Well, it’s that time. Time to reflect on last year’s valiant efforts and to set new goals for the coming year!
2014. To refresh our memories, last year’s goal was to only pay for “happy” meat, happy being a general term to describe animals free of steroids, living on pasture and in fresh air, not fed their own form of soylent green, and humanely slaughtered. Insert any other descriptives as you will. Our intention was to not use our money (one form of voting and protesting!) for animal systems we want no part of, without offending friends and family who invited us to dinner. For the most part, things went according to plan and we did not buy unhappy meat for our home. We did, a couple of times, end up with a salami plate or two in our fridge left behind by friends for a potluck. We did not offend any friends or family (at least I hope we didn’t). We did, however, fail spectacularly on one front. The restaurant/eating out front. Big fail. Belly flop. Ker-splat.
The two main problems we encountered were: a) we have two young kids which means we don’t always manage to plan ahead and have happy food with us and that we occasionally have to just stop and eat; and b) not enough restaurants offer happy meat options. We would gladly pay extra for the upgrade to a happy burger if that upgrade was available, but it rarely is. Either the restaurant serves happy meat or it doesn’t. And the ones that do are rarely the ones encountered on the road or in the airport.
I get it. It’s a chicken and egg problem. The restaurants can’t necessarily afford to offer expensive meat options that may go to waste. They need us consumers to step up to the plate and make it clear that we will support them. But we consumers don’t know to look for that option or to budget for that option until it becomes increasingly available and we see it on menus. It’s funny – this is the same problem we had with our 2013 resolution of eating GMO-free. It was easy in the home and challenging out and about.
These lessons learned will pop up in future posts. For now, let’s move on to a new kind of resolution….
2015. We are spending spring in Ethiopia this year as part of Travis’ sabbatical*. So I wanted to craft a resolution that would be applicable there as well as here. And applicable on the go, which we will be doing a lot of. So rather than focus on what goes in our mouths I decided to focus on what does NOT go in our mouths, namely our food trash. This does not mean compost, and I’ve decided it does not mean recycling here in the states. But all of the throw-away packaging that goes with our food will be saved, weighed, and photographed. I like the idea of having to think about how much trash I want to transport as we travel in airports. I want to know what the difference is between food trash in a developing country and food trash here at home.
I am genuinely intrigued and excited about this idea and have already thought about how to alter what I buy to accommodate this goal. So far this January I have thrown away A LOT of teabag wrappers and tags (I will be switching to bulk tea shortly!). I have deliberately not purchased a couple of things that were not immediately needed with the intention of bringing my own cloth bags back and loading up in the bulk section. I have already been amused at the quantity of butter wrappers I’ve thrown away and am a little stumped at how to reduce this (and before you suggest eating less butter, consider who I am and then just save your breath). I found an amazing sale on Lara Bars and decided to purchase a bunch only because of all the traveling we will be doing, with an inward sigh at the thought of all the trash produced.
I suggest you join me in this adventure, if only for one month or two! We can only improve our lives and our selves by becoming a little more deliberate and intentional around something as important as eating and feeding our families. 2015, bring it on!
*This blog post will become a travel diary of sorts for that time – look for more regular posts that will likely be a little-less kitchen specific and will include more family photos!