New Year, New You: January Re-cap

Happy last day of January!  Since it’s the end of the month I thought I would just share with you my changes for the month.  Some changes have been easy, some have been harder.  It actually only took a few hours to clean out the pantry, although the emotional trauma is still with me.  🙂  So, drumroll please:  in the healthy eating category I got rid of the bad oils, high fructose corn syrup, white refined sugar (see what I did with that here), and I’m working in kicking my Dr. Pepper habit.  I have begun soaking my oatmeal and I installed a faucet mount water filter for drinking and cooking.

In other areas, I have begun recycling (I know, right?) and I am doing a ton of research on whole foods, traditional ways of food preparation, and healthier alternatives to household products.  And I’ve been more consistent with my blogging! 🙂  My pantry purge also triggered a purging spree throughout my entire house.  If I don’t love it and/or use it, it’s outa here.  It’s been incredibly freeing to de-clutter.  And I love having less to dust.

So there you have it.  Some baby steps towards a better year and a better, healthier life.  Over this next month I hope to find healthier versions of some of our favorite foods, especially some of those packaged mixes the I like.  Switching to whole foods is a process and there’s grace for the journey.

Have you made some changes this month?  What has been the most challenging for you?

New Year, New You #2: The Great Pantry Toss

So, here is installment number two of my “New Year, New You” journey.  If you missed number one you can find it here.

The very first change I made had to do with food.  I decided that it would be easier to eat better if I didn’t have stuff around I was trying not to eat.  Thus began the Great Pantry Toss.  If pantry cleaning was an Olympic sport, I would be wearing the gold medal!

I started with simply getting rid of everything that was out of date (in the pantry) or unrecognizable (in the freezer).  I found more than a few mystery packages in the freezer.  You know, all those things you didn’t want to waste 5 seconds labeling because you know exactly what it is?  Because you know, that’s 5 whole seconds of your life you’ll never get back!  Then you spend an hour letting it defrost enough to be able to tell what it is, and it’s not what you thought it was so you toss it back in the freezer, again without labeling, because you’re not gonna forget what it is now after all of that!  So now you have all those sad, lonely, unlabeled surprise packages being tossed around the deep freeze as you search for something that is labeled to feed the hungry hoards.  I am happy to report that the sad, lonely, unlabeled surprise package population of my freezer is now a big fat zero.  Yeah me!  And, in an effort to maintain population control I even bought some cute little freezer labels and put them in a convenient place in my kitchen so I’ll actually use them.  I am also happy to report that all of the stray Y2K supplies that I found while spelunking in my panty met a similar fate.  Seriously, I don’t know what I was thinking; Spam?  Does anyone really eat that?

As I said earlier, one of my goals this year is to eat healthier.  I’m not talking about going on a diet and I’m not talking about some hard to find, esoteric “health food”.  I’m simply talking about eating more in line with what my body was created to eat.  So I’m going to be focusing on unprocessed (or at least less processed), organic (where possible), whole foods.  I am giving myself much grace in this process, because it is a process.  Will I ever eat 100% unprocessed, organic, whole foods?  I really don’t know.  But if I don’t, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  What ever changes I do make will be positive and I will celebrate those changes no matter how small.

Ok, back to the pantry.  At the top of the 10 Most Not Wanted list was high fructose corn syrup.  As I began reading labels I was both shocked and amazed at everything that had HFCS in it.  I gotta tell you, reading labels ain’t for wimps!  Some things were pretty obvious like pancake syrup and cold cereal.  Some things surprised me, like “pure” vanilla extract and Lipton onion soup mix.  Seriously?  Onion soup mix?  So I made a decree that henceforth HFCS would no longer find respite in my dwelling place.  I made similar decrees about artificial sweeteners and MSG.  And loudly proclaiming things like, “Off with their heads”, they were unceremoniously tossed across the kitchen into the trash.

To be totally honest with you, though, I didn’t toss everything that should have been tossed.  And I’m ok with that for now.  There is grace in the process.  Some things were purchased by or for my teenagers and I’m not going to toss their stuff.  We have had some discussions about things I don’t want them to bring home anymore though. J  There are some other things that I will not purchase again once they are gone and others that will be phased out as I find healthier alternatives.  I’ve been making my own vanilla extract for about a year now, so the “pure” vanilla extract with high fructose corn syrup did get tossed! 🙂

Next time I’ll talk about #2 on the 10 Most Not Wanted list.  Until then, why don’t you share the weirdest thing you’ve ever found that had HFCS in it?

New Year, New You

Well it’s mid January already, yikes!  Where does the time go?  I don’t know about you, but this is usually the time of year that all my well intentioned New Year’s resolutions go belly up.  I try to change too much too fast and end up overwhelmed, frustrated, and feeling defeated.  But not this year!  You wanna know why?  I’m glad you asked.  It’s cause I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year!  Hah!  How about them apples?

Actually, that’s not exactly true.  I made one.  To not make any more!  This year I decided to do something different.  I am going to make changes gradually, every week or so, over the course of the year, one or two things at a time.  And I am going to give myself grace to not do it perfectly all the time.  If I start to feel a little overwhelmed, I will not add anything else until I get a handle on things.  Some changes will be easier than others of course, and some will take a little longer to assimilate.  Good habits seem harder to establish than bad ones some times, but that’s really just my inner whiner talking.

There are several things I am going to work on this year.  I imagine my list is probably similar to yours:  eat better, shed some pounds, exercise more, simplify, get free from debt, more consistent blogging (ok, that one may not be on your list 🙂 ), more consistent time in the Word, focusing more on relationships, better earth stewardship, etc.  The plan is that by next New Year’s, there will be 52ish things that I am doing (or not doing) that will cumulatively make a big impact in my life, my relationships, my walk, and my environment.

I will be sharing changes I’m making and how that’s going as I go along.  Both for your amusement and my accountability :).  What changes are you making this year?  Why don’t you share your journey with us?  In the immortal words of Pooh Bear, “It’s much more friendlier with two.”