June Experiment: No Packaged Foods

With farmer’s market bounties like this, do I really need the grocery store?

I live in Northern California and it is the height of the growing season.  Hence, the abundance of fresh produce is truly mind-boggling!  I’ve been hitting up my local farmer’s market twice a week, on Saturday morning and Tuesday evening.  In all seriousness, I can say I eat mostly vegetables and fruit.

There are other things I eat as well.  I eat plain whole milk organic yogurt for breakfast almost every day.  Mmm, with fresh fruit mixed in it is heavenly!  I eat cottage cheese as a snack most afternoons around 3 pm.  Then there are little things, like the kraut I sometimes put in my salads or the canned beans or tomatoes I use in cooking.  I put soy milk in my coffee, which I purchase at Starbucks generally.  I buy tortilla chips and crunch them up in my chili.  I buy Dave’s Killer Bread (so good).  The packaged products I buy are carefully chosen and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with consuming them.

But all this farmer’s marketing got me wondering if I could get by without any labelled food at all- like nothing with a brand name on it.  No boxes, cans or packages.  If I’m going to try it, now is the time- while the farmer’s market is in full swing.  It’s been awhile since I did anything outside my comfort zone and this sounds like a fun thing to try, so here’s what I’m proposing:

No Packaged Food In June

1. No food with a label on it.  This means, I will stick to pretty much all fresh produce, supplemented with some things from the bulk bins at Whole foods (grains, nuts, and dried beans, etc)

2. I will allow myself to use the things in my spice cabinet.  So that means, I will still use my spices, salt and pepper, and oils and vinegar that I already have.  But if I buy more of any of these items, I will find it at the farmer’s market or go without.

3. I will keep track of the cost and take pictures of what I eat.  I’ll do this as thoroughly as possible for my readers.

4. There are some prepared foods at the farmer’s market.  These are on the table, though I will make an attempt to stay away as much as possible :)

5. I reserve the right to take a break from this experiment if I go out to eat, which doesn’t happen more than a few times a month.

I posted about this on my Facebook page and it was pretty interesting to see people’s reactions.  Some said “That’s crazy and sounds like no fun.”  Some said “I eat that way already.”  Then others started naming it “Oh, it’s the 80-10-10 diet!” or “Oh, that’s called Clean Eating” or “Oh, you should do Raw Vegan!”

I’m adamantly anti- Diets With Names.  Why?  Because then there are rules made up by someone else and a whole army of people just waiting to tell me I’m Doing It Wrong.  They almost made me not want to do this by trying to put a name on it.  No, I am not eating frozen chicken and brown rice (I don’t eat meat).  No, I am not eating all fruit.  No, I am not giving up cooking.  No, I am not a vegan.

I’m just doing a little experiment to see how I fare without any packaged foods.

Stay tuned for updates.  Who wants to join me?

17 thoughts on “June Experiment: No Packaged Foods

  1. I am going to sit on this for a week and see how I feel about it and just how much we eat packaged. We are not vegetarian so we would have to drive a while to get our meat from a slaughter house and I’d have to find out where to get milk and cheese as I have small children who love it. I’ll continue to think about this and let you know the decision.

  2. I think that is an awesome idea! I have been trying to visit my local farmers’ markets as much as possible. I envy you living in CA :)

    Will enjoy reading your posts about it!

  3. I’ll join you as much as I can. Hubby likes to buy in bulk and often complains about our food budget because I buy good, healthful food. I’m still trying to eat even better, so this will be a good opportunity to do so.
    I’ll keep track of it in my daytimer. I already track my weight (I’m with you on that one – have to weigh myself – fully accepting the daily fluctuations) and what I eat on a daily basis. Looking forward to doing this.

  4. This sounds really interesting – I have tried to reduce the processed food I get a lot but think I would find this impossible right now with the kids around. Well not impossible but like a full time job!!! I am definitely moving this way though and will be really interested to see how you get on! Good luck :-)

  5. That is an amazing challenge that your body will love you for! I have been on this challenge myself for the last 5 weeks..had some slip ups but overall doing much better than I had in the past! Good Luck :)

  6. sounds good! i’ve been in Davis, CA for 7 years now (having grown up in St. Louis)–and access to beautiful & affordable produce is one of the very top reasons we want to stay put. we are so incredibly lucky to live here.

  7. So I have been 100% with the no packages food with the exception of one dinner out a local restaurant (which I don’t really count since they listed the farm where the turnips were grown on the menu). Borderline items – eggs from farmer’s market, some whole wheat pasta from same market and now tonight some wine I picked up at a local winery in the winter. Been a long week – I was at that farm!!

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  11. This sounds very interesting. I may start it for August because all of our fresh produce is at peak then. I would have to do the meat at the store because I try to buy in bulk to save some money, but I should start going to the farmers market to get some of the things that I could get at the store. I believe its cheaper at the farmers market as well. I’m looking forward to this.

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