I first came across the concept of simple eating over on Jennifer's blog, Simply Fiercely. She talked about how she completely re-evaluated how she ate, shopped, and cooked and it sounded oh so wonderful. I found this post accidentally at a time when I really needed it (don't you love it when that happens?). I love cooking and experimenting with food, but I find that I spend far too much time in the kitchen in the evenings trying to make delicious meals. I spend too much time (and feeling stressed out!) making meal plans and shopping lists. If that isn't enough, a lot of the foods I purchase don't get used up because I only need them for one meal on a given week and because you can only purchase certain items in bigger quantities the food often ends up in the garbage. Something has to give; I feel guilty about throwing food away, frustrated about how much time the planning, shopping and cooking took, and sad that something I once enjoyed now causes me to feel stressed out. After reading Jennifer's post I realized that simple eating was the answer I had been looking for all along.
What is simple eating?
Simple eating is eating simple, healthy and clean meals. Ryan and I are going to try to embrace simple eating through out the week, and allow ourselves treats on the weekends or if we go out with friends.
How does simple eating give you more time?
Less is more, and by eating simpler meals we get to spend less time in the kitchen and more time doing what matters the most. By embracing simple eating you eliminate the need for meal plans, and grocery lists and end up spending less time in the kitchen because the goal isn't to create an absolute master piece of a meal, the goal is to experience healthy clean food as it is.
What does simple eating look like at the grocery store and in the kitchen?
When I go to the grocery store I grab a basket and fill it up with anything that looks healthy and delicious! Last week I purchased feta cheese, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, black beans, tuna fish, rainbow trout, rice, kale, mango's, lime, lemon, avocado's, banana's, nectarines, grapes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cabbage, lettuce, red onion, cucumber, tomato, chocolate soy milk, regular skim milk, eggs, a honey dew melon, cilantro, mushrooms, pepper, zucchini, carrots, and soda water. Each night I go into the kitchen and just let the magic unfold. I grab a couple ingredients and put them together. I can make something that takes 5 minutes or 30 minutes, something that is hot or cold, something traditional or different. Eating simply really allows you the freedom to do what works for you on any given evening.
How does simple eating save you money?
I try to buy grocery's I can mix and match. If everything goes well together then I don't need to worry about throwing anything away. If I don't use an ingredient one night, I will simply use it the next. If I'm not throwing things away that means I'm not throwing my money I spent to buy the grocery's in the first place. I find that I also buy less when I shop like this knowing I can always make a quick mid-week trip to the store if I end up running out.
Are there any other benefits to simple eating?
Something I am really loving about simple eating is retraining my taste buds. Our taste buds and brains have become so used to sugar and salt consumption that we almost feel like we need it (and don't get me wrong, we do need sugar and salt in small quantities but not in the amount that is present in a lot of the processed foods we find at the grocery store these days). I like the idea that through simple eating I am tasting food for what it really is, and how it is meant to taste. I still use spices but I try to cut out added salt and sugar as much as I can and I have cut down on adding sauce to everything. I also like that eating extra tasty meals is becoming a treat again like it once used to be, instead of the norm. Now I get excited to go out to a restaurant or to grab a take away because it feels like I am allowing myself a treat. Before simple eating I would eat foods that tasted good regardless of how healthy they were, or how 'real' they tasted. Now because my taste buds are getting used to subtler flavours again when I have something that really packs a punch it feels special once again.
Would you ever thought of embracing simple eating?