Sunday, August 30, 2009

7 Day Challenge Complete!

Before I write about how successful this 7 day challenge was, I have a confession. On the last day, I cheated. No, I didn't eat any of this glorious looking meat you see from the "Meatapalooza" event on Saturday (none of it was organic). But after a few hours watching everyone else eat ... and with just a few hours before the official end of the challenge, I ate a non-organic brownie and a piece of corn bread (fueled probably, by the organic wine I was drinking). Before passing judgment, know that I was STARVING. So ... full disclosure on that one.

Aside from the chocolate mishap, I really stuck to my rules on this one. 7 full days and everything I ate or drank was local (within the 5-state region) and, if not USDA certified organic, grown or raised with sustainable farming practices and without pesticides or chemicals. And I had more fun doing it than I would have thought! I enjoyed the conversations I had with the workers at the Birchwood Cafe or McDonald's liquor store when I asked them to point out the local, organic stuff. But I especially liked how much this challenge made me focus on what I eat and where it comes from. Never before have I read food labels so intensely (and to the chagrin of grocery store customers behind my slow-moving cart) and had so limited a choice in what I ate. Over the course of the week, I tried organic beer from Wisconsin, grass-fed pork from Minnesota, and gigantic juicy tomatoes grown right here in the metro area; all things I plan on consuming again (but the organic wine has a ways to go). So to sum up:

Eat only local and organic food for one week
Nearly 100% (who would have thought a meat-smoking party would be my undoing?)
We normally spend a little under $100 a week on groceries, plus an extra $20-40 on restaurants/lunch spots. This week, we spent a little over $100 on groceries, plus an extra $50 on restaurants/lunch spots.
Somewhat. I never felt I needed to cancel plans or restrict what I did. But planning meals ahead of time was crucial. And certain situations proved challenging, like having to say no when my husband wanted to open a bottle of non-organic wine, and avoiding all things fried at the State Fair.
The debate over the government-approved label "organic" is more intense and heated than I realized.
Eating food that you know where it came from gives a certain pleasure to a meal I've never experienced before.
I won't continue to eat only local or organic foods - it's simply too limiting at this point. But the super-processed foods that were often a staple of my lunches at work or my late-night snacks are a thing of the past. So no more Spaghetti-O's or trans-fat filled microwave dinners.
And we will definitely be cooking from scratch more with fresh produce - that was the most rewarding part of this week!



  1. Hi Paige- I've enjoyed your blogging about your challenges! I also read that book and it surely got me thinking.

    Everything in moderation, right? At least that is what we tell ourselves!

    Hope all is well,