So this week, armed with basket and some wonky victory rolls in my hair, (for the full immersive experience of course), the children and I attempted to do our food shop from the local High Street.
I could claim this was with the aim of supporting local businesses, reducing my carbon footprint or being sustainable…but my true motivator was health. Would shopping away from the tempting aisles of Waitrose mean healthier choices?
The inspiration for this endeavour? In part my reading the following facts:
73% of ALL deaths are now caused by a lifestyle disease (blimey….and we are all scared of mass murderers and the bogey man!).
We have had 1,000 generations of humans eating as hunter-gatherers, 10 generations eating from agriculture/farming but only two generations who have grown up with access to processed food. Track stopping stuff.
This was topped off by hubby and I coming across some 1940s ration books at an antique market and my romanticising about visiting the butcher, the baker and the greengrocer. I would point out, I wasn’t romanticising about rationing!
So I wondered, if hypothetically I ‘stepped back in time’ to shop, would we eat healthier? Would I still be tempted by treats? Would I save money?!?!?
We visited the butcher and fishmonger first. This involved a lot of ‘nose holding’ from the small people. Being that up close and personal with meat, my seven year old declared ‘This is mean to the animals!!!’…’Well you eat it little bean’, was my reply.
The fishmonger and butcher have been on Ringwood High Street for 115 years, passed from generation to generation. The ruddy cheeked, boater wearing, (yes it fitted every cliche) butcher, informed me that he has been sourcing his meat from the same two local farmers for 36 years, ‘…no horrible growth hormones here.’, he declared proudly. I was pleased.
Next across the road to the baker. No nose holding here….just small faces pressed up to the glass, wide eyed, with anticipatory grins at the sight of iced buns and chocolate eclairs.
The bakers was bursting to the seams…perhaps it was the choice of sourdough breads on offer, or more likely the iced buns, but it was lovely to see it so busy on a Wednesday morning.
We left with sourdough bread, a wholemeal loaf and a total health fail in the form of a Brighton bun. 80/20 right?
The young chap who served us was very supportive of our mission. ‘Oh, yes,’ he said enthusiastically, ‘You will love it, we have the time to get to know you.’ We skipped out of the bakers, smiles on all faces, especially the small ones who knew they may well be getting a slice of that Brighton bun at home.
Basket rather heavy by now, we headed to the greengrocer.
Naively, I had assumed the greengrocers wouldn’t have the coriander, avocados and red chilli on my list. How wrong was I. I left with every fruit, vegetable or herb my heart desired. There was something simply joyous about filling our baskets with the cacophony of colours. The simplicity of apples in a paper bag. It was a beautiful thing.
Now, very laden, we headed to the coffee shop next door for a cuppa and to rest our biceps. ‘So?’ I asked the children, what did you think? ‘I liked it.’ said my eldest…’It takes longer but it isn’t as boring as the supermarket.’ ‘Can I have some Brighton bun? ‘ The youngest asked.
I won’t lie, I did have to go to the supermarket for a few things. Milk, tinned goods and gluten free bits for my son but not a lot.
At home we totted up our receipts…I had saved £26 on my normal food shop. That would equate to more that £100 a month! The biggest saving being in the greengrocers.
Did it take longer? Probably. Did I enjoy it more? Definitely. Did I save money? Yes.
Did it make us healthier? Yes.
We bought the Brighton bun but without access to other processed food and shiny offers, we didn’t buy anything else. However, the fruit and veg is not organic and that is a little sticking point for me. Is the moneysaving worth knowing my F&V is pesticide free? Not so sure.
I will definitely be visiting Fred the butcher and his son the fishmonger though, (I wanted his name to be Fred, I have since learnt it is Chris) and the nice young man in the baker.
I will also be sporting red lipstick and victory rolls again…like the food shop, it made a nice change.
All photo credits to my 11 year old boy.
Find me at liveawelllife on lovely Instagram.