I have decided I need to cook my meals from scratch more often. In fact it should be what I mostly do. There are a bunch of reasons for this, but the thing that really set me off was taking a really close look at my finances. I was spending a ridiculous amount of money eating out, and I have debts I want to pay off, but instead I was slowly creeping further and further into the red. So I needed to stop eating lunch at a cafe every day and eating dinner out several times a week.
And of course when I wasn’t eating out, I was eating terrible food that wasn’t great for my overall nutrition. It’s ridiculous really – I’m the kind of person who reads about ideal nutrition. I know what I’m supposed to eat. I have informed opinions on the pros and cons of various fad diets and I am all over the idea that I should not live on carbs and cheese and should in fact eat a balanced diet involving loads of vegetables and whole grains and so forth. You would think, being a long time vegetarian would mean my diet is super healthy, but actually, no, here is a dirty secret of vegetarianism – it is possible to live on cheesy carbs and other junk without eating meat – especially for those of us who still eat dairy. Vegetarianism isn’t a magic cure for a bad diet.
So anyway, the nutrition thing is something I’ve always had good intentions about, but rarely fulfilled. When I ate out I was eating mostly OK in terms of having a balanced diet (though of course restaurants apparently use more fat and sugar and salt than we might realise or use at home – because those things are delicious) but when I ate at home it was embarrassingly bad. Cereal levels of bad.
And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with eating cereal as part of a balanced diet, key words part of, but eating it often for more than one meal a day is really just an attempt to shove calories in your face to make the hunger go away, with a food you know you like.
The other catalyst was an acquaintance talking about her decision to start eating mostly Soylent (the food replacement drink – google it for more) and finding myself intrigued. Intrigued mainly because it might be significantly more healthy than the way I was eating, and also easy and fairly affordable. But the reality is that while I was not actually cooking for myself, I do like eating and eating a varied and tasty and interesting diet and I think I would be horribly bored and depressed on Soylent.
So there I was, looking in dismay at graphs of my financial situation, and I resolved to stop living the way I was. Really stop. And I set myself a challenge – no crap meals or takeaway for a week. Tomorrow evening will make one week, so if I don’t fall off the wagon in the next 24 hours I will have done it. I have already decided to set myself a new challenge – no eating out at all for the rest of May, unless it’s for a special event I’m invited to by someone else. Lunch at work with my colleagues doesn’t count as a special event unless it’s someone’s birthday or something. Then in June I can add eating out back into my life in a controlled and reasonable way, as a special treat a couple times a month, and no more than once a week. Hopefully this will help me build positive habits and get momentum.