Monday, December 6, 2010

Bountiful Baskets

I've always been a pretty healthy eater. My mom was good about putting carrot sticks and apples into our lunches and serving veggies for dinner. We also had a few gardens and citrus trees while I was growing up, so nature's bounty was never hard to come by.

However, I've been both blessed and cursed: I'm skinny. Yep, I come from a long line of thin people. Dill also inherited the skinny genes. This is both a blessing and a curse because when thinness is on your side, you can eat whatever you want. So, that's exactly what you tend to do.

I spent 18 years eating a pretty balanced diet. Then, I went to college. Then, I got married. Then, I had to figure out how to study, do homework, go to work, clean my house, fulfill my church responsibilities and spend time with my new husband on a very tight budget. That left little time for home-cooked meals.

(Let's just say, we lived about a block from Taco Bell and we really grew to love chalupas. Oh, yes.)

I knew we could eat Ramen noodles, mac-n-cheese, Taco Bell, McDonald's, Little Caesar's Hot-N-Ready and vending machine products (curse you, Grandma B's pink sugar cookies!) and we'd remain virtually unscathed. At least, from the outside. And you know, time is money, so that's how I ate -- WE ate -- while we tried to juggle way too many of life's balls.

(Oy, that sounds kind of kinky. Maybe I'll rework that.)

(Or maybe I'll leave it.)

Don't worry -- we ate SOME healthy foods. Just not as much as I was used to. Not even close.

Then, we had Bubby.

Your mindset about food really changes when you are suddenly in charge of what's going into another person's body. Especially your own offspring's body. Bubby ate only formula for the first 5 months of life, and then it was time to start real food. Suddenly, grocery shopping wasn't as easy as throwing random food-stuffs into the cart and going on my merry way. I had to think about what was going into that cart. Was it full of additives? Was it whole? Was it natural? Because yeah, as much as I loved chalupas, I didn't want my baby to eat them. I wanted her to thrive and grow.

From that point, I started buying a lot more fresh produce and less canned/packaged/premade/fast food stuff for our family. Dill was a little (OK, a lot) disappointed by this. But during the past 3 years as our diet has morphed from white, sweet and refined to leafy and colorful, he's grown to appreciate and even like fruits and vegetables. And for those who know him, that's kind of a miracle.

Since fruits and veggies have become an even more regular part of our diet, I've decided to participate in Bountiful Baskets. This ingenious concept is a food co-op which makes it super-easy and cheap to buy fresh, local produce. At the beginning of the week, you log onto the BB site and see if there are any offerings in your area (offerings are basically the baskets). You find one close to you and contribute $15 ($25 if you want organic produce) via credit card.

That Saturday, you drive to your pick-up spot at the designated time (don't be late or your food will be donated!) and get your basket, which contains six in-season fruits and six in-season vegetables. Before I participated for the first time, I had no idea what that meant. Basically, it's 1--3 pounds of each food.

Here's a picture of what I got for my first basket, in case you're still confused:

Persimmons, Fuji apples, cherry tomatoes, Asian pears, Bosch pears, black grapes, bananas, green beans, cauliflower, 5 lb bag of potatoes, Brussels sprouts, collard greens.

Quite a bit, if I do say so myself! They also have other add-ons you can purchase for extra, like citrus packs, apple cases, breads and granola.

There are some drawbacks to this program. First, to quote Forrest Gump: "You never know what you're gonna get." If you're picky, you will hate this aspect of it. However, you can sometimes guess what might be in the basket based on what's in season and what's on sale at the grocery stores that week.

The other possible downside is the sheer amount of produce you get. Unless you have a big family or eat a lot of raw food, you're probably not going to finish all of it before it goes bad. The good news is, most people will be happy to take the excess off your hands. Take some to a neighbor or family member as an act of kindness. It never hurts to spread healthy food around! And if you find it's just too much, you don't have to contribute every week. Or ever again, even.

If you want to participate in Bountiful Baskets and would like more information, visit the site here. This is such a great cause, I can't help but support it. Even if you think it's not for you, it doesn't hurt to try it once.

1 comment:

  1. I am in love with my Bountiful Baskets I get. I have been sharing one with my SIL right now while things are busy around here and I don't get to using mine all up.

    Or I just dump stuff into a green smoothie and call it good!


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