There are a few things that over the last few months have conspicuously dropped off my grocery list every week. One by one, they’ve become completely extinct in my kitchen- not because I don’t use them anymore, but because I eat them in a different way. A fresher, cheaper, much more environmentally and health-friendly way.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of Stuff I Don’t Buy Anymore Now That I Eat Clean.
- Canned vegetables. You know, the canned tomatoes or beans that just sit around the back shelf of the pantry waiting for a rainy day when you’re making fajitas and the recipe calls for a 15-ounce can of preserved whatever? I don’t buy those anymore. If I need 15 ounces of tomatoes, I chop up 15 ounces of tomatoes and throw them in the pan. This goes for corn, beans, mushrooms, pumpkin, peas… Pretty much any recipe that calls for something canned (excepting coconut milk or something I don’t know how to make) is going to find me chopping up the fresh stuff instead.
- There is absolutely no difference whatsoever in taste.
- It’s cheaper. Canned stuff here runs much pricier than in the US, but if you were to buy farmer’s market-grade produce in the US, it would still probably work out to be the same price, if not cheaper.
- It’s healthier: no preservatives, no weird BPA toxins, nothing added.
- Far less waste. No cans, no metals, less landfill crap. That’s actually the main reason I started doing it in the first place, even before eating clean.
- Sugar: I just use honey for everything, even in baking. Honey in tea, oatmeal, cupcakes…
- Applesauce: This is so easy to make and it makes the apartment smell like Christmas. Again, no added sugars and no waste. Also cheaper. I’m working on homemade spaghetti sauce as well, but haven’t hit success yet.
- Hummus: One of the great things about hummus is that there are so many different varieties you can make from scratch. I always use tons of garlic, but mix and match with jalapeño peppers, red peppers, paprika, and sun-dried tomatoes.
- Soup: I never liked buying soup in cans in the first place. Soup is supposed to be that healthy, vitamin-rich elixir for the sick. Something about pouring a can-shaped blob into a pan to heat up feels really counterintuitive. Soup is probably the easiest thing in the world to make. Throw in vegetables, water, spices, maybe some meat. Cook for a few hours.
- Chicken/Vegetable stock: Save your chicken bones, boil them with garlic and onions, and freeze the stock. I love having chicken stock on hand for soups, I also use it to cook rice.
- Granola bars: If you married a squirrel, like I did, you need a plentiful supply of energy snacks around the house. Cue homemade granola bars. This is my favourite recipe. So much cheaper.
- Popcorn: My mom has been doing this for years, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have even known what real popcorn looked like. I used to make a huge batch on Sunday night and snack on it throughout the week. No fake flavours, no preservatives… This parmesan-paprika recipe looks tasty.
One of the ways I’m able to do this is by trying to always have an ample supply of fresh produce in my fridge. This is made easier by our local produce delivery service, which is, in short, AMAZING. For $40 we get an entire box of fruit and vegetables and a dozen organic eggs delivered to our place each week. Delivery day always feels something like Christmas.
I believe eating is a huge part of lifestyle and culture. When I eat fresh, even raw vegetables, I feel dramatically different within a few days. I enjoy cooking, so for me, time spent chopping up vegetables is a small price to pay for the health and cost benefits otherwise gained.