Wednesday, August 1, 2012

30 Days of Nothing Challenge

Today Patrick & I are going to attempt the 30 Days of Nothing Challenge.

For 30 days, we won't spend a single dime on groceries.  We'll cook our meals using the food we have on hand, eat veggies from our garden, and find other creative ways to fill our plates, such as free birthday treats, reward clubs, and gift cards.  For the entire month of August, there will be no eating out, drinks at the bar, candy bars at the check out lane, or stopping for fast food.

Crazy, isn't it?
(Don't worry Mom, we're just going to try the challenge - we won't go hungry: if we're starving, we'll just call it quits and go buy some food)

I learned about this challenge in January by following the progress of these brave bloggers: learningthefrugallife.blogspot and onemomfiveboys.blogspot.  Many people take this challenge in January to start the new year with new habits, but I decided to try it in August so that we can take advantage of our garden (we are veggie people: a month without them would not be good for us).  Most people also chose not to spend money on anything- that means no social outings, cleaning supplies, clothing, hair appointments, or craft supplies.  Patrick is already on the fence about no groceries, so that's where our focus will be.

I want to try this challenge for three reasons:

1. To become more conscious and grateful for my food.  I'm guilty of eating an entire bag of chips without even looking at them.  I can do all of our grocery shopping for the week in thirty minutes while on my cell phone.  Back in high school a friend's parents adopted a little girl from Russia.  On her first trip to the American grocery store, she took one look at the produce section and gasped.  "Momma, its beautiful!" she said.  I feel guilty when I think about that story.  It reminds me of all the squishy brown tomatoes and forgotten celery I find hidden deep in my fridge and throw away without a thought.  Rarely do I consider how blessed I am to have it or how farmers invested months into growing and preparing my food.  This month, my mind will be on food - not just filling my belly - but where it came from and how lucky I am to have it.

2. To cook more often.  Let me be clear about this: I like to cook, but not when I'm tired, rushed, or hungry.  Sure, we have cupboards full of food, but we eat Taco Bell more often that I want to admit.  My generation lives on convenience - most of us (myself included) don't really know how to cook.  We can Google recipes, but that's about it.  My goal is to establish a routine of cooking every night.  Not just spaghetti, but filling healthy meals that challenge me to use ingredients that I have on hand and to appreciate the work that goes into preparing dinner.

3. To eat healthier.  I know, you're laughing at this one, right?  How will I be healthy if I'm not buying food?  I'm sure you've heard the argument, "Healthy food is too expensive: that's why I don't eat well".  I know this is a lofty goal, but I'm hoping to prove that theory wrong.  My focus will be on nutritious, balanced meals and portion control.  I won't be able to cut carbs and sugar completely (and, honestly, I don't really want to cut them out), but will not make meals consisting of only empty carbs.

Some other things I want to throw out there:

*As I said before: I promise we won't starve to death.  If we run out of food, then -Game Over- we quit the challenge and go to Subway.  Easy as that.

*I have no intention of hitting up the food pantry, taking donations, or stealing.  It would be completely unfair to take food from people that need it when we have the ability to buy it.  I'm not a jerk, thank you.

*Most common question: "Why don't you just buy a bunch of food in July to prepare for August?"
Okay, now technically that would work, but I wouldn't gain much from that experience.  Also, I doubt you want to read a month of posts that say, "Look at this dinner! Made with the food I stockpiled!"
I did buy four cans of tuna and a box of powdered milk to experiment with, but that's about it.

*I'm going to be honest with you: I love food and I hate the idea of being without my Poptarts, passion fruit tea, and 7 Layer Burritos from Taco Bell, but I really want to do this and I'm going to use this blog for accountability.  If you don't want to read about it, my feelings won't be hurt :)

And now its time: Let the Hunger Games begin!

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