Does anybody else buy stuff at the market because you might need it, or it’s on sale?

I learned a great lesson today while going through my kitchen cabinets, looking for extra pots and pans, and miscellaneous kitchen stuff to take to our cottage…I over buy.  I over buy ingredients for recipes that I’m making.  Or planning on making, but then life gets busy, and we go to events, or I’m exhausted so we eat out, and the ingredients sit in the cupboards, which is fine, because I’ll whip up that recipe…eventually.  But eventually comes, and goes, and it all ends up in the trash.  Not cool.  The other bad habit I have is not checking my cupboards prior to buying more ingredients for recipes.  I simply take the recipe and the ingredients that it calls for to the grocery store.  But I never, ever check through my cabinets prior to heading out to see just what it is that I might be missing.

Hence, I threw out three, THREE bottles of rice vinegar.  Two unopened and expired, and one half empty.

Why oh why am I this way???

But today I had an epiphany.  While standing in my kitchen among the pile of recyclables I made the commitment to be a more mindful global citizen.  To check my kitchen before sashaying off to the market armed with my enthusiasm and zeal, excited that I finally cracked the binding of one of my many cookbooks.  Which is another obsession of mine:  book collecting.  I love books.  I love book stores.  I love food.  Put them all together and BAM it’s like a perfect storm.  Lord hold me back if that cookbook also has exceptional photos of the recipes…you have to beat me off it with a stick.  If I go into a book store I am not leaving empty handed.

But this is not the point of this post.  The point of this post is that I was confronted with my wasteful Western ways today when I did a pass through my kitchen, and threw far too much stuff out.  Each day that I wake up I meditate on how I can be a part of the solution of what is happening in the world.  Whether it’s focusing my heart on being kind, thoughtful, empathetic, or helpful.  I try to make sure that my 24 hours on earth are spent being better than I was the day before.  This includes, recycling, eating organic, leaving as small a carbon foot print as possible.

But I had no idea how much waste I was putting out until I cleaned out my kitchen.  I am Canadian, and based on some articles that I’ve read I throw out 170 kilograms of food a year.  That’s 374 pounds a year, or two humans.  That’s more than I’m comfortable putting into land fill, or compost, especially when so many people around the world are starving.  It’s not right to be so flippant and casual about the gift that food is.  The privilege it is to not only have food at our finger tips, but to be able to afford high quality food, only to throw it away?

Nope.  This is a first world trend that I need to break immediately.  With all of you as my witness, I pledge that I will only purchase food that I know I will eat.  I will no longer buy things in bulk because they’re on sale.  Nor will I buy trendy health foods suggested by this online article or that one, promising to whittle my waistline; the same goes for magic vitamins that will provide the same result, but in reality only end up giving me gas.  I am fully committed to no longer being a zombie shopper, over stuffing my cupboards with foods “for a rainy day”.  Instead I will adopt the same practices of the people who live in my favourite city of all.  I will be like the french, only buying what I will eat for a couple of days/that I can carry up multiple flights of stairs without having to take a break or make a second run.

These are my new food purchasing standards.  My wallet and the planet thank me.




  1. Good luck with that! I found that I was the same way. I still buy more than I should in the frozen food/meat department. I too am organic everything. I too have too much in my cabinets! Since we have a beach house that has food stuffs in it, I went through them all last week while down there and threw out too many expired items. I vowed then, that I would only replace them when I needed them! I would use what I had in my cabinets and freezer/refrig. Let’s hope I can continue this trend. Nothing makes me happier than to actually eat the leftovers in my refrig, whether that’s for lunch or another dinner. It makes me feel like I’m using what I made and NOT wasting anything. The lack of guilt is precious!

  2. I hate to admit that I am In the same boat. I buy for a recipe and then forget. about it until i have another one that needs that same strange spice. but do I check the cupboard? Of course not. My other vice is left overs. they get pushed back in the fridge and forgotten about, when I finally go through my whole refrigerator (Not just the front of the shelves) I throw out a massive amount of food that would have been good if pulled out in the next couple days after it was cooked. i will also pledge to be a more responsible shopper and food saver.

  3. Oh, as usual I feel you! I am also a bit too good at “Oooh! I’m sure I can use two of those!”, and then buy them, totally forgetting a) I’m only cooking for one 99,99% of the time, and b) I may not like it, if it’s a new recipe….. At one point I got a recipe for no dairy, glutenfree mini-chocolate muffins. Based on tins of black beans, coconut oil, almond flour, and other ‘special’ ingredients, the muffins were OK, but not WOOHOOOO, and I’ve only done them 2 times, about 2 years ago. Last week I was going through my pantry, looking for something else, when I stumbled across 4 cans of black beans, a year out of date, and not something I’ve used for anything else…..

    Bookstores? I’m a confessed book-aholic, who loooooves the feel of a book, and who will NEVER only read online. I love books both new and old – I will regularly bag up books that I’m not keeping, take them to the thrift-store (usually the Red Cross one), only to end up buying at least three ‘new’ ones from them (they’re usually only 5-10 /$1-2 – I mean: it would be silly not to, right?)….
    Recipe books are a particular weakness of mine (something I get from my mother), and I LOOOVE the ones with great pictures. I might not ever cook anything in that book, but I’ll sit happily in my sofa, hot beverage at hand, candles lit, and just enjoy…

  4. When our human garbage machine (son) moved interstate it took a few years to recalibrate the grocery shopping back to pre child. I now plan 4-5 meals for the week and only buy for these meals (apart from staples) and it’s leftovers or restaurants for the remainder. Not nearly as much waster and a bit easier on the wallet. Mind you that goes out the window a bit when he comes to visit.

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