wouldn't eat anything green unless it was jello . . . maybe iceburg lettuce. Lol. Peas were the worst! I have a very vivid memory of being made to choke them down at dinner once! It was awful!
Eventually, I got brave and tried broccoli. Which I liked, as long as it was fresh. When I was a young teenager my Mom discovered Reliv. Which is a pretty great invention (if they only would cut back on the soy, but of course they didn't know better at the time. They should know by now though!)
It is basically a vitamin/mineral supplement that is taken in drink form. Let me tell you, this is not a very yummy drink. My Mom really believed in it though and I took them for her. I really didn't mind too much. It actually seemed to cure the chronic cough/cold I 'd had for about two years. (Though, now I'm wondering if that was actually due to Milk. I did stop drinking milk at some point, but I'm not sure if those events coincide.)
Anyway, after choking down Reliv (Which I did for about six years or so) I began to say to myself, "If I can handle this, I can handle anything." I became a much more adventurous eater thereafter. Which was good because when one moves around socially, it really is not polite or classy to cringe (or whine) at the site of new, untried foods. I even started to eat peas, though even now I must say they are still not a favorite.
At any rate I am super excited to try new things now, and I feel adventurous and motivated and so, so, so blessed that we have the opportunity in this day and age to try so many amazing foods from all over the world and that we have the knowledge and resources to find out what each food does for us so that we can choose to be healthier and happier!