As he passed through the kitchen moments ago, Mr. Truffula remarked on his trip to the grocery store earlier today. "You know," he said, "I bought only a bag of bananas and a few bottles of juice."
Little did he know that this was exactly the topic I wanted to share with you today. Ha! Validation! I'm not the only one whose radar is picking up that our "normal" has shifted. A few months ago, our grocery store list would have covered the entire back of an envelope. Why an envelope (rescued from the paper recycling)? Because, of course, it holds the stack coupons to be used on the shopping trip. The thing is that today's trip required no envelope, and involved no coupons.
In fact, those packets of coupons in the Sunday paper -- the ones which are supposed to save you so much money that they more than pay for the cost of the newspaper -- have become largely irrelevant to us. The coupons don't apply to things like sacks of over-ripe or singleton bananas, or five-pound bags of carrots. The potential savings on shampoo, conditioner, and hair dyes are nil when you're a committed no-poo'er and trying to embrace the grey. And what's a dollar off of the latest antiseptic, ultra, super-duper dirt zapper when generic baking soda and vinegar are the order of the day? Factor in a Diva and cloth liners, and a whole other coupon category goes pouf!
Our dishwasher has taken on a chronic state: full. What's filling it up? Glass jars. Lots of jars. That's right, my jar situation has taken on new dimensions. The refrigerator and freezer are loaded with large jars of broth and soups. My little lunch bag is populated with smaller jars for transport. It's a constant dance of filling, emptying, washing, and repeating the process.
What's given me even more pause is... our waste stream. We dutifully use our recycling bin, but it doesn't see as much love from us as it once did. Great Scott! I think the trash can use has been steady, or a hair below. Like the dishwasher, the bucket next to the sink for to-be-composted items is full all the time. By weight, I think our amount of waste has actually gone up. Oh, my stars! Granted, the relatively heavy compostables get turned back into luscious black gold for the garden, but still... What the cuckoo is going on?!
I think the causes are two-fold: 1) we've been buying increasing amounts of locally-produced food, often direct from the farmer; followed by 2) a significant change in diet.
We've got our milk farmer; our egg farmer; our cheese producer; our dear CSA (which I've quit this year, but that's a (happy) story for another day, and we're still going to volunteer lots of time in their fields); and our nut, seed, and dried fruits source. Plus, if all goes well, I hope to have a good amount of veggies flowing from our own garden this coming growing season.
The (coconut oil) frosting on the (nut flour) cake is that we've turned the family diet on its head. We were already moving in a real foods direction. Now, two of us are GAPSing. The 25-words-or-less description is that we went grain-, starch-, and sugar-free, with generous portions of fermented goodies for good measure. Most prepared foods are out the window (along with those coupons for them). We're cooking loads from scratch, which is what's spiking our food scrap generation. With less foods coming out of cans and other containers, we have fewer cans, bottles and jars for the blue bin. When we're the ones jarring up those precious bone broths, soups, and leftovers, we slap on a reusable Tattler lid, and ultimately add to that dishwasher situation I mentioned.
Whether your new year began at the Solstice, on January 1, or is taking a fresh start with the Lunar New Year next month, what differences have you noticed in your own households between 2010 and 2011? What did you expect to notice? What was unexpected? What observations are you happy to trumpet, and which ones