I have a lot of goals for 2010 from taking the GMAT to writing an e-book. I’m not going to get into all of these right now. I want to focus on my 2010 goals that are related to living more simply and sustainably so that everybody can have enough.
Before I describe these goals, I want to point out that there is an important difference between New Year’s resolutions and goals. I expect these goals to result in life-long habit changes. Hence, I don’t want to set goals that are so difficult that they are unsustainable. I also believe that goals should be achieved in stages. I don’t necessarily even have the end state clearly defined yet; I just know where I am headed and what my next several steps are. The exciting thing about living simply is that it is a journey that lasts a lifetime. There is always room for improvement and creativity.
Eat Real Food
Over the last year, I have become increasingly aware of the amount of “fake” food we consume. For example, the spongy extended shelf life (ESL) “Farmhouse” bread, the frozen soy mixture pretending to be ice cream (14 ingredients), the ingredient-dense Balance Bar with 23 different vitamins, and minestrone soup including “smoke flavor.” You can add crackers, chips, frozen meals, cookies, and many other foods to this list.
As I have started to decrease the amount of processed food and additives I consume, I have noticed that my body is feeling better. However, I know I can take it to the next level. My goal is to eat only real food. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it’s not completely black and white. I have decided on the following guidelines for myself:
- Don’t eat it if you don’t understand all the ingredients
- Don’t eat it if it has “natural” or artificial flavors added
- Don’t eat it if it has other questionable additives
Eat Local Food
The average plate of food in the US travels approximately 1500 miles. That’s a lot of gas and emissions. That’s a lot of money leaving the local economy. And that’s so completely unnecessary. When my mom was young, an orange was a special treat at Christmas time. When I was growing up in Sweden, we ate strawberries in June. These days, we can get strawberries in December and oranges in June. We expect that we can get any type of food whenever we want it. This is not the way of nature.
These are the fruits and vegetables that are currently in season in Wisconsin, where I live: apples, beets, cabbage, carrots, celery root, cranberries, garlic (thank God!), horseradish (not helpful), leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pears, pie pumpkin, rutabaga, radish, shallots, sweet potatoes, turnips, and winter squash. Quite a bit to choose from!
My goal in 2010 is to get to the point where I am buying only local and seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts, mushrooms, meat, eggs, and dairy. The items that are going to be most difficult to part with are: bananas (not sure I can do it), walnuts, and raisins. Wish me luck!
This is almost a prerequisite for me to be able to accomplish my other goals. I always say that I want to cook more, but when I get home from work, I’m exhausted and, since I haven’t planned our eating week, I have no idea what to cook. This is going to change in 2010. Rebecka and I have decided that we are going to try one new recipe every week. If we like it, we keep it. If not, we move on.
Here are some thoughts I have on making this a reality:
- Plan our food week prior to the weekly grocery run. This will ensure we have everything we need for our meals.
- Cook three times per week and make enough for leftovers. Leftovers rock!
- Learn how to cook with local vegetables like rutabaga and winter squash. Otherwise it’s tempting to just skip the veggies.
- Sit down to a beautifully set table with candles and dimmed lighting and enjoy!
What are your 2010 sustainability goals?