Alright, that’s it. I’ve had it. Enough. I’m done. Fed up. Tired of it. With what, you may ask? Well, there is, as always, a bit of a story behind a life change I have decided to make.
Last week, I was talking to my fiancée about his parents. His father is, as usual, being unbearable and trying to martyr himself. His mother is up to her usual antics, and through her I have had a vicarious view of my future. I don’t like it. At all. I am overweight; I cannot deny this fact. This is only evidence that I have not taken care of myself physically the way I deserve. My fiancee’s mother had knee surgery over a year ago. I was not aware she was diabetic, but I did know she was not doing her physical therapy, taking her medications or eating properly. All of these are contributing factors to the state in which she now finds herself. She can barely walk without becoming completely exhausted within about twenty feet or so. Her age does contribute some (she is 72, I believe) but more importantly her overall health is atrocious, so her body is not able to repair itself the way it should. In spite of all this, she continues to lead a completely sedentary, almost catatonic lifestyle, where she sits in her recliner (with her feet up, which is contributing to neuropathy in her feet caused by the diabetes) and eats high-carb processed foods all day, such as Pringles, cookies, and brand-name popcorn. These foods contain not only high carbohydrates and sugars, but tons of artificial preservatives and flavor enhancers. While I may not have a defeatist attitude about life, I also find myself buying many processed foods because I (mistakenly) thought they were a cheaper alternative, but more on that in a bit.
To see what she is putting herself and her family through is hell for me. She has two wonderful sons that lover her very much and a husband that denies there is anything wrong, I think partially because he can’t stand the thought of being alone after forty years of marriage. To see what she has done to herself is even worse, because I know that if I refuse to change my ways, I am also headed for the same fate. My fiancee is constantly at odds with her, trying to get her to eat better, more wholesome foods. She, of course, refuses since she is eating the same things she always has.
His parents also do all, and I mean literally all, of their grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. As if the foods they buy are not bad enough, they choose to buy them from a place notorious for cheap quality products because they have fallen into the media hype about Wal-Mart being the low price leader. Once upon a very long time ago, that may have been true, when Sam Walton was still alive and Wal-Mart stood for quality without higher prices. The corporation once supported local businesses and US manufacturers rather than running them out of the area and worked to give their employees and customers the best they could at affordable prices. Today, with few exceptions, their prices are lower by only a few pennies per purchase unit, just so they can claim to still have the lowest price. Their prices on food are now comparable if not more than most grocery stores, and their quality is beyond terrible, but many people still have that “low-price leader” campaign stuck in their heads, so they do not comparison shop.
On top of all this, his parents also eat out at least once a day at a fast food restaurant (usually Bojangle’s or some other deep-fried food chain.) After having a lengthy discussion with him about his parents’ shopping and eating habits, I decided it was time for a change. I have decided it is time I practice what I preach. The reason I have not bought organic foods in the past is because I was under the impression that it was more expensive. With income like mine, penny-pinching really is a necessity. I decided Tuesday it was worth the sacrifice, though, and walked into the local organic food market for the first time in probably over a year. What I found there shocked me to my core. First, the prices are really not that much higher, less than a dollar a pound more on meats, and in the case of whole chickens they are actually two to three dollars less. There are some items that are more, such as gluten free breads, but there are plenty of alternatives and honestly, as a society, we eat too much bread anyway. What makes my wallet even happier is the fact that, in addition to competitive prices, this particular market also offers some great coupons and deals on their merchandise. For instance, just for signing up for their program, I received a coupon that allowed me to buy all organic peanut butter, jelly, cookies, apple sauce and crackers for only a dollar each. I also received a coupon for a free chicken or a free six pack of veggie burgers for providing my email. There are weekly coupons and deals, but the daily coupons are even better. I have received $5 off a purchase of $25 or more, two free organic pineapples with a $10 purchase, and $5 off an organic spiral cut honey-glazed ham. With all of the coupons they offer to encourage people to eat organic, I actually come out spending less money for more and better food.
As if that weren’t enough, I have been eating organic foods for the last five days (minus last night…I slipped up and ate pizza from Papa John’s because I had a free one and less than $2 in my bank account) and I have found that I can eat much less food (less by about half) and feel just as full and satisfied, if not more so. I also have more energy and feel healthier in general. I no longer get that heavy, leaden feeling after meals, and physically I can already feel a huge difference. Weaning myself off sodas has taken a little longer, but I have not had any for the last couple of days and, unlike in the past, I am not getting those terrible caffine withdrawal headaches. I also don’t really feel any cravings for caffine or processed sugars.
Food has always been a big part of my life, but that does not mean that I have to eat processed, unhealthy crap just because I can get a little more volume for my money. Quality over quantity really does have its advantages. I have also decided to somewhat repurpose my blog to describe my journey into this new phase of my life. Wish me luck!