Eating real food is a growing trend. How sad is it that that statement is actually true? It’s actually been in existence for thousands of years. The whole length of Earth’s existence, actually. But society has been overrun with over processed and manufactured foods. And by manufactured I mean just that. 80% (Ok, it’s probably MORE than that, but still…insert any percentage you feel happy with) of ingredients in food products you buy on the shelf of a store, you can’t even pronounce, or it’s chemically made. Gross, right?
Head to your local Natural Grocers or Whole Foods, and you often find that prices seem to run a bit higher than your general grocery stores, or Walmart. I HATE Walmart, yet I continue to shop there because of the prices. One day, I will stop…maybe. But would you rather have Yellow dye #4 and Sodium Die-carbon-I-don’t-even-know-what-this-word-is-but-i’m-going-to-ingest-it-anyways in your food, or ingredients you actually KNOW what they are (and are for sure an actual FOOD)?
Trust me, I know how it is to struggle with money. We are a single income military family with two small children. We struggle to make ends meet nearly every month, and we don’t live beyond our means. Seriously. My parents came to visit and said “WHAT ARE YOU WEARING” and then proceeded to take me clothes shopping. I think the last time I went clothes shopping was like, 4 years ago?
So what can you do to make eating REAL FOOD more affordable? A package of Ramen is cheap, so is a jar of spaghetti sauce. I’m not even going to touch on Ramen (it’s the bain of food subjects in my marriage…well that and the necessity of eating vegetables. Yes, I hide vegetables in food so my 28 year old husband will eat them…shhhhhh) but how much MORE expensive is it to make your own spaghetti sauce, without all the yucky stuff? And the good thing, you can make things in BULK and can (or freeze) them. But I digress…tomatoes, garlic and spices can make a beautiful sauce, that really takes no more time than it takes you to cut up some tomatoes and throw in your favorite spices. Like marinara style sauces? Blend that chunky sauce up, and there ya go!
Bake your own bread. It’s super easy, and there are SO many healthy recipes! Try soaking your flour before baking if you have gluten intolerance issues. Soaking and sprouting help make grains more digestible! Keep a sourdough starter going, sourdough bread is easy to digest, and super easy to make. It’s water and flour people. You can do it, I have faith in you!
Buy meat in bulk…do it sometime after tax return season if you can. Instead of spending the money on other things take a chunk of change ($500) and buy yourself a half, or quarter depending on your local market, of a cow and put it in the freezer. Sure, it seems like a lot of change up front…but think of all the times you WON’T go to the store and buy a ton of meat. Buy whole, organic (pastured if you can) chickens and cut the pieces yourself. Then you have different chicken parts AND bones for stock. Now that’s what you call a WIN WIN right there, folks!
Back to Walmart vs Natural Grocers. I issue you this challenge. Go to a Natural Grocers/Whole Foods. See what the prices are ON THE STUFF YOU WOULD ACTUALLY BUY AND EAT. Because it’s a giant waste of money if you AREN’T going to eat it, but buy it because it’s healthy. Don’t like flax seeds? DON’T BUY THEM. Don’t buy liver because it’s good for you and then let it sit in your freezer until it’s freezer burned and gets thrown in the trash. I often find that quite a few things, like apple cider vinegar (I use the raw unfiltered kind of AVC) is cheaper at Walmart, but the same brand. I buy most of my “basic” products at Walmart like flour, sugar, EVOO, sugar, spices etc. I just take an extra moment to look at labels. Ones that are Non-GMO Project Verified and Organic are top choices for me. Don’t have access to raw milk to make your own sour cream or yogurt? Look for labels with TWO ingredients, milk and cultures. Like Daisy Sour Cream. Yes, those horrible dairy facilities are a terror to imagine, but start somewhere reasonable.
Make GRADUAL changes. Don’t go throw out your entire pantry just because it’s not organic. Use what you have, and slowly get into the habit of buying better. Make meal plans. Don’t get meat out and then say, “Let’s go out to eat, I’m tired.” You are wasting money in TWO ways. PS I am TOTALLY guilty of doing this from time to time, but no one is perfect. Improvement is a funny thing…you have to keep doing it for things to change.
I should probably mention that there are multitudes of benefits to eating Real Food, including healing food allergies, skin and weight issues, overall health and energy…the list goes on and on. So if you discount all the money you are probably spending on all those medications, or diet pills etc, you are going to end up saving a lot in the long run. And you will only be happier for it. Written by Nichelle of littlehomesteadontherange.com