I am on a challenge to buy no groceries except fruits and vegetables for a full month. I decided to enter the challenge after I’d gone back home to the jungle, so didn’t previously shop in anticipation. I am doing the challenge because I hate going shopping all the time (on a normal month I last 10-15 days between supermarket runs) and also because I’m only here for a month, and my house is hot and humid, so products go bad quicker than usual.
- Frozen food spoils because of power outages.
- Without power outages, meat lasts 2-3 months max because it has no chemicals and because the freezer is not 100% insulated and it is 100 outside when you open it.
- Rice in its plastic packaging gets eaten by critters. You have to store in glass jars.
- Pasta gets mouldy, or eaten too.
- Crackers get stale.
I have had volunteers teach English to the kids in the village for the past few months and had stocked food for them. Otherwise I only hoard imported products I bring from Guatemala City. But then life happens and I leave and they go bad too, because I don’t want to eat them too fast.
I started the challenge randomly, and had gone to the supermarket thinking I’d refill in less than a week, while running other errands. So after checking the goods, I had no flour to bake my daily bread or make pizza, and almost no mayo, another staple I eat all the time on sandwiches, tuna salad, and with fries.
I also only had half a pound of beef for the month, but also two pounds of bacon to flavor a lot of stews, so I wasn’t too concerned.
I ran out of mayo on day 4.
I started going through the bread like it was not a finite supply, and baked my last batch on day 6 when I had guests over.
For my dinner guests I used most of my cream cheese and milk to make a creamy pasta with bacon, and made flan for dessert with the rest of the milk. Not my usual “wow the guests” choice, but it was delicious.
Overall the week went well and I didn’t miss anything.
Groceries bought: none
Having guests at my new place.
I went to town planning on shopping for the next 16 days. I considered buying mayo as it would help me go through tuna cans easier, but decided it would be cheating, and tuna doesn’t spoil since it is tinned, unlike pasta and other stuff I should go through first.
Groceries bought: I only bought fruits and vegetables. Win! Well, and 30lb of meat for the dogs, plus cleaning products for the guest house, but that doesn’t count.
In total, I spent about $10 on fresh veggies, quite a bit of potatoes as that will become my staple after running out of bread, and other stuff that would last. For lettuce, since it spoils after about a week, I only bought one. I will probably have to restock on cilantro, lettuce and other herbs before the month ends.
Again, with the influx of fresh veggies, I didn’t feel like I was missing out.
I slowed down on bread quite a bit, but that is mostly because I didn’t have anything interesting to put on it.
Eggs and beans for a traditional Guatemalan breakfast, together with my homemade bread and crispy bacon. So far so good.
I was quite resourceful with what I had, and cooked dishes I hadn’t had in a while. Being alone, I could eat fries every day. Having rice and pasta is not usual in my diet, and I enjoyed the change. I realized many times I just cook potatoes out of laziness but I enjoy eating other stuff. Same thing with the guests, I would have baked pizza and gone for flour and toppings on a normal week. They loved the pasta and flan so it was a win win as I got rid of a lot of food that night.
Overall, as I am used to shopping every 10-15 days, I didn’t feel the pinch too much.
Would you be able to spend a month without buying food?