How to Break Up With Your Supermarket

Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Farming, Food, Drink & Nutrition, Health with 0 Comments

Daisy Luther | Activist Post 

Back in the beginning of your relationship, it seemed like the supermarket had so much to offer.  The produce sparkled under the fluorescent lights. The colorful packages were inviting and said all of the right things. The meat was all tidily wrapped up in plastic and styrofoam, with nary a drip in sight.

Then one day, you woke up and the honeymoon was over. Like any dysfunctional relationship, as you got to know the grocery store better, you learned that things weren’t as great as they’d seemed in the beginning. In fact, you’d been misled – the things you thought were healthy weren’t really healthy at all.  It was all a lie – most of what the store was selling you wasn’t even actually food. You realized that this relationship was hard on your wallet, it was high maintenance, and it was unhealthy.

But by the time you realized this, you were in too deep and there was no way out of it. So you stuck with it, grudgingly maintaining the relationship, thinking maybe there was something better out there, but not quite sure how to take the leap.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be stuck in this dead-end partnership forever.

How do you leave this dysfunctional relationship?

As anyone who has ever left a co-dependent, unhealthy relationship can tell you, breaking up is hard to do.  You are getting rid of an established routine and embarking on something entirely new.  Even when a relationship was bad, you pretty much knew what to expect from the other party.  By freeing yourself, you were leaping into the unknown.

But sometimes you just have to take the leap.

It is time to refocus your energy on growing as much of your own food as possible, and relying on local farmers for the rest of it. Instead of living a life of dependency – on the grid, the transportation system, the presence of instant food, and the efforts of someone else providing the food for you – it’s time to embark on a journey towards self-sufficiency.  The supermarket is a fairly recent creation; and since the world’s population has survived for thousands of years, generation after generation, before grocery stores, it’s a pretty safe bet we that choose to do so can live without them in the future too, if we are willing to put forth the effort.

If you want to break up with your supermarket, you can’t expect your life to be exactly the same as it was before the parting of ways. If you want it to be exactly the same, you might as well keep  pushing your cart through those brightly lit aisles.  If you are going to take the leap, you have to expect things to be different, and you have to embrace it.

Based on the current North American diet, anyone without many, many acres of farmland in a tropical region won’t be able to eat the same stuff they were getting from the stores.

For example: It takes about 10 square feet to grow enough wheat to result in a pound of flour.  10 square feet of garden space will get you one loaf of bread. The North American diet is highly grain-based, and grains may not be the most practical choice if you have limited space and resources.

Here’s another example: “The most popular fresh fruits in the United States are (in order): Bananas, apples, oranges, grapes and strawberries.” (source) Most of us don’t have a banana tree and an orange tree in the backyard.  Apples are not outside the realm of possibility. Grapes and strawberries are seasonal.  Thus, if you are breaking up with your supermarket, you simply aren’t going to be able to consume these every week of the year.

But take heart – this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to provide yourself with most of your food. The best approach to self-sufficiency is to adjust yourself to a more local diet.  If you live in an area where wheat fields abound, and you know you can purchase directly from the farmer, then you can by all means, continue eating bread and pasta on a daily basis.

For most of us, though, this is hardly practical. It might be time to consider revamping your family’s diet so that you can focus on a healthy, self-sufficient lifestyle with food you know you can trust.

What will you eat if you give up the grocery store?

Your menus are going to change, and for the better.  For a starting point, look at ancestral diets.

“Paleo” and “Primal” are two buzzwords in the nutrition and weight loss community that have some excellent potential for those seeking a more self-sufficient lifestyle. So what are these plans, exactly?

  • The Paleo diet focuses on anything you might “find” as a hunter/gatherer: meat, fish, nuts, greens, local veggies, fruits, and seeds.
  • The Primal diet extends the above to include regular consumption of healthy fats, particularly eggs, dairy, and healthy oils.

In our household, as we’ve become more intent on producing our own food, we’ve naturally fallen into more of a primal diet lifestyle.  While I’m not necessarily recommending strict adherence to a “diet” or a set of “rules”, what I am suggesting is that you change your family lifestyle to revolve around foods that can be produced close to home. As prices go up and nutrition goes down, you really need to think about how you can provide as much of your own food as possible. A wonderful side effect is an improvement to your health and quite possibly, the loss of those last few pounds you may have been struggling with.

People often ask me, “If you don’t shop at the grocery store, what do you eat?”  Because of a relocation we were unable to grow a huge garden last year so we did most of our shopping at a farm less than a mile down the road and the local Co-op. Our family diet includes lots of the following:

  • Locally sourced meat and poultry
  • Game
  • Eggs
  • Local fruits and vegetables
  • Coconut oil (not local – this is one of the staples I buy in bulk)
  • Raw milk
  • Cheese
  • Honey

We supplement a few times a week with:

  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • rice
  • quinoa

There really is a lot of simplicity with a local diet.  The Internet abounds with paleo and primal websites loaded with recipes and ideas, many of them absolutely pure and delicious.  The thing is, just like I recommended with a gluten-free diet, you have to let go of the way you eat now. If you go and buy highly processed substitutes for the food you eat right now, you aren’t doing your body or your budget any favors. If you’re going to do that, you really shouldn’t even bother making a change like this.

Here’s an example: 3 packs of paleo lasagna noodles for $55. That’s right: FIFTY FIVE DOLLARS.  Are you kidding me? I’d either live without lasagna, suck it up and eat regular wheat and endure the resulting bellyache, or make this fantastic eggplant lasagna with produce from my garden and homemade cottage cheese.

Keep reading for FAQ about going splitsville

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