Change the World Wednesday – 6 Ingredient Challenge

20 Feb

It’s that time of week again – a chance to see what Reduce Footprints has suggested as this week’s #CTWW. There’s a definite food theme at the moment, after last week’s Use it Up challenge to reduce food waste, as this week it’s about the 6 Ingredient Challenge that Hobo Mama is hosting.

This is a great idea – a simple but effective way to change our habits and help the planet by only buying food with 6 ingredients or less. The aim is to have more whole foods by cutting down on processed food. This is both good for our health (as it helps avoid hidden salt & sugar) as well as the environment (as less processing means less carbon dioxide produced). It’s also a great way to become a more savvy consumer, as we should all get to grips with reading food labels.

While I had never thought of it in this way, I’ve realised that I already try to do this. For instance, we mostly buy dry beans & pulses as using our magic pressure cooker to gives us that lovely “straight out of a can” taste (honestly, no amount of soaking & boiling ever got our black beans tasting “right” until we discovered the pressure cooker!). Or yogurts, we avoid “diet” yogurts, with their artificial sweeteners, by using organic skimmed yogurt and adding a little stevia or honey if we need it sweetened. I also avoid children’s yogurts and the like, as they’re loaded with sugar and additives (I’m lucky that my kids actually love plain yogurt as they don’t know any different!). We make our own salad dressing using oil and vinegar.

But after checking my kitchen I’ve discovered some foods that I hadn’t really thought about – cereals and bread.

At breakfast we generally all have porridge, but my son also loves Trader Joe’s Os. In fact, he has a bowl of porridge & a bowl of Os and eats them both (yes, we’re in the midst of the fussy food stage so he insists on the two bowls!). I’ve just checked the ingredients of the Os and there’s definitely more than 6 on there. The rest of our breakfast selection seems quite virtuous (rolled oats, wheatgerm, flaxseed, fruit) and our son doesn’t get any added sugar or honey. But it’s a reminder that these Os are processed, despite the cute box with the tasty looking strawberry garnishing a bowl of them and “wholegrain oats” in large font. Realistically, I’m going to leave him to his Os as, honestly, I just like that he eats breakfast without a fuss (which can’t be said at every meal time!). But I will make sure that his nearly 1 year old sister doesn’t get her hands on them. It’s tempting to just give her a handful to scoff while I prepare breakfast but I’ll try and give her fruit instead.

But bread is something I can work on. I just checked and yup, our organic spelt bread contains lots of ingredients including sugar (I find America to be full of very sweet bread – it was kind of a shock when we moved!). I’m lucky that my husband makes great bread. But it’s something I’d love to try. So I’ll try to do my bit for #CTWW by making my own bread this week. Hopefully by declaring my intention on here I’ll have to do it!

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8 Responses to “Change the World Wednesday – 6 Ingredient Challenge”

  1. smallftprints February 20, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    We’ve actually been doing a 5 ingredient challenge for quite some time. At one point we decided to eliminate high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils … bad ingredients and in almost all processed foods. About the same time my hubby started looking at labels and we were both amazed at how something simple, like a can of vegetables, had so many ingredients (many of which we couldn’t even pronounce). So we made the decision to stop it. Bread was one of the first things to go. Like you, though, we buy dry beans (isn’t that pressure cooker a fabulous invention??), we eat fresh veggies and yep, we make our own bread, cookies, etc. I’ve actually noticed that I feel better … it’s hard to explain but it’s kind of like we never get that bloated feeling … we just feel nourished. Thank you for a wonderful post! :-)

    • sarah February 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      Great post, yup breakfast is the one time I can see us falling down on this. I am the only one in the house that will eat (and usually do) eat porridge. The children love their rice krispies/shreddies/weetabix, well store brand versions. I’m not sure I will convince them to eat anything else. Will see what I find when we go shopping

      • lowimpactmama February 20, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

        Shreddies are all wholewheat I think – I love Weetabix too but I suspect the ingredient list is a little long! I’ll keep an eye out for how you get on with your shopping :)

    • lowimpactmama February 20, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      It reminds me of how I felt when I read Michael Pollan’s food rules – eat food your grandmother would recognise as food. HFCS and hydrgenated oils are pretty scary and hard to avoid if you buy processed. I agree about feeling nourished – makes life more enjoyable!

  2. rosy mammy February 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    look forward to hearing how you get on with the bread making – ive been ‘making’ lots lately (but massively cheating with a breadmaker). The 6 ingredient challenge is a great idea – like you, I would like to think that we do ok with this, but I bet if I actually had a look in our fridge and cupboards I might get a shock.

    • lowimpactmama February 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

      It’s kind of embarrassing to think I’ve never made bread! At least a breadmaker allows you to fit it in around a busy schedule. Seems sensible to me!

  3. Liberty Hall March 1, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Gosh that’s given me food for thought. I can recommend the no knead bread http://myyearofeatingfrugally.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/easy-no-knead-bread/ if even a doofus like me can manage it anyone can!

    • lowimpactmama March 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

      My husband is a big fan of the no-knead method – he’s the breadmaker in our house and now that I’ve made some myself I can see why he likes it! I’ll be using it for my next batch of loaves :)

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