source: Society6.com via Pinterest
...to Shop Local and Eat Clean.
Let’s get something straight from the get-go; I’m not one for resolutions. Probably because I hate failing. If I do something I like to do it properly. So very often it’s best not to start. Or if I do start, it’s sometimes safest to keep it to myself. My list of resolutions for this new year could have been exhaustive. There’s a lot that interests me, many things I want and need to improve upon, a few things I’d love to do. But it’s best to stick with one main thing, something achievable even if challenging, right?
I’ve been thinking about trying to shop locally, certainly for food, for a while now. For starters I pretty much hate shopping at the supermarket, crazy/unruly boys in tow, and no culinary inspiration (or skill) to draw upon. One exception might be a visit to my local Waitrose because, after all, you can get a free cappuccino from the cafe. But then you get to the till and realise you paid for that coffee after all, one way or another. I’ve tried online food shopping. Actually I find it a complete pain in the bum. I think I’d rather have my crazy/unruly boys clambering all over a fully loaded trolley and no free coffee. Then I read a very interesting article about an Oxfordshire family who spent a year shopping locally for food…and they saved over £800. It’s a common misconception – one I held – that local shops are more expensive. Their individual prices may be the same, or even more on occasion but they don’t encourage you to buy more than you want or need with aisle-end show stoppers and BOGOFs that for some reason reel you in. And it’s a bit of a no-brainier that it’s just, well, more friendly to support your local independent traders and producers.
I believe that shopping locally will also support my need to clean up my family’s diet. Here’s the issue. I’m not particularly well. I’ve had Rheumatoid Arthritis for 15 years. It’s fairly well controlled with very powerful biologic drugs (for those in the know or who are interested, I inject Enbrel/Etanercept once a week). It’s a lifelong, autoimmune disorder and, if I’m honest, it sucks. It’s always caused me fatigue but since I fell pregnant with Boy2 nearly four years ago, I’ve felt really quite pants most of the time. I’ve had tests, investigations and MRI scans looking for coeliac disease, Chrohns and Colitis. Thankfully all clear. I’ve been back and forth to my GP countless times but there appears to be no magic answer. I’ve cut gluten from my diet for about two years now which has helped a little, enough to persist. So now I want to clean up the rest of my diet.
I thought I had a reasonably good diet. Not exactly healthy but certainly not junk. Too much chocolate, yes, possibly not enough fruit, agreed. Other than that, fairly OK. But I am no cook. In fact I’m pretty much a kitchen failure. Add to this a husband who’s palette is entirely at odds with mine, and one boy who suffers with sensory food aversion disorder (or extreme food pickiness for the uninitiated). Not exactly a recipe for harmonious family mealtimes! I’ve all too often reached for convenience meals. I’ve tried to choose the best quality versions. The ones with the prettier packaging and fancier labels but, let’s face it, they’re all full of crap. Even my constant reliable companion, the Gluten Free Oat Cake (because gluten free bread tastes like sh*te) is full of palm oil. I’m not going to bang on about the evils of palm oil here but go and Google it. Now. It’s in everything and it’s bad. Bad, bad, bad.
I think there’s a high probability that, along with having a degenerative autoimmune disease, I’m particularly sensitive to food related crap. I’m sure I’m probably deficient in essential fatty acids and B Vitamins. Supplementation is all well and good (I’ve started), but the conditions within your body have got to be right for vitamins to work. I’ve proven that, by going gluten-free, I can stick to an eating regime. What is going to challenge me by eating clean is the cooking involved for a family with different needs and wants. Boy1 only eats a handful of different main meals so we will probably start with getting to grips with making his favourites; gluten free pizza dough, pizza sauce, home made pesto, fish fingers and a creamy korma curry sauce. If I can get him on board we stand a good chance of success. I want to get the boys baking bread and helping out in the kitchen. I’m going to need it and perhaps it will encourage a willingness to try new things and slightly different (real) flavours?
I’m determined that this year, the year I turn 40, I need to feel well. So here’s to shopping locally and eating clean. Just don’t beat me up if I fail, OK?
I’m collecting clean and gluten free recipes over on Pinterest. Search for me as loopyg