Pastured Eggs and Store-bought Butter {Update}

I originally wrote this post May 8, 2011.  Almost 11 months ago.  My have things changed in 11 months!  We continue to make change and improvements to our cooking and eating habits.  I am reposting with some updates to encourage you if you’re a real food newbie.  Changing your diet does NOT have to happen over night.  When you read other blogs or articles don’t condemn yourself because you can’t get you milk from a Jersey cow that has a verifiable blood line dating back to when Jesus was a boy.  Just go find some organic raw milk and start there.  Grace my friend, grace!

A while back I posted a series on grocery budgeting.  My goal was to spend $300.00 or less on groceries including household supplies and toiletries.

I am happy to say that almost 3 months later I have been unsuccessful every month!  Yes, you read that right, I’m happy and I’m unsuccessful. 

Don’t read it again…..that’s what I said. 

Living Balanced

 Let me explain.  I recently finished up an Ecourse on nutrition where my eyes were truly opened to the food industry at large as well as what I need to do to improve my family’s diet and put healthier things on the table. 

Thus far, as I start incorporating healthier choices into our diet I am not able to stay within the $300.00 budget.  I am so thankful for what I have learned.  I would not change that one bit just to stay within budget. 

also believe that living a balanced, healthy life is not achieved overnight.  There was only one person who walked this earth that had it all together from day one; Jesus.  I pray to be more and more like Him everyday in the roles he has given me.

 I wholeheartedly accept the challenge to eat healthier and stay within budget.  I do get discouraged from time to time but I have prayed for wisdom and direction as I continue on. 

Rebudget

 Looking at the big picture of our family we have other responsibilities and obligations now that prevent me from throwing another hundred or two hundred dollars into our grocery budget.  I was able to rework some things and add another $50.00 per month taking from some other areas that we (my husband and I) decided to skimp on. 

One thing we cut back on was expensive dog food.  We’ve decided that although we do not want our four dogs to have the cheapest kibble we also could not justify feeding them top of the line at this time.  I also dropped my gym membership opting to buy some Zumba dvds and commit to walking a few days per week. 

 The next step in my Real Food journey is learning to incorporate as many healthier choices into our shopping and eating and stay within our new $350.00 budget.  The only way I will achieve this is to make some tough decisions about what I will buy. 

 Areas of Improvement

We were blessed with 6 free laying hens that we pasture. (Update: up to 25 chickens now and 18-20 eggs daily…..need eggs?)  This gives us plenty of quality eggs every day.  (Update: We sell eggs when we can which offsets the expense of having the chickens and goes toward buying better dog food!) If you have or buy farm fresh eggs read here’s a great way to peel fresh eggs.

We are also lucky enough to get raw milk from pastured cows for $3.00 per gallon.I don’t know about other areas but that’s a steal around here.   (Update: since I’m back to working full-time in the office we’ve switched to another farm that offers weekly home delivery. The raw milk is $7.50/gallon but convenient and at this time convenience is a necessity. Our son is drinking less milk and eating more meals so while the price has gone up, consumption has gone down.)

 About three-quarters of our red meat is venison that we harvest each year during hunting season.  Not only does this save money but this meat is just about as free range as they come.  The same goes for the fish that we each which is all freshly caught through the year. There is nothing like fresh trout!

I have not switched to organic potatoes but I do plan to make all of our mashed and scalloped potatoes from scratch instead of instant.  I was keeping at least one box of scalloped and a box of instant in the cupboard for last-minute meals but since I began to meal plan I have made the commitment to use only real potatoes. 

 Other areas that I have “switched” to healthier choices are:

  •  Sucanat instead of processed white sugar. (Update: Sucanat isn’t my favorite but we’re also using local raw honey and stevia.)
  • Organic white spelt flour instead of all-purpose
  • Homemade yogurt instead of store-bought
  • Veggies from our garden (when in season) instead of store-bought
  • Salt, pepper and many of my other spices are now organic instead of “regular” (Update: it took 10 months but I have switched out all of our spices.  Each week I would buy one or two new glass jars and one or two organic spices from my natural food store.  Since the spices are self serve you can “buy a pinch or a pound” as they say.)

 Areas of compromise

 We go through about 2pounds of butter per month, more if I do a lot of baking.  At $12.00 per pound I cannot justify buying organic raw butter.  Do I want to buy organic raw butter…..you bet ‘cha!  Will I some day buy $12.00 per pound butter….maybe.  Right now I am choosing to buy cheap butter.  No excuses.

 Until I master bread making (and I’m making progress) we buy store-bought bread from the grocery store.  Again, I can’t see buying $5.00 a loaf of organic bread at this time. 

 Other things I want to improve on but are on hold right now:

  • Peanut butter (Update: switched to organic!)
  • Bacon 
  • Use of condensed soups (Update: i now make my own!)
  • Store bought cream cheese (Update: I make my own on occasion now)
  • Store bought sour cream
  • Buying in bulk (meat, grains, rice, etc) 

Final thoughts

Knowing that most everything you buy at the conventional grocery store is not the healthiest choice can make a girl down right depressed if you let it. 

I have decided that I will not let that happen to me.  I know that we are eating healthier than we were a year ago and a year from now we’ll be eating even better.  And since I got pregnant in January 2010 we have come such a long way!  

I must stay balanced in my thinking and planning.  I cannot let the things I can’t do now get me down.  I praise God that he has shown me small things I can change and I know He is faithful to bless us with good health even if everything we eat is not organic, all natural, read food.

 Do you need to compromise your food standards to stay in budget? What compromises do you make?

 

Until Next Time,

Be Blessed!

This post shared at Monday Mania.

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8 responses to “Pastured Eggs and Store-bought Butter {Update}

  1. I no longer shop at the grocery store for most of my family’s food…and I’m saving money just by NOT walking in! As I own a company that makes organic and natural pet products (Dinovite), I would encourage you to read this article and change the way you feed your pet…to save you money! http://www.dinovite.com/blog/?p=220 It’s easy and cheap to feed a raw diet, especially since you have venison! All the stuff you don’t want to eat, your dog will love!
    And, many of the items you list that you want to change, you can cheaply do this as well. Make homemade cream cheese by simply draining your yogurt through a coffee filter. Protein whey is the liquid. Cream cheese is the solid.
    Peanut butter can be made in a high quality food processor or vitamix (worth the investment!)
    A friend of mine told me about a year ago that she can’t afford to eat like my family eats. Her son was munching on a $3.50 bag of cheese curls! If you cut out boxed cereals (eat eggs, oatmeal, smoothies instead), bagged/packaged “snacks” (eat real popcorn, cheese, fruits, etc. instead) you can stick to a budget and feed your dog good things as well. In the long run, you, your family and your pets will be healthier and it’s a better alternative than the $200 vet bills for a dog who is itching like crazy and is prescribed steroids!

    All the best on your journey! I know you can do it! It’s a challenge…but a good one to take on!

    • Cindy,
      Thanks for the dog food information. I will have to check that out. I have made some homemade cream cheese in the past and I need to start again. I tried homemade peanut butter in my no so high quality food processor and it was a but one of my goals this year is to own a much better quality processor. I find that as I make more things from scratch that my food processor comes in handy. Prior to the last 8 months I bet I used my food processor once in 7 years! Cheap didn’t matter but I see now that a good quality food processor is a staple (at least for me) in a Real Food kitchen.

  2. Good for you for making the changes. We made some huge changes in our life when it came to eating right a few years ago, at first due to circumstances. Now we eat mostly from scratch all the time. That being said, I do not make my yogurt, and we buy organic when we can. On our healthy eating meal plan and cooking classes that we do (similar to the Kelly The Kitchen Kop) the groceries, when we lived in the states, was about $350.00. In canada it works out to 480.00. That’s a huge difference. Very tempting to move back to the US, knowing I spend 2 thousand more a year in groceries!

  3. I compromise on butter too! Although I’ve started incorporating coconut oil and using more olive oil, we use a lot of butter and I simply can’t afford to pay for the raw stuff. That and in order to buy it I’d have to make a special trip to the natural foods store, so add half and hour worth of extra driving each way – so out of my budget!

    I am able to make my own bread at home because we have a wheat grinder and can buy bulk flour from a semi-local mill for drastically cheaper than we can buy flour, so I try to be content with what we can do and make baby steps in the right direction as we can. Thanks for posting!

    • Thanks for reading and commenting!
      It’s unfortunate that we have to travel so far to buy better quality food sometimes. Our “local” natural foods store is 45 minutes away so I know what you mean about travel. As gas prices soar I fear I may need to make more sacrifices to stay within the fuel budget.

  4. I found your site from the traffic you directed to mine. Thanks for the link! I know the balance of food and budget well unfortly for us budget normally wins. I can give you some suggestions on bread thefreshloaf.com is a great place to state they have “lessons” to follow. I would start using either ap flour or whole wheat flour with some ap (you need it or its to dense). It is easier then spelt but I found this recipe is not hard once you know what your doing http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spelt-bread-i/detail.aspx Just replace sugar with honey and butter with olive oil. Do you happen to have a BJ’s near you they have flours and organics cheaper then most stores. Glad to have found your site.

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