How to become a flexitarian?

Previously I talked about how to give up meat just once a week to make a positive impact on the environment (yes there are 10 pounds burgers being sold in restaurants).  I have friends for whom it is inconceivable that there can be a meal without meat or that human beings can live without consuming a big piece of steak on their dinner plate each night.  The reality is that probably billions of people do not eat meat either because they are too poor to afford it or increasingly for health or environment of animal rights issues.

One of the easiest ways to become a vegetarian eventually is to become a flexitarian first.  A flexitarian is one who is flexible.  She can survive mostly on a vegetarian diet but when she feels like it or is at a party/restaurant where she may not have a choice, she just orders a meat dish.

Now Dawn Jackson Blatner has an excellent book called “The Flexitarain Diet — The Mostly Vegetarian Way To Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, And Add Years To Life” on living a flexitarian lifestyle.  I have been a flexitarian now for over 15 years and I am in excellent health.  I do not think I have seen a doctor for an illness during this period.  My BMI is very low, and while I exercise regularly and watch what I eat, I would definitely say that eating fiber-rich and low calorie vegetable dishes definitely helps.  I have no scientific evidence that my diet is prevening me from getting any diseases or putting me on a trajectory of living longer, I do know that it is possible to live well and enjoy a variety of great dishes without using any meat at all.

Does the mega store saves money?

I have been a member of Costco or BJs for years, but I always have wondered Does it save money?

For me it does not save me money any more, because in the last three years I have switched to most things organic and environmentally friendly and those shops have few alternative for these products, at least in my area.

Does the membership saves money for most people?

I think it may save money depending on how much the person spends every month in these shops. Another consideration is if the person pays cash or puts the payment on credit cards that will not be paid in full at the end of the month. In the latter case you have to add the interest on top of the monthly amount.

Usually those shops sell big brands instead of store brands and the price of the big brands is similar or higher than the supermarket brands.

The sizes of the products sold are also an issue. If you are not going to use all the contents before they go bad it is like putting money in the trash.

Some supermarkets are very expensive, and in this case, the mega stores are probably a good choice to save money, but if you shop in supermarkets with lower prices perhaps the mega store does not save money. After a little research I found out that while Stop & Shop is somewhat expensive, a great alternative is Market Basket in my area. I am sure if you check out a few grocery stores in your area or simply ask around, you can get a good idea which store is the cheapest.

For me, as I said above, there will be no more BJs in a few weeks as my membership is expiring and I have no plans to renew. I will miss their cheap gas, but the membership does not cover the savings in gas price and there is little I can buy there anymore. I wish they will sell more organic products and environmentally friendly products.

Blueberry picking in a local farm

Sunday I went blueberry picking with my friend Sandy.  I learned from her to pick a lot of blueberries to freeze and then use them in winter.  I have been doing this for 3 years now.  It is great to have blueberries in the middle of the cold winter.  They are locally grown and organic.

Picking blueberries with a friend is fun.  We talk and share stories.  I put the blueberries in plastic bags (without washing them, and yes, it is one of the cases where you cannot use a cloth bag) and put most of them in the freezer.  I use them for  smoothies and pancakes.  I have not done the Math to see if it is better to do this than to buy blueberries from Argentina  in winter or if the best thing is not to eat summer fruits in winter.  It will be interesting to see what the carbon footprint of each option is, though, my hunch is that picking them from a farm close to my home has the least impact on the environment.

I love blueberries and they are so rich in nutrients.  In New England we do not have many fruits in the cold seasons; the blueberries, thus, provide variety.  By the way I only have one refrigerator. I think if you have space in your freezer this is a good idea to save money and have good quality fruits at home.

You may also dehydrate the berries or make a preserve with them.  Sandy dehydrates them a little and after that she freezes them.  She said that they are great for baking and to make pancakes this way.

To find a blueberry farm near you, try a Google search or ask your friends.  Wear long sleeves, pants, and shoes.  Bring a bug spray as well.  It is always a good idea to wear a cap and put on sunscreen.  Children are normally welcome in these farms but ask about their pet policy.