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This past week, actor/activist Gwyneth Paltrow got some serious heat when Rock Star chef Mario Batali challenged her to food shop using only $29 in a bid to raise awareness and money for the Food Bank For NYC. The city of NY is in a food crisis.
Rather than focusing on someone's financial status and rip them for that, the real question is, what is NY going to do... and more importantly raise awareness around it. Which is exactly what has been happening. Even though there has been a lot of bashing, Gwyneth did take the challenge and it has raised awareness. You can read her account of it here.
At an earlier point in my life when I decided to move from RI to CA I was on a stricter budget all the way around. I chose to eat healthily and ate the same thing every day. Now that I think of it, gym rats & body builders are more accustomed to cyclical & very specific food. And at that time, I did follow a body builder regimen.
I would buy in bulk and steadily ate oatmeal, pasta w/ broccoli, chicken, frozen mixed fruit and drink lots of water. Fortunately I am on a more open ended budget, although I do eat close to the same. I now add flax seeds or chia seeds to my oatmeal and generally get staple items at WF or TJ. I eat more fresh food from a once a week trip to the Hollywood Farmer's Market, One of the reasons I love living in L.A. is that I can go to a Farmer's Market almost any day of the week. In each city I go to, I know which vendors are there to get all my staples, and then venture out to see what else strikes my palate.
As soon as I saw Gwyneth's picture (above), my wheels began spinning and I thought about my own style of shopping. Truth is, on an average week, I'm pretty close! Fortunately for me, it isn't out of frugality or necessity, it's to be healthy. Here in Los Angeles, there is a "99 Cents" store where pretty much everything is 99 cents. There are a lot of people who do their full shopping there - from household items to food. To shop on $29 for the week, I would go there, and for this blog say I already have purchased olive oil, spices and coconut oil and have it on reserve.
My list would look like: eggs, smoked sausage, peanut butter, loaf of bread, potatoes, onions, broccoli, carrots, tuna (can/packet), salmon (can), black beans, brown rice, cilantro, lime, tomatoes, celery, a melon, oatmeal, bananas, avocados, apples, eggplant, zucchini, milk, pasta, bag popping corn. That's 26 items, $25.74+2.32 tax = $28.06
Is it boring to eat the same thing over and over? Absolutely! How grateful are you, you can add variety? Me too. Here's the thing though - you do eat pretty much the same all the time. I've reviewed 1000's of food journals - I know. People are creatures of habit for the most part - in what they wear, eat, where they go and how they exercise. How can you vary your routine more?
Well, taking this challenge is one. It will raise your awareness of what you are eating and spending. It will tighten you up for sure! And, from a health perspective, it will tighten you up for sure. When you really have to pay attention to your food intake, you'll choose more wisely. It is a great exercise in honing in to groom some good habits, don't you think?
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Copyright Paula D'Andrea - April 20, 2015. All Rights reserved.