One Month of [Nearly] Zero Processed Foods

One Month of [Nearly] Zero Processed Foods

Besides reducing waste and clutter, I have also been slowly eliminating processed foods from our home and replacing them with homemade alternatives – in an attempt to simplify our eating habits. But I wanted to stop buying pre-made foods altogether – immediately. It took some time, but Brett [miraculously] agreed to give the idea a trial run during the month of June.

100% whole wheat bread that I make every ten days or so. Takes me 2 hours, including rise and bake time – and I knead by hand so a stand mixer would make it even faster!

So, Rather than buying pre-made, packaged, and convenience foods, I am only buying the foods that I cannot make myself. Everything else, I am making from scratch – or doing without. I am still buying milk, cheese, meat, seafood, seasonings, and the basic baking necessities [i.e. flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder, olive oil, etc.] – which are all “processed” to a degree, but that I can’t process myself. Unprocessed foods that we buy are fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, legumes, grains, and seeds, pure honey and maple syrup.

This change will [hopefully] allow us to improve our health, reduce our waste, and save some money in the grocery department.

Homemade rosemary and sea salt crackers. Took me 20 minutes to make one batch which was the perfect number of crackers for my kids’ afternoon snack.

This means more work for me in the kitchen, but it’s not really as bad as it might sound. I started very small about a year ago, with just making my own peanut butter every two weeks. Over time, I’ve added things that I can easily fit into my schedule. And now I am making jam, bread, yogurt, cottage cheese, applesauce, vegetable stock, pasta sauce, salsa, hummus, crackers, tortillas, potato chips [baked, of course], donuts [also baked and on rare occasions], granola bars, muffins, biscuits, pesto, nut milks and even vegan cheese. Some things I make regularly to keep stocked, and other things I make as needed. Pretty much anything we could need, I can make with just the basic ingredients I keep in my home. It may sound time consuming, but most of the things I make don’t require very much hands on involvement from me.

[I know that a lot of people work full-time and aren’t able to dedicate much time to making food from scratch, but you may be surprised at how many things are quick and easy to make – like peanut butter, which only takes three minutes to make in my Ninja or the cashew milk below.]

Cashew milk I made for breakfast smoothies yesterday. Took all of three minutes to make, not counting soaking the cashews overnight.

I’m doing this partly because it is the simplest, healthiest way to eat and partly because it significantly reduces our waste AND partly because I’m curious to see if this will be more expensive. The most common reason I hear for not eating healthy foods is that it’s too expensive. Since healthy, natural, organic foods are typically more expensive than their processed counterparts, I’m curious to see if it costs us more financially. I suspect that healthy eating actually saves money, but costs more time. [Then, of course, “time is money” to some people, and that is exactly why convenience foods were created in the first place.] Regardless, I doubt I’ll regret the change because the healthiest thing is always best – even if it does cost more money and more time.

Besides all that, making things from scratch is rewarding and makes my fridge look clean and organized! [If my 20-year-old self could hear me now, she would probably pass out from shock. I guess I’m proof that people can change. 😁]

Karis

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