Yesterday when I went to the dentist, I confessed that while I floss every day, most days I only floss some of my teeth – the ones that I think need it most. Yes, I understand clearly that the logic here is warped.
Imagine how it sounded coming out of my mouth, “Um, I don't have time to floss all of my teeth, but I do floss! I swear!”
I am sure I am not alone when I say – I am busy. Working, blogging, momming, cooking, etc. And that's not mentioning all the things I'm not doing that I want to do or should be doing. Like flossing all of my teeth.
Don't get me wrong, for the most part, I really like my life, but sometimes my fast-paced schedule really wears on me when I am trying to squeeze in time to get a batch of yogurt going before I pack school lunches, change a diaper, and rush out the door.
Or when I discover that we are out of cultured ketchup – didn't I just make some last week? – to support my family's morning egg and ketchup habit. I forgot to turn the dehydrator ON all day? Time to make the doughnuts, I mean, change the kombucha. WHAT? There's nothing to eat? How is that possible?
Eating real food means that someone (not a machine in a factory) has to make my family's food. On most days I am happy and grateful to do it myself. But on the days when I'm not, here are the rules I live by:
1 – Choose low maintenance kitchen projects
Kombucha takes a few minutes to throw together and then brews peacefully on the counter for about two weeks without making a fuss. Now that's my kind of cooking.
Kefir, on the other hand, needs to be changed and freshened each day like a high maintenance pet.
Dinner that takes more than two pots – out. Anything that depends on rising dough or other magical forms of chemistry – not for me. It's not that I wouldn't love to make my own bread, coddle pet ferments, and nurture a souffle. Really, I am going to do these things – just as soon as they add that eighth day to the week.
2 – Find real convenience food
Real food is NOT on every corner, but if you look hard enough you can still find pre-made options that will not compromise your family's food values. I've found yogurt from grass fed cows, traditionally fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles, and real sourdough bread – none of which I had to make myself – all at the local health food stores. I've also clocked a few local restaurants when I can stop for an occasional latte with organic milk from pastured cows, free range eggs, grass fed burgers, and oysters on the half shell. I am blessed in Los Angeles to know Real Food Devotee who will deliver everything from bone broth to raw milk ice cream to my door.
3 – Shop less
If nothing else happens in a week, every Saturday our farm box appears at our house packed with seasonal local produce, raw milk, and cream. If I planned ahead there may be some meat and extra fruit or veggies in there, but in either case, there is farm fresh food at my house without me getting in my car.
By buying in bulk and shopping online, I have reduced my grocery shopping from weekly trips to the farmer's market and at least two different grocery store stops, to a monthly trip to the farmer's market, and one trip per week to pick up odds and ends at the grocery store. By buying bulk there is simply less of a need to constantly be replacing items, and by buying online I save myself on driving and usually spend less money too.
4 – Take shortcuts
On the days that you're feeling ambitious or at least have enough motivation to contribute to dinner, use this list of 7 Shortcuts in a Real Food Kitchen to save you time and energy.
5 – Quit
Well, no I don't mean quit eating real food for good – unless you want to eat frozen t.v. dinners and Happy Meals for the rest of your life.
But a mini-break from making everything from scratch is usually our fastest road back to preparing real food.
Not only does a short-term kitchen boycott buy you some time to take a breath, but it also puts things into perspective. A couple of organic frozen pizzas and I'm plotting how I can make it so much better with sprouted flour, garden tomatoes, and grass fed cheese.
A trip to an over-priced, mediocre restaurant and I'm home, culturing veggies and soaking grains, slow-cooker bubbling quietly in the background as I bustle off to brush and floss every last one of my teeth.
What do you do when you just don't have the time to make real food?
Share your secrets below!