Saving Naturally & Eating Real Food

Photo Source: Saving Naturally

As you know one of my food goals for 2010 is to reduce the amount of processed foods our family consumes. We aren’t anywhere close to eliminating those items, but I am encouraged that we are making improvements.

A few months ago I read In Defense of Food and it has been very thought provoking. I’ve dabbled in “real food” here and there, often because it just tastes better and I am, after all, a food snob. But the more I read (which isn’t a ton), the more I’m convinced that going back to the basics is the way to go for our family.

My friend Stephanie recently launched a real food on a real budget kind of blog. Anyone who makes even the smallest effort to eat healthier foods know that they can be extremely expensive. Saving Naturally is a site where Stephanie shares how you can eat real food and save money in the process. She regularly posts deals and coupons that relate to healthier foods.

Recently she wrote about how much she really spends on groceries. It was helpful to me in understanding how we could go whole hog and still stay in the black.

What is your current food goal?

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Comments

  1. My ultimate goal would be to grocery “shop” a lot like Stephanie, but right now it’s very difficult where we are in our stage of life: living in an apartment (so no room for freezer storage or extensive pantry stock-up, also no garden), only one car (so I can’t go to nearby farms that sell good eggs and other foods), and a REALLY tight food budget that has to include expensive food substitutes for my DS who has a lot of food allergies. I do what I can, though, I always buy organic milk (raw milk is illegal here in MD also), whole grains, dried beans, lots of fresh produce (from the farmer’s market and organic when possible), and I am usually pretty good about avoiding processed foods. I’m kind of middle of the road right now but I’d love to be where she is! Thanks for posting the link – I’ve happened across her blog before, but now I think I should subscribe!

  2. I, too, also recently read Michael Pollan’s book. It was very convicting to me. My first goal has been to eliminate as much high fructose corn syrup from our diets as I can. I can’t bare to throw away what we already have but I’m trying not to buy anything new that has HFCS. It’s not to say we’ll never have it again, just in moderation. I’m along way off from not buying any processed foods but I’m taking positive baby steps. I just got Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. She challenges politically correct nutrition and talks about alot of the same things that Pollan does. I also want to ready some of Pollan’s other books. I’ll definitely check out Stephanie’s site. Thanks!

  3. I went “gluten-free” at the beginning of the year to see if that was the cause of my migraines – it was! – and doing so took a lot of the “processed foods” out of our diet. That made me decide to go as close to “processed-free” as I could. Ever since then, we’ve eaten through the foods that were cupboards but I never replaced them, spending the money on more produce and meat.

    These days, I find myself spending most of our $200 monthly food budget (Yes, $200 for myself and 2 kids) on eggs, meat/chicken, fruits and vegetables. Becuase my food budget is so small, I don’t dabble in the organic / grass-fed melarky that seems to be sweeping the nation. I buy my eggs from Target (1.19/dzn), meat, chicken and veggies from the local ethincal stores (chicken leg quarters for 69 cents celery for 39 cents!!!), and buy whatever fruit is on sale at the time. The kids drink homemade green tea (cheap at the Asian store down the street), limited milk (1 cup a day), and water – no more juice! Though I’m gluten-free, the kids have a sandwhich for lunch every day (bread from Target – about a buck a loaf), all-natural granola bars and sometimes homemade treats (I make a killer no-flour chocolate drop cookie).

    As you can see, it is doable. You just have to be willing to shop around a bit, compare prices and not take everything too seriously. I mean, when it all boils down to is that it’s FOOD – it’s there to fuel us.

  4. We’re a family of four plus two pets spending $400 – 450 Canadian, as a monthly average. I’m working towards a Nourishing Traditions-ish diet and would like to cut the monthly cost by about $50 by growing our own, eliminating the few processed items we use, and exploring alternative sources. I have brought out the canner and am considering a supplementary freezer.

  5. I’ve read the books, done the research, and see the wisdom in this type of eating, but we just can’t fit it into our budget. We already drive old cars and buy clothes at the thrift. There’s nothing else to cut. On a ministry salary we simply don’t have $100 a week to spend on food if we want to do anything else besides eat! Sure, we could eat organic beans and rice all the time, but there is something to be said for variety. So we’ve decided to do what we can afford. We go the whole foods route for the most part but forgo the organic/grassfed/local of it. Most of my food comes off the tree to me via Aldi. This leaves enough for things like going on camping vacations, piano lessons for the kids, sponsoring a World Vision child, and caring for the needy in our church fellowship.
    Another thing I’ve noticed in the past year or so is how easily this can morph into a religious ritual thing. As a Christian, I have to remember that whatever I eat or drink must be done to the glory of God.

  6. Our food goal is to stop eating out so much. Life gets busy and we wind up spending so much money on takeout and restaurants. I started writing a blog about it, hoping it would help me stick to not eating out, so far it has! Plus we’re constantly striving to eat less processed foods and just healthier in general, even though it’s hard sometimes!

  7. I have been making (almost) every bite of food that my son has eaten since birth. – No baby food jars for this family.

    If I am that picky about what my son eats, I should really be as picky about what my husband and I eat, too. I have reduced the amount of processed foods that we eat. I buy fresh ingredients versus packaged foods 90% of the time (I can’t give up my pasta).

    We have utilized our chest freezer and buy bulk meat to freeze and use throughout the year. I have also added more vegetables to every dish that I make.

    Besides having less processed food in our diets, my husband and I have adjusted our food intake (which lowers our food bill as well) and I have lost 30 lbs in 4 months.

  8. I also recently ready In Defense of Food, and have been making little changes here and there. I was already making more and more of our meals at home from scratch, so using better and more natural ingredients seemed a logical next step. I’ve started getting my produce from a local food co-op and boy does that make a difference! Much cheaper and much better quality. I don’t think I can completely eliminate processed foods, but I’ve already noticed that cutting back has made a difference. I am satisfied by smaller amounts of food, just like Pollan talks about in his book. The next thing I’m going to try is baking with whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. I’m hoping it will work just as well, because I love to bake!

    I do have to agree with Saralyn though, I have noticed that healthy eating can become almost devotional to some people (and particularly in my area amongst the organic crowd), so I also have tried to keep perspective on it.

  9. i do want to read ‘in defense of food’ but haven’t gotten to it yet. we eat fairly healthy (and buy very little processed foods) but i know there is still room to grow. however, we are paying off my husband’s school debt and i am on a grad student stipend so we cannot afford to go 100% organic or natural or whatever labels you want to call it. i so agree with others- eating and food cannot become my religion or my faith. my faith in God is more than enough, and a balanced diet is good enough for now.

  10. I love that I look in my grocery cart and check out and it’s mostly produce. Then I look at the person ahead of me and it’s mostly JUNK. Then all guilt about my kids not eating perfectly is completely gone. And you’re right, it’s definitely cheaper!

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