Adventure of the Month: The 30-Day Restaurant-Free Challenge

I exist in circumstances that make it incredibly easy for me to access food at any time. I can order Domino’s online right now and have it here and filling my tummy within 20 minutes. There’s a taqueria 50 steps away from my house. Maybe even 45! I drive five minutes and pass at least five different fast food chains. Compounded with the fact that I also have the money to purchase food from these establishments, I can’t possibly go hungry. But what if I didn’t have these options?

There’s no doubt that restaurants are great venues for being out and about in the world and make for great date nights. Goodness knows Mr. O and I have had some of the best nights of our lives walking down the street and strolling into random Long Beach eateries. They also expose us to delicious food that we wouldn’t otherwise be familiar with. Indeed, going out to eat, generally speaking, is an awesome experience – which is why I will always work hard to support my local Long Beach restaurants for their innovation and hard work. That said, eating out is expensive, and when one compares the amount spent per meal on groceries versus the amount spent per meal in a restaurant, it makes most people wonder why we are so reliant on going other places to have other people make food for us while also paying them $8 to pour us a glass of wine, if you’re so inclined to indulge.

And so, to observe the social, economic, and personal health effects of forgoing restaurants, I will not be spending a single dime on non-grocery store food and beverages from April 17th until May 15th. In other words, every piece of food that goes into my mouth will be home-prepared. Other than me cooking my own food, dinner parties hosted at friends’ houses where I bring a dish are acceptable, as are meals at home with my family and free food at parties/work. Naturally, this may make tracking the “health” variable a bit difficult, but I still firmly believe that my health and weight will be positively affected by this temporary change.

In order to introduce some room for “error” into the experiment, I am also allowing the very occasional restaurant visit if someone absolutely insists on buying a meal for me there. However, I will be asking friends and family to be cognizant of my experiment and to consider home cooking instead. Especially if I get to do the cooking. 🙂

I will be keeping a detailed personal log of my meals eaten, the meals I had to reject or suggest alternatives to, the amount I spend on groceries, my weight (gulp), and – in the unlikely event I falter–the amount of times I break down. In the end, I will have a robust but non-boring account for your enjoyment. Should you consider following in my footsteps, there’s nothing like letting someone go through the pain for you first, I say.

Feel free to comment on any ideas or questions you have – and stay tuned for the results on May 15th!

Happy Eating, however you choose to do so!

– H

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