One of my all-time favorite books is The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove by Cathy Erway. I quote this book at least three times per week and I can honestly say that it changed my life.
Cathy is a typical Brooklynite that used to eat out all the time (I can relate). She decided to give up restaurant food for a year to see what would happen. She lost weight and saved money. Check out her blog where she shares all of her adventures with home-cooked food. While I still like to go out to eat, I’ve pretty much given up take-out (with the exception of sushi, that’s the one thing I haven’t tried making myself).
I could go on all day about the book, but I’ll just stick to my favorite chapter for now, which is called Not Ordering In: Less Haste, Less Waste. Kathy writes about the overflowing garbage can that occurs after ordering in. Takeout food comes in multiple boxes and containers with tons of napkins, utensils and individual packets of sauce that we don’t even use half the time. It’s pretty crazy to think about all the waste that can come from one meal, not to mention what it does to your waistline. It’s expensive, and I can’t think of any take-out places that use local organic ingredients.
Once you get in the habit, it’s pretty easy to make lunch ahead of time. Yesterday afternoon I threw on a pot of quinoa while I baked a sweet potato and put away my other farmers’ market veggies. I made plenty of quinoa so there will be leftovers for the week. It’s red because it’s a heirloom variety, which means the seed is in its purest form and hasn’t been genetically modified or altered. It also means that it’s not a crossbreed. Basically you can think of dogs. It’s like the King Charles Spaniel of the plant world. (Who can forget the Sex and the City episode when Charlotte’s dog gets knocked up in the park by a pack of mutts?)
Yoga class ended at 9 last night, so I quickly put a salad together when I got home even though I was tired. I was introduced to this yummy miso ginger dressing at my veggie potluck last week when my friend Natasha brought it over (Bonus: if you throw a potluck people usually leave good stuff in your fridge). My yoga buddy Jessica spent the night, and she brought organic 14 grain bread, almond butter and strawberry fruit spread. She slapped together two “PB&J” sandwhiches. We put everything in the fridge for the morning (today is another serious day of studies 10-6) and spent the rest of the night giggling and googling.
You get a gold star if you don’t do take-out! However, if it’s a habit I challenge you this week to pack your lunch or make your own dinner instead. Take a little time on Saturday or Sunday to get a few ingredients together. Chop up a variety of veggies or boil some brown rice so that you can quickly put together a workday meal. Think of the money you’ll save, the pounds you’ll lose and the landfill space that won’t be filled up with your waste. You can do it! Please let me know how it goes.