I have been retired now for about 9 months and things are still evolving. Prior to retiring, I used to go grocery shopping on Saturday mornings. Almost every Saturday. About 80% of the time, my husband would come with me. I think he wanted to come along because he knows I will not buy him all the junk food that he wants. So if he wanted to have his treats, he had to come along. Pretty much all the time I had no idea what was in the flyer. What is on sale? I had no clue. I just went to 1 store and ran up and down the isles, threw stuff in the cart and left. Husband was usually there which meant once he had put all his junk food in the cart, he was done and chomping at the bit to get out of there. Consequently I usually ended up going back to the store sometime during the week to pick up things in order to make dinner. Weekday meals sometimes left a little to be desired to say the least. I pretty much always cooked on Sundays so that there were leftovers for Monday. But past that point in the week, there was no plan and after working all day, I usually didn’t have much interest in cooking. I knew we had to do better in both shopping and cooking. We needed to shop and cook healthier and pay more attention to how much money we were spending.
Once I retired, husband still continued to come with me. After all he wanted his junk food. I did make big strides in cooking healthier and not buying any convenience pre packaged foods. I am pretty much making everything from scratch now and meals are so much better for us. More planning has gone into our shopping and I am actually going with a list most of the time. So improvements happened.
Just in the last few weeks, I have made some more changes. One is that I am not shopping as often. I think this is working better for us and I am spending less money. We are using up things we have on hand and not wasting anything. Another change is that I am insisting on going grocery shopping by myself. One positive about this is that I can take my time while shopping and ensure that I have everything I need. I like to look at the meat on special and then pick up things to go with these choices. I also like to take time to read labels. I not only have the challenge of husband needing gluten and dairy free but I am trying to make the most healthy choices possible. This takes time. I end up coming out of there with most of what I need and have spent less money. Sure there are times when I have to run to the store to get an item or two to make something I have decided to make. But overall big improvement. Now I do ask husband if there is anything he would like me to purchase. But we are in the midst of making huge dietary changes for him so junk food is not in his vocabulary right now anyway. Today he asked me to get him pickles and walnuts. Weird combo but OK.
He is seeing a naturalpathic physician to help with his issues. He was an undiagnosed celiac for years so there was lots of damage to his gut that needs help to repair. He is on a gluten free diet of course but was still feeling unwell. He thought he was lactose intolerant but it turns out he is not. But dairy on the whole, seems to be his enemy. So that has been eliminated. All junk food has been eliminated which is extremely hard for him. He is trying to watch his fat intake and watch out for heartburn triggers. He is taking some probiotics and a few other things to assist in healing the gut. He has also made huge strides in getting off of some of the medications he was on that was damaging the gut. Like anti histamines. He was totally addicted to them for years. Now he is off of them 100%. It has probably helped that for the first time in 40 years we do not have a cat in the house. I would bet money he is allergic to cats. He has been taking acid reflux drugs for years also. He is down 50% on those drugs and we hope to get these down further and eventually get off of them altogether. He has reduced his coffee intake down to 1 cup per day. We are hoping this will help reduce his medication for restless leg syndrome. All of this has paid off big time. He is feeling a lot better. All of these medications have made everything worse over the years and it’s time to make changes and get off all of these drugs.
I did have a selfish motive in trying to get him sorted out with his digestive problems. We are taking a 5 week trip later this year to the UK and Baltic and I want him feeling 100%. I do not want to drag him all over Europe with him constantly looking for washrooms and complaining he feels awful.
So there has been big changes in our grocery shopping and meal planning/preparation. I do think a lot of people that retire make changes in this area. Having time to concentrate on this has been great and I am really enjoying the new way we cook. I have enjoyed taking on the challenge to eliminate buying things with great long ingredient lists of chemicals and other bad stuff. I like finding healthy versions of things we like. It is a huge challenge to cook both gluten free and dairy free. Still having a bit of issues with the dairy part but we are getting there. I have learned that I just have to cook the healthy meal and put in on the table. He complains but he has no choice but to eat it. I am trying to ensure there are healthy snacks around for him as well. We have discovered he does better with small meals so snacks are important. I started making my own granola bars with gluten free oats and rice krispies. Then I add dried fruit, nuts, seeds and local honey. They are going over pretty well! It took me retiring to get on a mission about all of this. So definitely a positive!
I know we can still do better and we will but we are on the right track!