One week ago we decided to not eat out. Sounds simple, but for us, it was a huge change from normal. And guess what: we did it. All I wanted to do was make it for a week, so a half-hour ago I hit the mark. I could have gone running out of the house to grab a quick Reece's Mcflurry at McDonald's or a pepper supreme burger at The Grill - but quite honestly I think there's been a total change in perspective in this house. There were even a couple of times I could have given in rather easily: once when I found myself in a Starbucks with Jennifer and this very afternoon when my dad came over and unknowingly brought a vegetable plate from The Ila Restaurant. Now that was hard to resist. But it was really important for me to stick to the one full week and not give in.
Things I noticed:
It's not that scary to grocery shop.
There are very tasty things in the grocery store that I can make very easily at home. Assemble, I'll say.
There are definitely things that I crave from a restaurant: sushi & frozen yogurt for sure. And maybe the cheeseburger from McDonald's...and definitely the steak and cheese from Subway...ah!
One week has gone by and I haven't starved to death (not that there was a chance of that anyway-I have lots of fat reserves - the Adams hips I call 'em).
I ate turkey and cheese sandwiches, chips, lean cuisines, lots of fruits, broccoli, yogurt, smoothies, cereal, cookies, pop-tarts, and home-made spaghetti. One week is not enough time to really get creative in the kitchen, but it is time to see that I could be if I invest the time.
In some ways I felt like I was returning to something simpler. When I grew up, we ate whatever my grandmother put on the table, whether we liked it or not. There was no going out to eat. I mean, talk about local food. We grew our vegetables in the summer, canned them so we'd have plenty all winter long, and grew chickens too. We bought milk from the lady up the street who had a small dairy - literally about a mile and a half away. We bought hot dogs, chips, flour, Dr. Pepper and novelties that would have been hard to make on our own - but I'd say at least half our food we grew. And we ate mostly vegetables. I had to try everything, including those nightmarish chicken livers my grandmother loved so much, and a bite of a pickled pig's foot once too. OMG. But I survived and never struggled with my weight growing up. I still remember the smell of my Granny's freshly cut fried potatoes. I could have eaten those every single day. I remember "looking" through the pinto beans before we cooked them, to weed out any bad beans. I helped peel onions, tomatoes, and apples. I stirred the soups, and the chocolate for her famous chocolate pies. I even know how to make buttermilk biscuits.
I guess I abandoned that part of me in favor of convenience and because I'm married to a guy whose only vice is restaurant dining. Over the years it just became normal. We even convinced ourselves that we could eat out cheaper than eating in. We don't eat leftovers, we reasoned. And what about all the time we'd have to invest in food prep and cleaning up?
What goes with a meal, but conversation? What goes with grocery shopping, but an activity together? One of my coworkers called grocery shopping "kind of a date" with her man. Who's ever stood at the sink washing dishes with their mate and put their wet hand on his or her butt for fun? All this brings opportunity to be together, even if it is just standing in the kitchen sharing a laugh or a tease. It sure beats running to a restaurant, having dinner, and then returning home to solitary activities or television.
Now restaurants have their place for sure...and I'm not all of a sudden a hater. It's good for when there's no time for cooking a proper meal at home, when traveling, or in some sort of crisis situation - like the time I became so depressed all I wanted was french onion soup from Bennigan's. And what about celebrations? Sometimes we just wanna go out. That's perfectly okay. But it shouldn't be what we do for every meal and it shouldn't be the standard. Eating out all the time gets boring, monotonous, and extremely expensive. I think I'm gonna try to stay the course with this, and try to figure out how to slowly and thoughtfully add restaurants back into my life. But right now, I'm gonna go downstairs and raid the fridge!