So, I have now been back to work for one full week, and my biggest realization is that I had forgotten how exhausting working is! And I only had kids for three days of this week! Whoa... (To all those who work year round, I commend you.)
The biggest loser this past week was dinner. I didn't do a very good job of planning out meals, and we ended up at Sonic one night and with a frozen pizza another. Very, very bad. Where was my local/organic food, you ask? It was begging to be prepared!
But, don't I deserve an adjustment week? Going back to work is tough stuff!
After an intense heart-to-heart with myself, I realized that the culprits here are preparation and planning. Last Saturday, I went to the farmers market and bought whatever I saw, which led to a (quick-cooking) food shortage by Wednesday, and if I don't have a dinner plan for each night of the week, we will end up with frozen pizza (we love you Tombstone).
There is one other minor problem though. If I am truly committed to the local/organic thing, then I should be up with the roosters every Saturday morning heading to market. In real working life, that is completely unrealistic. It is next to impossible for me to convince myself to get up and dressed on Saturday mornings. The only thing I want to do is sit in my pjs and drink coffee. The alternative is Earth Fare.
At first, I felt a little guilty about shopping at Earth Fare, like I was copping out on the local thing. (There is a section in The Omnivore's Dilemma about Whole Foods and big organic, and in my mind, local trumps organic if at all possible.) I also worried about blowing my grocery budget out of the water by doing my food shopping at an organic grocery store; everyone knows that Whole Foods is WAAAYYYY expensive, so I assumed the same would be true of Earth Fare.
Fortunately, Earth Fare is not Whole Foods. It's based out of Asheville with stores only in the southeast, and they actually buy some relatively local produce. Examples: 1) my organic green peppers are from Pittsboro, NC; 2) my organic squash is from Monetta, SC; and 3) my organic zucchini is from Cashiers, NC. It's not the kind of local that the Matthews Community Farmers Market is, but it's better than giving up local/organic altogether. And, for the icing on my local/organic cake, my grocery total was completely comparable to what I would typically spend at Food Lion on a week's worth of food (and we're talking breakfast, lunch stuff for me and PJ, and dinners). To be fair, I have changed what I buy because we do not eat cereal (bye-bye Cinnamon Toast Crunch) or other processed stuff very much anymore, and all that junk added up, but I also bought some pricier things like grapes, balsamic vinegar, chicken, and cranberry juice. Fresh food does seem to require more cooking time, especially chopping and prep time, but when I think about the fact that I might be helping Cara avoid diabetes, it seems worth it.
So, here's to a better dinner week! :-)