What worries you most?

-Are you concerned with Emergency Preparedness and having food on hand in case of emergencies?

-Are you concerned about eating non-GMO foods? What about ensuring your food is packaged in a gluten-free environment?

-Are you concerned about the amount of spoiled food that gets thrown out in your house?

-Are you concerned about eating healthy when you have little time to prep and cook food?

-Do you have seasonal income, and are concerned about your grocery bill when funds are low?

Which of the above are concerns for you? They are all concerns for me, to varying degrees, and THRIVE foods can help you with these concerns. I wish I could reach through the computer screen and give you a sample. You won’t believe how tasty it is until you actually try it! Let me know if you’d like me to send you a sample.  =)

Why Freeze-dried foods – Part two aka Food Storage

So, what is Food Storage? Well, it’s pretty self-explanatory so I guess the better question would be “Why store food?” CNN wrote an article last year stating that 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. See http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/pf/emergency-savings/  Some of you may have noticed that I’m not American, but Canadian. Apparently as recent as two years ago, 47% of Canadians were living paycheque to paycheque (notice the Canadian spelling? hehe.) Here’s a link to the Globe and Mail’s article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/household-finances/47-of-canadians-still-live-paycheque-to-paycheque/article4522904/  Please note: I’m not in any way insinuating that Canadians are better than Americans, merely pointing out that we have a problem with this too. And when I say “we”, I’m particularly saying “I” because that’s the plain truth, my husband and I live paycheque to paycheque.

Back to the Food Storage concern. In the nine years we’ve been married, we have had a couple of spells of financial woes. Once when my husband went back to school, and this year due to me needing to take time off work for health reasons. You may be surprised to learn that other than fresh fruits and milk, we haven’t really done any grocery shopping in the last two or three months. You see, we buy a lot of stuff in bulk, primarily at Costco. We started this when hubby went back to school, and I had to manage an extremely tight budget. We started shopping almost exclusively at Costco, calculator in hand. Once we reached our budget, if we wanted anything else to go in the cart, something had to come out first. It was an interesting exercise in self-discipline, to say the least. The first few months were tough, but as we started stockpiling (buying a case of soup rather than two cans, or a case of Kraft Dinner instead of a couple of boxes) this allowed us to build up a food reserve. We have pretty much maintained that habit ever since. So when the money flow slowed drastically a few months ago due to my health, we had a pantry full of canned stuff to rely on. This has pretty much saved us.

That being said, canned food isn’t really that healthy. It’s full of sodium for starters, which acts as a preservative. KD (Kraft Dinner, aka mac and cheese for my American readers) is not really that healthy for that matter. On the other hand, freeze-dried foods are extremely healthy. On average, they retain far more vitamins and nutrients than the fruits and vegetables you buy at the grocery store. If you shop at local farmers’ markets, well that’s a different story since they tend to pick their crops the same day or the day before. However, if you don’t eat or freeze your fresh fruits and veggies right away, they will start to lose all that nutritional goodness. I will talk more about nutrition in another post (after I massively edited this one since I veered off on a ‘health benefit’ tangent!) but what about the fruits and veggies you really like, that you can’t get from a farmer’s market? I’m a huge banana fan, so when I saw the Tale of Two Bananas, it really hit home. Check this out:

Tale of Two Bananas

Will I stop eating ‘fresh’ bananas from the grocery store? Noooo, I love bananas way too much! But the explanation above is equally valid for a ton of foods that you’re picking up at the supermarket. So I want to store extra food for “lean” times, but I want it to be healthy… AND practical. What does that mean? Well, I could buy stuff and freeze it right away to preserve nutrients. However, the problem is that my freezer space is somewhat limited. And we seem to lose power at least once every winter, sometimes for several hours. Do you remember the huge ice storm that hit this past December? It affected a number of Canadian provinces and American states. Over 300,000 people in the city of Toronto lost power. FOUR days later, 70,000 were still without power. No power = no freezer = no food if you’re relying on your summer haul of frozen fruits and veggies. I’m fortunate that the longest I’ve lost power during an outage is 12 hours, but there have been a couple of times I’ve been out of power for a few days due to human error. The first was a month after hubby and I got married. We’d just moved into a new rental house, and the electric company came by and determined that the meter was faulty and it was the owner’s responsibility to fix/replace it. Yeah, I moved into a hotel for three days while he got off his butt and did something about. Then, there was the time about four years ago when our refrigerator died. Same situation, slow landlord left us without a means to refrigerate food. Fortunately we also had a separate freezer that we were able to transfer the food to, but you can see how life can be so unpredictable and you can’t necessarily rely on just one source for your food needs.

You’re probably all tuckered out reading my very verbose blog by now, so I’ll give it a break. In the meantime, I’ll start thinking about what I want to say for part three. I think I might tackle emergency preparedness, since it is a good segway from food storage.

p.s. (I just learned ‘segway’ or ‘segueway’ is actually spelled segue, no ‘way’ at the end because the original word ‘segue’ is Italian and pronounced ‘segway’!)

 

Why Freeze Dried? – part one aka Healthy Fast Food!

So you’re probably thinking “What is this chick’s deal?!? She’s blogging about freeze-dried foods completely out of the blue!” or maybe you’re thinking “Part one?!? How much can you write about freeze-dried foods???”

Truthfully I don’t know how many more parts I can write. It’s just that I have a lot of thoughts on the matter, and I thought I should try to sort them into cohesive parts. Hey, I may never get around to part two, but if my thoughts on the matter go off on a tangent, I can split them out into parts so I’m not rambling too much. (Am I rambling already?)

And why am I blogging out of the blue? A couple of thoughts on that. In this internet age, there isn’t anything you can’t find if you search for it. I research everything, and over the past few years I’ve found a lot of helpful blogs on a lot of different topics. It’s great, why not learn from others. I’ve saved myself a lot of grief that way, whether it be about crafting, camping, cooking, you name it. So if there are so many blogs out there, why yet another one? I guess I just haven’t found anybody blogging about food storage or freeze-dried foods from my perspective yet. So here we go, part one is about my perspective.

First of all, you have to understand a bit about me. I have a lot of health problems, most of which I believe I can improve by living a healthier life. You know, eating healthy, exercising… all the stuff I don’t like to do. I am morbidly obese (there, I said it!) and I have the typical health issues that obesity contributes to: type II diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea to name the primary ones. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m the first person who hates being dismissed by doctors due to my weight. They see you coming “Oh, here’s another fatty, easy diagnosis no matter what the problem, she just needs to lose weight.” Well let me tell you something. Different people have different body makeups. Some people have a slower metabolism, some people are not athletically minded, some people have fat genes. For a lot of people, losing weight is easier said than done. When your body has a lot of these predispositions, it’s that much harder. I’m French-Canadian on my dad’s side, and let me tell you, we like to eat and we like our desserts. You can scoff if you want, but for me that’s just one more predisposition working against me.

So back to the issue at hand. I know my weight is a main source of my health problems, and I’m predisposed to being overweight. I’ve tried a lot of tactics and strategies over the years, and it always comes down to one thing: changing your lifestyle. Again, easier said than done. They say that knowing is half the battle. Well, I know I’m lazy, I don’t like to spend a lot of time prepping food, my husband works nights so half the time I’m only cooking for myself, and to top it off he is one of the fussiest eaters I’ve ever met. So I have to come up with strategies to help me overcome my faults.

This is where freeze-dried foods come in. They’re healthy, they’re pre-chopped, I can use as much or as little as I want, and unlike fresh foods they won’t go bad in my refrigerator if I don’t use them right away. Speaking of my fridge… I have a bunch of recipes pinned to my fridge, a lot of them favorites that I haven’t made in awhile. Ever since I got the freeze-dried bug, I see these recipes in a whole new light. I’ll be browsing a magazine and stumble up in a yummy recipe. My first thought now is that once I’ve built up my stockpile, I can make all these recipes without having to run to the store for items I don’t have. If I have to leave the house anyhow, why not just pick up something premade from the deli counter? Or worse, the fast-food drive-thru? You might say “lazy”, I say “strategy to eat healthier”.  Sun Tzu said something to the effect of “Know your enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster”. Your stumbling blocks are your enemy. All of the above is my enemy, and I know how I react in a given situation, so theoretically I now know how to fight and win this battle. Don’t beat yourself up, pinpoint your weaknesses and find your strategy to overcome them. My strategies might not work for others, but I’ve proven to myself in the past that they work for me. So here I go on this new journey!

(And yes, I really did just quote The Art of War while blogging about freeze-dried foods!!!)