The Challenge: Lessons Learned

After 3 months ( 91 days) of not going to the grocery store I ended the challenge on Sunday. I actually felt sort of odd about it. I was still far from running out of a lot of stuff and felt like I could have gone on longer. The initial plan was to go a month or a little longer. It soon became obvious to me that there was not much challenge in that for me. So I decided to go for 2 months and then 3.  So many of you have commented on what that first grocery store trip would be like. I think the image would be of me grabbing several carts and loading back up. I actually thought that would happen, too. It didn’t.

To celebrate the end of my little experiment I was invited to Amy McWilliam’s house. We enjoyed Indian take out and fresh fruit. By Sunday morning- after a very late night I got a call to go out for lunch. We went to a favorite Chinese restaurant where I was treated to Mongolian Duck and fried lotus root. Special thanks to Jonathan for that one. So now it’s Sunday afternoon with stores all around. I just picked up some oranges and a few other things.

It was strange. Like a prisoner let out who doesn’t know quite what to do with the freedom. I think part of it was the way I had been living for the past three months. I learned not to take anything for granted and not to waste.

Well, its not quite all I did. I went to a bakery outlet near my house. I love baking bread. Heck, I’m teaching a bread baking class tomorrow and 4 loaves are rising as we speak. Still, I got tired of having to bake bread whenever I wanted it.  So I went to the discount bread store and got 2 loaves of 100% whole wheat. I do have freezer space now. I also saw a sign that if you bought 2 loaves of rye bread you would get a third loaf free. So I bought 3 loaves of rye bread. There I was with 5 loaves of bread!!!! Do you have any idea how long it takes me to eat 5 loaves of bread?

By the time I got to the store to buy other stuff I realized that I only NEEDED some fresh produce and eggs. I didn’t need to go crazy and stock up the house. I know that sounds odd, but its true. I think I’ll shop differently from now on.

I do think we all need to be prepared and have food reserves. I can, freeze and dehydrate as a way of preserving seasonal foods and taking advantage of sale prices. But I also don’t want to buy so much of perishable foods that I end up tossing them.  I want to enjoy the foods of the seasons, too. The foods that are fresh and local.

So for now I will take a look at what I have and what I need. I’ll shop smarter and waste less. It will also mean spending less and that is a good thing. I look forward to the various farm markets that I frequent. I will forage more for sure. We are expanding my garden at Dona’s house so I will be growing even more of my own food. Also inspired by Mari Keating and her group Food Not Lawns I am planning on making even more of my landscape edible. Every little bit helps and adds up.


I have more to say about all this but for now the bread is in need of baking. Thanks to so many of you for your support and feedback. Love you all.

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