We’ve been enjoying the holidays and the few extra days off work it gives us by by having lots of family visiting, by getting together with neighbors and friends, and even by going on an all-day drive. We got a GPS for Christmas and decided to take it for a test run by heading to north(ish) Alabama for the day. Mostly, we just drove on some back roads and saw cute little towns and houses, but we did manage to sneak in a visit to a covered bridge in Oneonta, Ala.
Pardon the picture quality. The sun was starting to set, and these were taken with Ed’s iPod Touch.
We couldn’t drive over it (thank goodness), but we were able to enjoy a short walk around it. There was a nice trail down to the water below, and even a little picnic area nearby. This was just a stop on the road, so we just snapped a few pictures and kept on going.
Isn’t it romantic and quaint?
While we were on the road, we talked over our new year’s resolutions. Unlike some people, we take these pretty seriously and try to stick to them all year, and even carry them to other years if we want. Three years ago, we gave up aspartame/fake sugar. Two years ago, we gave up eating land animals that are farmed conventionally and beer products owned by Budweiser (long story, we’re happy to share). Last year, we gave up eating practically all animals, including fish, that aren’t hunted/caught by someone we know and trust (we’ll be happy to discuss the few exceptions if anyone’s interested).
Notice a pattern? Yeah, we’re kind of nutso about food/health resolutions.
Perhaps I should back up. We certainly aren’t poster children for skinny purity. We enjoy our fair share of wine/beer/spirits, and we’ve been known to devour bags of potato chips, Rotel cheese dip, and plenty of other goodies properly deemed “junk food” on more-than-rare occasions. And I could definitely stand to lose a few pounds. But we try to make the best food choices we can (for ourselves, for others, and for Mother Nature) on the whole.
We already buy our eggs, milk, butter, and most cheese either locally or from farmers we trust, so that was out. We try to avoid hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup as much as possible, but giving both up completely would be nearly impossible, especially if we plan to go to restaurants (and we do — see below). We make our own bread products and buy our bagels from a local shop that doesn’t use preservatives. We shop at the farmers market and are members of a CSA, so most of our vegetables are grown locally. We were at a loss. What would we do?! Had we reached perfection? Ha, hardly.
In the past, our food choices have been largely based on ethical concerns about food production and health (not weight loss, health). We wanted to resolve to do something that would honor those same convictions, but broad generalizations like “be healthier” or “eat better” weren’t going to cut it. If you can’t measure it, you won’t keep it, I say. Everything needs a number or measurable standard. Either you cut it out completely, or you decide a particular amount you can have.
So we decided to limit our out-to-eat ventures each week. We both love to cook, but we also love going to local restaurants for drinks and appetizers, lunch, brunch, etc. We like to go out with friends, and that usually means going out to eat. Due to our only-eat-what-is-hunted-or-caught-by-someone-we-know-and-trust stance, we eat vegetarian dishes at restaurants and dinner parties. Friends usually whip us up some amazing stuffed acorn squash or delicious pasta dish, but our options at restaurants (in small Southern towns like ours) are often limited to cheesey dishes, fried food, or a Boca burger. This last option sometimes tastes like cardboard, which we’re not so into. None of these options is particularly healthy, and rarely are they as tasty as the vegetarian food we make at home.
So we’re going to limit our out-to-eat ventures, including “going out to drinks,” to no more than two times/week together and two times/week separate with friends. That means that we will only eat out a maximum of four times per week (each), for a total of six outings. And I’m not talking four times going out to dinner, ordering drinks and main courses. If I walk up the road and grab a bagel sandwich on my lunch break, that counts. Or if I meet a friend for a glass of wine after work, that counts. It’ll add up fast. But we think it will be good, and it’s something we can measure.
But enough about our food resolution. Here are a few others we thought we’d share with you:
2012 RESOLUTIONS (in no particular order)
- Eat out no more than four times a week, twice together and twice apart
- Only buy a book if you can’t find it at the library (just Kristen)
- Correct basement flooding problem (most likely, have a sump pump installed)
- Learn to successfully fish, so we can start eating fish again
We have a few others but these are the biggies. And they’re all measurable. Well, the last one is a bit general with that word “successfully,” but if we catch a fish, clean it, and eat it, I think we can call ourselves successful.
There you have it. Our plan for 2012. Buy fewer books, eat out less, learn a new activity, and fix a problem with the house. Surely we can handle that for 12 months. This will be our last post of 2011, so we hope everyone has a safe holiday weekend, and we’ll see you in 2012.