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.
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.
I 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.
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!)
- 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)
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,
This post shared at Monday Mania.