As discussed in previous posts I regularly do pantry challenges to keep up rotation, prevent expiration, and use up those odd ball items. It challenges my creativity, beats back my sugar dragon, and is a kindness to my pocket book.
I call this challenge: The Snow Storm Challenge.
I was inspired several years ago by a very large storm on the east coast that left people home bound for over a week. I had the sudden thought, “How long could I survive on only what is in my house?” and decided to pursue it. I was really revved up and inspired and went over three weeks. That last week was preeeeeetty interesting.
If you have never done a challenge like this you may be surprised to find how difficult it can be to plan ahead, pack all your food, and also what a PITA it can be when you have had a long day and are tired and don’t want to prepare anything. To this I say: don’t make it so hard the first time. Set yourself up for success.
I know that in my current head space I could not successfully complete a full on “perfectly done,” challenge. So I made some rules, set NO timeline so I can stop when I want (but I often want to keep going when I get a streak going – working with my tendencies Gretchen Rubin!) and enjoying the work instead of doing the slog.
One major choice I made was to give myself a head start. I chose to begin the day after Thanksgiving, when I knew my mom would send me home with lots of leftovers. I knew my freezer/pantry were pretty well stocked, but my fridge was fairly empty aside from two dozen apples. SO MANY APPLES. They will clearly be my fruit this round.
I also have a gift card for Starbucks. I told myself I could use it. That’s a pretty big give. The rule I placed on it is really arbitrary, but since it’s an eating challenge the rule is only coffee/tea, no food.
Food freely given from family, friends, coupons, or Buy Nothing doesn’t count either. When in crisis, communities come together. There was simply no way to avoid this as I’m basically the dumpster for many friends and family. Things they will throw out they give to me, so if I say no, it will go in the garbage and the waste will make me cry. I won’t create waste just to complete a personal challenge.
That’s it! Now it’s just eat from what I have, save some money, and see how far I get. What broke me in 2016 when I did the original challenge was half and half. I ran out of half and half for my coffee at the three week mark. Now, I am comfortable using canned coconut milk so I’m not really worried about that. I do foresee there being challenges with vegetables. I have maybe two cans of veggies (as I eat mostly fresh now) and a few bags of frozen veggies. I’m going to get low on veggies first and I no longer have a garden (I did during the last challenge).
I lied. There is one more rule. If I hit a point where it is no longer nourishing me/healthy for my body, it’s over. I won’t complete a challenge to the detriment of my health. It’s fragile enough, precarious at best, that I will not doing anything that I believe will be harmful even in the short term. I will be watching my blood sugar and inflammation levels.
I hope you join me on this adventure! I’d love to hear how it is going and what challenges you are facing. And of course, I’d love to have some cheer leading. This is a challenge. It can be challenging. Cheerleaders always appreciated.