I love to go to the farmers market once or twice a week to stock up on fresh organic fruits and vegetables. My husband and I often go to the Campbell Farmers Market together on the weekend. It’s a bustling market, especially in the summer.
If you want to make the most of your time, you have to work out a strategy, especially in the summer when it’s super crowded. We take the light rail to the market, do all the shopping and get back on the light rail within an hour. I do all the shopping and he oversees the cart. We work well as a team. It makes for a pleasant morning walk and community experience. It’s especially nice when we run into a friend.
Sometimes we buy a lot and sometimes we just buy a little. We buy less when: we’re traveling together, my husband has a business trip on his own, or we have a week when we’re planning on eating out with colleagues or friends during the week.
Today was one of those days when we didn’t need to buy a lot, so I suggested that we take our smaller Roadrunner cart which helps me to visually see when I need to stop shopping. Nearly all of the fruits and vegetables at this market are fresh and enticing, so sometimes I buy too much. So today I talked my husband into taking the small cart.
After purchasing about $90 worth of fresh produce and fish for the week, the cart was full, but we still needed to get some oranges. Our last purchase was oranges. I carefully chose each one. My mouth was watering as I thought about how good the fresh orange/peach smoothies would be this week. As I walked up to my husband with a 5 pound bag of oranges, he snarled at me knowing that the bag wouldn’t fit in the cart. I offered to carry the bag, but he insisted on carrying it.
We walked to the light rail station which is only a few blocks away. He pulled the cart and carried the bag of oranges. When we got to the station, we had about a 5 minute wait.
We sat down as usual, glanced at our Samsung smart phones and my husband helped me with an app on my phone. I was distracted by a woman toting a newborn in a baby carrier and pushing a stroller with a talkative little boy who was quizzing his mom with an endless flow of questions:
“Where is the train?”
“Can I have a strawberry?”
“Why can’t we walk home?”
“Is daddy home?”
Then we all heard the train bells.
“Why do we have to take the train mommy?”
“Can I get out,” he asked as he tried to escape the stroller.
I suddenly became more concerned about how this young mom was going to get her babies and stroller, loaded down with produce, onto the train.
Normally when I stand up after being seated somewhere, I have a habit of looking back to make sure I didn’t leave something behind: a water bottle, jacket or pair of glasses. But this time I didn’t look back.
After my husband and I boarded and the train got moving, he suddenly realized that the 5 pound bag of oranges was back on the bench at the Campbell Station, but it was too late for us to turn back.
We unintentionally left behind a nice surprise for someone.
At first I felt frustrated not only with this $9 loss, but also with the fact that I didn’t have oranges to go with the peaches I bought for our morning smoothies.
But then I did a little mental gymnastics. I thought about how many times I purchased too much produce and ended up with wilted cilantro or soggy zucchini simply because I bought too much. I also reminded myself how minor this was in comparison to other things that could have happened. Anytime I catch myself going down a pathway of negative thoughts, I shift my thinking in search of a positive outlook.
Although I lost 5 pounds of oranges in 5 minutes, I gained several valuable lessons:
- Stay focused. Anytime we lose focus, we risk losing things, but more importantly, we risk losing time, one of our greatest assets. This also reminded that I need to exercise more focus in each of my work days.
- Set reasonable limits. Having too much is almost as challenging as having too little of something. When I buy too much produce or too much of anything, it only adds clutter to my life. It’s easier to navigate through life with just the right amount. If the bag of oranges had fit into the smaller cart, we’d be enjoying those oranges this week. But because I tried to push the limit, we had a breakdown in our process.
- Try new things. I make an orange based smoothie almost every morning, but there are many other ways to make smoothies. This week I can experiment with different smoothie recipes. Yummly is a great source for locating recipes.
My husband was a bit more practical.
“Next time, we need to take the big shopping cart so everything can fit,” he said. He’s referring to our cart that can carry 150 pounds of stuff.
The most popular New Year’s Resolution in the US is to lose weight. One of the best ways to do this is to avoid eating things in the first place. I’ve faithfully lived by this habit for many years when grocery shopping. If I don’t want something in my body, then I don’t want it in my shopping cart, and I especially don’t want it in my kitchen. This has been one of my biggest strategies in maintaining my weight within a 10-pound range all my adult life life.
Even at the end of potluck dinners, I always make sure that people don’t accidentally leave behind stuff I wouldn’t feed to myself or my family.
If you want to lose 5 pounds in 5 minutes while grocery shopping, leave behind the stuff you shouldn’t eat anyway. This will help to eliminate all the food-like products in your kitchen. Pay attention to everything you eat.
Most SAD (Standard American Diet) grocery stores sell about 80% processed foods. This is immediately evident when you walk in the store. If it’s in a can, box or bag, take the time to read the ingredients. If they’re full of sweeteners or you can’t understand the words, lose the weight before you ever put it in your body.
If you have the opportunity to take walk or take public transportation to your local farmers’ market, you’ll benefit even more by getting exercise while you shop.
Ever consider what pets must think of us? I mean, we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul – chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth! Anne Tyler