• Lisa Paul IBCLC

Taking a Break from Food Shopping


Maybe the title of this blog has taken you off guard. In this season of extravagance and gifting, how could I write about taking a break from food shopping? Hmmm, yes does sound a tad odd, but funny enough it is a family tradition of sorts, and one that is spurred on by Advent and Lent. Several years ago, I gave up food shopping for Lent. We were in a financially unstable position and we own a farm which produces food. We had canned stores from past seasons, freezers full of stuff, and it made sense to cut back and make ourselves eat what we had in abundance. This tradition happened for a couple of years and then our lives got intense when we chose to enroll our kids into a high school an hour from the farm.

In this current season of our lives, money is a bit more plentiful. Not take-a-European-vacation plentiful, but buy-food-when-we-think-we-want-it plentiful. Which has led to a surplus of things that have started to gang up on us. Like coconut oil, coffee (but not the good organic kind I like), dried beans, meat (oh my gosh – we have live turkeys that really need to be eaten and a quarter of a cow in the freezer!), bone broth (from our own turkey)…do you understand? We have food and we have it in abundance. Not just food that I don’t like, but food that is nutritious and tasty.


Advent starts on Sunday December 3rd. It is intended to be a preparation for Christmas, with an increase in prayer and focusing on the spiritual. Fasting during Advent was proposed by Pope Leo in the mid 400’s, and was regularly practiced for many centuries. Choosing to fast from food shopping is one way that I make an effort to honor this age-old practice. In many ways, it is like stepping off the cultural freeway in this frantic time of year. It helps me to rethink what is important and keeps me from getting caught up in a way of spending that doesn’t fit with our budget.

In years past, we learned that 100% abstinence from food shopping is not practical. There are some missing items that make it hard to consume other items. Like coffee without cream…although I am a fan of coconut oil in my coffee. Fresh produce is another item that we have leniency with – although right now we have sweet potatoes in the green house and chard and kale growing in our front garden. Stepping back and looking at the abundance that we have all around us is the point to my odd family tradition. Just in writing this blog, I realized how much we have and perhaps this won't be as hard as I thought! Asking myself "How can I use this food to feed my family and keep them healthy during Advent?" is an amazing question that makes my creative juices flow!

Wishing you a peaceful and healthy Advent!


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