Think you can't afford to shop in the health food store? The cost of organically grown foods, good cold pressed oils and high quality supplements are too rich for your budget? Wondering why anyone would pay $5-7 dollars for a pint bottle of cold pressed olive oil or $1.99 a pound for tomatoes? I can tell you; those that are shopping in the health food stores wonder how you can afford not to!
When you're done at the grocery, your head is reeling! The average American budget to feed a family of four is $125- $150 a week. You clip coupons, shop the sales yet nothing seems to get any better. There's still no money left over to shop in a health food store.
Consider this- where do you and especially your children get most of your information regarding food? And, do you think the ad campaigns costing literally hundreds of millions of dollars are aimed at your family's health and well being? We as Americans may pride ourselves as intelligent, but we're flunking basic nutrition, which costs you millions in terms of poor health.
The study is now old but ''The 1992 Top-Ten Almanac by Michael Robbins listed these top tens ranked by dollar amount spent at the grocery store. Marlboro cigarettes, Coca Cola Classic, Pepsi Cola, Kraft Processed Cheese, Diet Coke, Campbell's Soup, Budweiser beer, Tide detergent, Folger's coffee, Winston cigarettes. The nutritional value of all of these items, POSSIBLY with the exception of the soup is nutritionally, a negative net.
You can free up literally hundreds of dollars every year in several areas of your budget including fewer over-the-counter medications such as antacids and headache remedies, fewer illness related doctor visits, fewer sick days and increased productivity by shopping and eating more wisely, here's how-
When entering the store, go immediately to the fresh fruit and vegetable section. Plan meals at least a few meals, around produce rather than meats and highly processed foods.
Stay out of the mid section of the store. This is where all the high priced, overly processed junk food is. Some stores have gotten better, but many stores still require you to walk through the deli (the highest priced foods), past all the junk foods, to the very back of the store where the produce section is located. The average shopper with a cart full of very expensive junk food will simply by pass the produce in an effort to save some money. The stores actually make very little if any money on produce, of course it's going to be in the back.
Many consumer wise stores are beginning to offer healthier foods such as cold pressed oils, wonderful vinegars, organic produce, soy and rice milks at a little better price than the specialty health food stores. Take advantage of their bargains.
Buy toiletry, laundry and cleaning supplies at the discount store rather than the grocery, they're cheaper. Stick to the basics with cleaning supplies, things that are earth friendly. Do buy recycled plastics and paper when possible. What's healthy for the earth is healthy for you.
If you can find a high quality brand of supplements in the discount store, that's fine, otherwise get them in the health food store or from your health care practitioner. Everyone should be utilizing some supplements, but don't get sold a bill of goods here either. Good supplements shouldn't break the bank.
Buy your spices in the health food store where you can buy very small amounts very inexpensively. They're fresher and will still have some of their original value as healing and balancing agents. After you get your spices, walk over to the bulk bins and stock up on rice, grains, legumes and beans. Bulk is a very inexpensive way to buy.
If you have a large family, or can group together with friends, join a food co-op. This is a wonderful way of taking advantage of very high quality foods at a very low price.
It will take some time and effort on your part to change your shopping habits, what you eat and how you prepare food. In time, most people make a fundamental shift in how they view food and what they are and are not willing to put in their bodies. The immediate rewards- better tasting food for less, less waste, better for the environment and more money in your pocket! Long-term rewards- increased energy and vitality, a higher quality of life and, maybe even more of it.
Next week we'll go shopping. I'll prepare a few of my favorite meals, complete. I'll break the cost down to per serving and show you just how CHEAP good eating can be!
Till next time, Rebecca.
Last week in part one we talked about the high cost of processed foods, shopping in the health food store and how to free up money to buy high quality supplements. This week in part two we'll look at some menus and the actual cost.
I did do some comparison shopping, some in the grocery, some in the health food store and some with newspaper grocery ads. The nice surprise, the cost varied a little from grocery to grocery, but many of the items were no more or just slightly above the cost in the health food store. Or, the cost averaged out because of bulk items available in the health food store, especially spices. Just one example, I paid 35 cents for about an eighth of an ounce of cumin at the health store- the grocery, $4.05 for one half ounce.
You will notice the following meals are meatless. It's not essential to cutting food costs to always have meatless meals, yet it is beneficial for our health as well as the budget. Meat does not always need to be the main focus in our meals.
Here are some of my favorite recipes that can feed and nourish a hungry crew deliciously and inexpensively. The cost of some items are estimated or difficult to figure such as oils, cheeses or other ingredients used sparingly, but does not add significantly to the total cost.
PASTA WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS (serves four)
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts $1.89
l sm can black olives, drained $ .79
l med size tomato$1.15
1/2c chopped onion$ .40
1-2 cloves garlic$ .30
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2lb organic pasta$1.89
3 Tbsp feta cheese & grated
parmesan$1.00 approx cost
Lightly saute garlic, tomato & onion in oil; add black olives & artichoke hearts plus the marinating juices. Serve over pasta sprinkled lightly with feta & Parmesan. Serve with garlic, sour dough, or other hearty bread $2-3. Cost per serving approx $2.25- 2.65
BLACK BEAN SOUP (serves 4-6)
1lb organic black beans, 4 c water $ .79
1-2 bay leaves$ .15
1-2 cloves garlic$ .30
1 sm onion$ .40
2 cubes vegetable stock$ .99
1 tsp. spike$ .10
1/3c BBQ sauce, from the health store$ .75
Soak beans overnight, drain, add water, garlic, stock, onion, bay leaf & spike. Cook until beans are tender. Add BBQ sauce, more if desired, plus sea salt if needed. Remove bay leaf. Blend 1/2 of soup in blender to give it a smoother creamier texture. Serve with red hot blue organic chips ($1.99) or a sour dough peasant loaf $2. Cost per serving approx. $1.25-1.50
GRILLED VEGETABLE & PORTABELLA MUSHROOM SANDWICHES (makes four)
2 portabella mushrooms$1.99
1 green bell pepper$ .50
1 sweet red onion$ .59
1 med zucchini$ .60
Lightly grill veggies on oiled surface. Brush sour dough or organic whole wheat bread with clarified butter or olive oil with garlic. Dress with horseradish mayo sauce, soy mayo, mustard whatever you like. Organic sour dough bread $2-3. Cost per serving approx $1.70