Archive | March, 2012

Going to the city on the island sea…

12 Mar

As the year progresses, I still haven’t managed to have a full conversion to my Mindful Eating rules. This has a single reason: I’ve decided to move. With the prospect of moving at the end of March came the pre-moving madness of trying to use up all the food in my freezer and pantry, in order to save myself the trouble of lugging it all across the strait to Victoria. Even this so-called inconvenience, though, has its place in the exercise of mindful eating. It trains me in the ancient and wonderful art of make-do, which is pretty much lost in the western world (with the exception of rural areas) where we are used to the I-want-it-and-I-want-it-now mentality. No sour cream for the tacos? Well, I could go to the store and get a tub which I likely won’t be able to finish… or I could make a hummus dip from the giant bag of dried chickpeas on my shelf and use that instead of the sour cream. (How is it that we’re always too lazy to homemake the hummus and never too lazy to go to the store to get the sour cream anyway?) Long story short, with the exception of the occasional bit of dairy and my morning coffee, I haven’t eaten anything organic in a couple of weeks. On the upside, once I move to Victoria, I’ll have to start the odyssey from scratch and get EVERYTHING organic, which will give me a much better idea about the financial feasibility of this project.

So far, in terms of cost, my greatest challenge is still dairy, which makes it the most-appreciated set of items on my grocery list. Milk, cheese and butter are no longer “commodities”, they are treats. Apart from the tablespoon of milk in my morning coffee, I allow myself the very occasional cup of hot milk with instant coffee or hot chocolate, which I savor like I never have. I nearly never use it for baking any more, and when I do, I tend to dilute it with water. Cheese is a treasure, which I realize is a lesson I had learned as a kid growing up in Turkey where cheese is easily available but never cheap. I had only forgotten it since I moved to the country of two-pound blocks of cheddar. Gone are those days once again, and the little bricks of organic mozzarella I buy for “obscene” prices (I tell myself that this is the real price of real cheese, which is true) are sliced thin and enjoyed with a new appreciation. Likewise for butter- once again a lesson I’ve learned before, on the coast of Newfoundland where it’s still considered a luxury by the old fashioned Newfies, even though the island accessible enough by commercial freighters these days to make the price of butter comparable to the rest of the country.

I looked into getting soy cheese to cut down the costs, but the only brands in the stores here are non-organic, meaning they are likely made from genetically-modified soy. (Not to mention that ALL of them contain casein- milk protein, which I wonder if the local vegans are aware of.) I’ll have to check out the stores in Victoria as well once I get there.

With the impending move ahead of me, also are gone the days of the organic veggie delivery service, which I miss sorely. For a few blissful months, every other Tuesday was like Christmas, coming home to a surprise box full of who knew what. Twice I ended up with a cauliflower head, by far my least favorite vegetable as a kid, mainly due to its white color. Two casseroles later it’s still not my favorite, but quite decent really. I know for a fact that similar services exist in Victoria, but I hear they are more expensive than the grocery stores, using the convenience of delivery as a selling point. Shame.

So far, I’ve found the Sunshine Coast pretty limiting (despite the size of the local health-conscious, environmentally-conscious hippie population) in terms of organic products in general. Sure, in the summer, local organic produce is easy to find (though not cheap, which is fine, the local small farmers have to make a living too). But outside of the three-month harvest season, it’s pretty restrictive. I might have better luck in Victoria, since it’s actually a city. Here are a list of items which I can’t get organic for the life of me. Once I move, I’ll have to go through the list to see if any of them are available in Victoria.

–          powdered milk (I still need it for homemade granola bars)

–          ANY kind of nuts (believe it or not)

–          Potato chips (ok, you’re right, I don’t need chips, and nobody should be eating this stuff anyway. And honestly, until last week, I hadn’t even thought about chips for literally years. Then PMS hit, and the hormone-laden monster inside of me wanted a sacrifice of crisped potatoes. After going through every grocery store in the area, I gave in and bought a pack of “all-natural” kettle chips, which is most certainly not organic. It was an act of self-preservation, which I hope not to have to repeat.)

–          Dried beans, peas, chickpeas (with the exception of overpriced red lentils at the health store, which are imported from Turkey of all places. Canned organic beans/peas/chickpeas are available, but are grossly overpriced and come with canning preservatives.)

–          Bread (I kid you not. Good thing I make my own.)

–          Any other pastry (bagels, English muffins, croissants, cookies, etc.)

–          Sandwich meats (no surprise there).

–          Oil (organic sunflower, soy or canola oil is not available. Organic olive oil is available at ridiculous prices, and is currently being treated on the same preciousness scale as butter.)

–          Soy cheese (as mentioned before)

–          Instant coffee (I like to use this as a milk flavouring, mainly as a treat. A leftover habit from my Turkish teen-hood, when the only choices for caffeine were Nescafe or thick and bitter Turkish coffee. I do know that organic fair trade instant coffee exists, as I used to get it in Ontario, and I’d be willing to pay for a small overpriced jar since it’ll probably last me for a year or more.)

 

And this is the end of my completely scattered thoughts and ramblings for the day… To be continued, once I have any further self-discoveries and ponderings to share.

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