Giving Up Coffee, and Other Nonrandom Sunday Thoughts

As you already know if you follow me on Twitter, on Thursday I made the decision to stop drinking coffee!  Writing I Can’t Quit You, Coffee (and reading your mostly unsympathetic comments about it) motivated me to make the change.  Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is one of the most important personal goals I have, and I believe that [Coffee heart photo]drinking coffee every day is not supportive of that goal.  When I’ve tried in the past to completely give up coffee, it hasn’t worked because I enjoy it so much.  Life isn’t all about getting yourself in shape to run 26.2 miles, and I have lots of intellectual needs and goals as well.  Going to Barnes & Noble on a Saturday and getting a cup of (caffeinated) coffee while I browse the new math, science, and gambling books is just too perfect an experience to never have again.  So that’s why with this new commitment to give up coffee, I’m allowing myself one morning of caffeinated bliss each week.  It’s so much more blissful when it’s just once a week anyway.

So that’s the plan, and I expect you to hold me to it.  One great thing about writing this blog is that my commitments are broadcast to everyone I know, and to many that I don’t!  So breaking them makes me look like a real horse’s ass.  If you need to get leverage to make some changes in your life, just start a blog!

The Joy of Vegetarian Grocery Shopping

I went grocery shopping today and bought ingredients for the week’s meals, and as I was standing in the checkout line it occurred to me just how different our diet is than what most people are eating.  The woman behind me had some frozen fried jalapeno poppers, Kool-Aid popsicles, and lots of other processed stuff, the healthiest of which was some prepackaged deli turkey slices.  The most disturbing part to me is that her kids have to eat this way, and to grow up believing that it’s the “normal” way to eat.  I’m not criticizing, because it wasn’t all that long ago that my grocery basket looked like this (ok, save for the popsicles).  But something about standing in that line made crystal-clear the enormous discrepancy between these two ways of eating week in and week out.  If our bodies literally become what we put into them, then it should be no surprise that hers has become a pile of s***.

But eating this way is, of course, much more expensive than an ordinary diet.  Wrong!  Stop buying meat and your wallet will get swoll’ !  I spent 90 dollars at the store today and got enough food to feed myself and Erin for the entire week, buying mostly high-quality and organic groceries.  And it would be easy to make it even cheaper by skipping the organics, if thriftiness were your primary goal.  I realize that a grocery list isn’t exactly riveting blog content, but just this once I want to list every item I bought today, just to give those of you eating the “normal” diet a little extra boost:

  • carrots[Veggies photo]
  • red onions
  • oranges
  • apples
  • bananas
  • lemons
  • jalapeno
  • garlic
  • sweet potatoes
  • zucchini
  • portobello caps
  • cilantro
  • rosemary
  • frozen blueberries
  • frozen strawberries
  • frozen cherries
  • Trop 50 orange juice
  • chipotle salsa
  • organic popcorn
  • oat bran
  • Post Grape-Nuts
  • whole wheat couscous
  • organic rolled oats
  • La Brea whole grain bread
  • small-batch roasted decaf coffee
  • Wasa multigrain crispbreads
  • organic whole wheat fusilli pasta
  • lentils
  • Kitchen Basics vegetable stock
  • almonds
  • diced tomatoes
  • chickpeas
  • black beans

That’s it; nothing more, nothing less.  No fish this week, but that wasn’t by design.  We just happened not to pick any fish recipes.  In fact, it looks like this week’s diet is actually vegan.  Who knew?  And before you say that we can’t possibly making anything resembling a decent meal out of those ingredients, keep an open mind and check back during the week.  The black bean and sweet potato enchiladas I’ve been salivating about are up tonight!  And yesterday I made Patatas Bravas, a Spanish tapas-style dish, so one day this week I’ll put up two posts to make up for yesterday’s gaping hole in the post calender.



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  1. margaret says:

    Speaking of which…A few weeks ago at the grocery store a woman behind me was looking at my purchases waiting to be rung up. She said, “pretty healthy-guess if I lived with you I’d lose weight.” As she continued to look she added, “but I can’t say I’d be very excited about it.” I laughed. What could I say? I don’t think she would have believed that “healthy” food can be “exciting.”

  2. Wow! Wish I was eating at your house this week! I can’t wait to see the Patatas Bravas recipe. I’m still having a hard time- working at the deli during the day and then eating out at casual places that serve mostly fried food in the evening- to get good veggie food. But we do have a great veggie panini at Craven’s On the Bay at 45th Street in Ocean City. (I think that was a plug). We take two slices of Panera French Miche bread (main ingredient listed as unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), and on each slice add swiss cheese. Then we add lettuce, tomatoes, sweet chili peppers, feta cheese, olives, onion, cucumber and honey mustard. The honey mustard is a home-made mixture of mayo, honey, yellow mustard, grey poupon and parsley. Then we spray each side with a little Pam and grill in the panini grill. It’s delicious! Maybe even 5 cows out of 5??? I must be crazy!!! NOTHING has gotten 5 cows yet!

  3. Julie (greenteagirl) says:

    My husband I eat some fish but mostly vegetarian and most of our money is spent on organic produce but I don’t think it’s much more money than a regular meat eating family. Meat is very expensive!

    • I knew what meat cost and didn’t think it was all that much, but now that we don’t buy it I notice such a big difference in our grocery bill. It’s really nice to be able to buy organic produce with the extra money and not worry about “is it worth it”. I just think of it as replacing meat in the budget.

  4. I know a few people have mentioned it to you, but you should look more into Quinoa if you haven’t already. I love it, and it’s so versatile and also easy to prepare.

    The Whole Foods near me sells it in the bins, and Costco has a big bag of it you can buy.

    Happy eating, I love the blog!

    oh.. because i feel like you’re sharing so much info – My main man Mark Bittman has his book “How to Cook Everything” out as an iphone app. If you don’t have an iphone, buy the book. But if you want the app it’s cheap and searchable.

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