I read a piece this morning about a couple who did a food stamp challenge. They ate on $67.00 a month for 2 months. It was a pretty interesting article. At the end of the challenge they went out for lunch and had a tough time enjoying their $14.00 bagel sandwiches.

I am always pleased when I read that someone, anyone is giving more thought to how he or she eats. Peak oil is going to affect everybody and food may well be the place that the average family feels it most acutely. The sooner we learn how to eat better with less environmental impact, the easier the shift will be. I was struck by one comment in this piece that I think is problematic. A friend was going to join this couple in the challenge but opted out when he realized how restrictive the diet would be. I wish he had tried even part of the challenge. Maybe he could have eaten that way for a week or spent slightly more money. It is a clear example of how we tend to be all or nothing about life changes. Until I can spend $3000.00 on a prepackaged storage system I won’t prepared at all. Until I build an off-the-grid cabin, I won’t bother cutting my energy usage with some simple reductions. Until I can afford to eat all organic produce, I’ll keep on eating at Subway.

Most of us can’t do it all. We have to make choices and make do. I usually opt for local and organic but sometimes I will buy a turkey on sale. I generally watch my hot water usage but sometimes I splurge on a long, hot bath. I walk to the store when the weather permits but when the wind is howling I drive the single mile.

It is important to see adapting to a changing world as a journey, not a destination. Every step matters. Today, you may put up a clothes line and make a public promise to never use your dryer again. If you get the flu or it rains for 10 days straight, trust me. You will be forgiven for slipping. Just don’t let the slip rob you of the will to keep on keeping on. Every step we take towards a more sustainable life matters. Try to take a a least one step each day.

My step for today is make a menu plan that includes 3 grain and bean meals each week. I took a class on cooking with grains and beans last week and now I need to put the information to good use. Nothing is cheaper to buy, easier to store or as versatile to cook with. It does take advance planning however. Tomorrow, I am making veggie grain burgers for dinner so tonight, I have to soak the black beans. Bruce is a meat and potatoes kind of guy and he likes these burgers so much, he will request them rather than a hamburger. The recipe is a bit long but is isn’t al all difficult.

Saute 3/4 cup of diced onion in 2 tbls olive oil. add 1/2 cup red pepper, 1/4 cup carrot and 3/4 cup mushrooms and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add 1 teas of dry sherry, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 teas dried basil, 1 teas salt and a grind of pepper. Now add 1 1/2 teas tamari and as much balsamic vinegar and saute for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and scape it all into a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 2 tbls tahini, 1 egg , 1/2 cup mashed black beans. Mix this all together and form into patties  and fry in a bit of canola oil. I find that coating the patties with some cornmeal gives them a nice crunch. Serve these like you would any burger.

This may sound like a lot of work and I suppose it is, at least compared to stopping for take out or pulling something from the freezer but this is what I am talking about. Eating well in the future will almost certainly be more work. You may not do this every day or even once a week but don’t let that keep you  from trying at least once.

If you are interested in reading about the food stamp challenge, the link can be found on today’s survivalblog post.