Note: I just posted an Article proposing a strategy to help shop more effectively. I tried to finish the Article earlier in the week, but alas, I struggled, and posted days later than I had hoped. I'm still finding my footing with this Blogging thing, and feel like I am juggling so much right now. Not an excuse, just giving you some insight into my creative process, which is probably more like an excruciating process than creative :-)
Anyway - the reason for my difficulties was that I tried to work in a concept about "giving ourselves permission to be perfectly imperfect." This is a core principle of the Realistic FoodEs philosophy, so I wanted to introduce the concept early on. But as I kept kneading the Article, I realized that what I really needed was to pull this particular concept out. Keeping it in distracted from the purpose of the Article - to provide a strategy to shop for Real Food.
So while I deleted the Perfectly Im-Perfect portion from the Article, I decided to save it for this week's Food For Thought Friday posting. So here it is. And if you read the Article (link is below) you'll notice that some threads of these ideas did find their way into the Article. Just not within this same context. Enjoy!
I started my Real Food journey trying so hard to execute a perfect plan. I researched recipes and crafted delicious weekly meal plans and masterful shopping lists. But you know that old adage ‘the best laid plans oft go awry’? Well True That many times over!
I don’t think I ever left the store with a completed list. Food items were not available or not in season or too expensive or didn’t look appetizing or for whatever other reasons, I still had items on my list. So all that time spent researching and crafting the perfect list was – Wasted ✔
Instead I was forced to come up with a Plan B that was essentially a frantic mess. I usually bought more food than needed. Real Food is fresher, less shelf stable, and has expiration dates. And because we couldn't eat that much food, I ended up throwing out what wilted. I hate wasting food. It’s socially irresponsible and a waste of time (spent shopping) and money – Wasted ✔
Soooooo very frustrating! And these experiences fostered doubts about whether this Real Food thing was going to work – was it even possible??
Fortunately I didn’t give up. And eventually realize that I should change my approach to planning and shopping. I stopped trying to be perfect :-)
All those recipes and meal plans and shopping lists were great resources, but only examples and not the standards by which I should be measuring myself. Useful tools from which to glean ideas, not exactitude.
I didn’t need to arm myself with perfect meal plans and shopping lists when I went to the store. Instead, I developed a strategy based on buying Real Food ingredients that fit within my budget and knew I could use before spoiling. Rather than choosing recipes first, I researched them during the week. Finding ones that used ingredients I had and knew could be prepared within my available timeframe. This process, in turn, lead to the Recipe Improv concept of Freestyle Cooking.
Stress, frustration, confusion – these were a few barriers that I encountered on my quest to Get Real. "Giving myself Permission to have a Perfectly im-Perfect Plan" relieved me of these burdens and was a key ingredient to my Real Food success. So I want to share this philosophy with you right from the start (and will be a recurring theme in many Postings).
Shopping, Meal Planning, Time Management, Cooking, Budgeting – these are all skills. And like most skills will take time to learn and a lifetime to hone. So keep trying, but do so with patience and finding what works best for you. Slowly but surely you will get there.
Post Script: Have you have been struggling with your Real Food journey? Try giving yourself permission to be perfectly imperfect and see if it helps you find your way. Post Comments to let us know your perfectly imperfect story!