Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Food Goals

One of my favourite blogs currently is written by Rhonda Hetzel, called Down to Earth. She lives in Australia and writes about how she and her husband, Hanno, live 'simply'. She's even written a book called The Simple Life, available from Amazon and all sorts of other places.  I don't think I would call their life simple in that it requires a fair amount of work to grow as much food as they do, raise chickens, bake breads, make their own soap and household cleaners, etc.  I suppose it is simple in that they have stepped away from the usual consumer lifestyle and are as self-sufficient as they are able to be. 

Somehow the concept of 'simple' in modern (post-modern?) society is fairly complex! I tend to think of it as 'minimalist' but they are not minimalists.  I also think of 'simple' as meaning 'easy' (as in automated, I suppose), but they don't do that either.  They are however frugal and they obviously enjoy what they do. I like to occasionally try some of their ideas (like homemade laundry soap, which seems to have worked out fine). If any of these ideas interest you, you should definitely check out her blog and possibly her book (more on the way).  I have neither the land space nor the climate that they enjoy - I especially envy them the latter, so even with the best will I couldn't replicate their lifestyle. (Besides I suspect I'm far too lazy).

Rhonda recently mentioned about Food Goals, a topic that came up on the Simple Living Forum.  I've joined the forum but not figured out how to comment, etc. I thought this was an interesting topic and people have quite a wide variety of goals.

Mine are
1) spend less than £100 per month on average for our food keeping but also serve a variety of healthy, nutritional foods, especially vegetables and fruit. Not sure how realistic this is, but it's what I aim for.
 - Average of £94 a month spent for food so far this year.  

2) grow some fruit and veg in the back garden (my goal is extremely modest, ie anything is better than nothing)
- I've got the soil all turned and ready, but only strawberries (moved) and broad beans have gone in; on the other hand I've had 2 full crops of carrot greens just from my carrot tops-sitting-in-water in the kitchen; this amuses me no end.

3) use up my stockpiled foods, especially those odd items that will just sit forever if I don't make an effort.
- This is largely what has made £94 monthly average possible. There are still odd things to use up so I'm far from finished with this. It is a balance between presenting Bill with new surprises (which is generally likes) and feeding him tinned and frozen foods (which he'll only tolerate so much of).  

More long-range ideas I've had a long time are to be more competent at making pastry for pies and American style biscuits from scratch (as opposed to British style biscuits which I call cookies).  

Other people have listed such things as

reduce/remove sugar from their diet (because they are diabetic)
grow enough food to preserve
learn to make more things from scratch, ie yoghurt, sourdough bread 
increase the diversity of their diets
move more towards a vegetarian / vegan lifestyle
plan more meals, packed lunches
re-build the stockpile
waste less food

This all sounds really good to me. In fact I can't imagine not having a food goal of some kind.  

How about you? Do you have any food goals?


Gam Kau said...

I just started reading that blog a couple of months ago Shelley. I find them so inspiring!
£100/month for 2 people is very impressive. I won't bother to say what our yearly grocery bill is, but it is the largest item in our budget aside from house costs. I do have food goals. In addition to aiming to reduce food expenditures I try not to eat sugar or meat and that part is going well. We also rarely eat potatoes, pasta, rice or bread and regard those items as occasional pleasures.

D A Wolf said...

I will definitely check out her blog. It is amazing how much work is involved in what is marketed as simple. But as you say, it's more a matter if uncoupling from commercial dependence and taking greater ownership of nutritional consumption.

I think this is a huge personal and political topic, certainly in the US whether we admit as much or not. I hope you continue to explore it.

Shelley said...

Gam Kau - I think my £100 budget is soon to be busted! Still, it's fun trying to minimise the expenses and turns out to be a creative exercise as much as anything.

D.A. - Gosh, the politics of food! I trip over it all the time. My priorities are a) eat healthy - using the old-fashioned definition; b) be frugal. New styled politics involve animal welfare, moral veganism, food miles and fair trade, not to mention the pronouncement of a 'new' 'superfood' every other week. People get down right self-righteous about food so quickly I wonder if it's the new religion. More likely it's a marker of social class. I'm not prepared to argue the matter with anyone so I tend to keep my mouth shut on this in real life, except if someone mentions having trouble saving money or making ends meet. Then I'll suggest the green market the bargain shops, but not everyone wants to know these things. Horses and water, you know?

Carolyn said...

I'd heard of the Simple Life but not that she had a blog; thanks for the recommendation :) I don't have "food goals" we eat very simply and frugally mainly due my lack of interest in cooking. Something on the BBQ, a salad or steamed veggies. Soups during winter. That's it!
I think my interest in cooking is about the same level as Jamie Oliver's interest in sewing ;)

Shelley said...

Hi Carolyn - I 'hear' what you're saying about not being interested in cooking. I am interested only so far as I need to be to make the most frugal and healthy choices. After that, I slap it on the plate, etc. I something think when browsing Facebook and other social sites that people spend way too much time thinking about food, sharing pics & recipes of unhealthy meals, etc. My mom was definitely an 'eat to live' person (though she loved cooking and presenting food beautifully); I don't think I'll ever get to that point exactly, but I certainly don't dwell on the subject that much. Love the remark about Jamie Oliver and sewing!

sanda said...

I'd say I'm all over the board with food goals. I go frugal a bit by using up what I have and then I blow it by stocking up on good things I see. But I am a foodie and love to cook and try new things. Oh my our food budget is about $400/month for two people. But that includes dog and cat food and some cleaning products. My experience with growing my own food is that it's not cheaper. Better yes but you can buy green beans much cheaper in the can. The two things I do grow regardless of lack of cost savings are tomatoes and lettuce. This is just my personal experience; may not be the same for others. Our dry summers make it necessary to water things all summer long. Interesting topic.