Before I moved to Montana, I was all about convenience, especially in terms of food. I loved my prepackaged, ready-to-eat, microwavable food…my baby carrots, canned soup, Stouffer’s frozen entrees, salad in a bag, and fast food. I have a tendency towards lazy, so these products were definitely worth it. And please, don’t misunderstand–these products have their place. But I chose the convenience because it was easy and I am lazy–not because of a fast-paced, action-packed lifestyle.
When I moved to Montana, my husband couldn’t believe some of my habits. He couldn’t understand why I would buy baby carrots when I could simply cut up “real ones”. Why buy frozen pizza when you could make one? Salad in a bag? Really? He’s right, of course, although he has come to realize that it is okay to use these products occasionally.
What’s crazy is that after living here for 15 years, I’ve realized that I don’t want to eat that way anymore. Part of it has to do with my friends here. This part of Montana has a substantial population of people who want to live simply, eat freshly, and exist self-sufficiently. They are outdoor enthusiasts, protectors of the environment, and overall, just well-read, intelligent people. A little bit “hippie”, a little bit “granola” and altogether awesome. I’m not quite there yet–I am still guilty of using Miracle Gro on my flowers (but not my vegetables) and wearing make-up. I occasionally throw recyclables out. But I’m working on it.
I find great satisfaction when I look at my cubby of “put-up” salsa and pickles, or when I pull spaghetti sauce I made in the fall from the freezer. I smile a little inside when I use our freezer jam. Nothing tastes better than carrots I pulled from the ground or grape tomatoes still warm from the sun. It seems silly to me to use soup out of a can when it is so easy to make (although my boys do love canned chicken noodle) The elk that Eric provided is more delicious than almost any other type of meat (except bacon). Our milk comes from the creamery down the road. When our garage is finished, I want to start raising chickens for eggs, perhaps in cooperation with our neighbors.
I am becoming much more cognizant of the various preservatives and additives in our grocery store food, and interested in finding ways to avoid them.
I’m not perfect about this, and I don’t want to be preachy. I’m not a health nut (not that there is anything wrong with that), nor a purist–I still love my Cheez-its and Skittles, cheddar cheese popcorn and McDonald’s french fries. My boys eat Chef Boyardee Ravioli. But I find pleasure in the knowledge that I am trying to be a healthier person, and provide some healthier options for my family.