"SHOPPING FOR HEALTH"
Think you cant afford to shop in the health food store, the cost of organically grown foods, good cold pressed oils and high quality supplements too rich for your budget? Wondering why anyone would pay $5-7 dollars for a pint of cold pressed olive oil or $1.99 a pound for tomatoes? Hopefully I can begin to convince you that you cant afford not to.
I found the research for this article confusing at best. The average American budget to feed a family of four is now a staggering $150-200 per week. Coupon clipping and sale shopping yield only small savings, the stores plan it that way. It should come as a surprise there is no money left to spend in a health food store.
Lets look at what we are buying. The top ten items ranked by dollar amount spent at the grocery store are, Marlboro Cigarettes, Coca Cola Classic, Pepsi Cola, Kraft Processed Cheese Foods, Diet Coke, Campbells Soup, Budweiser Beer, Tide detergent, Folgers Coffee And Winston Cigarettes. The nutritional value of all of these items, possibly with the exception of the soup is a nutritional negative net.
We as Americans may pride ourselves as intelligent, but we are flunking basic nutrition which adds up to millions in terms of poor health and empty pockets. You can free up literally hundreds of dollars from your budget every year including fewer over-the-counter medicines, fewer sick days and increased productivity by shopping and eating more wisely-heres how.
Try shop first in the fresh fruit and vegetable section of the store. Then plan at least three meals a week around fresh produce rather than meats or highly processed foods.
Stay out of the mid section of the store. This is where all the high priced, overly processed junk food is. The average shopper with a cart full of very expensive junk food will simply by pass the produce in a last minute effort to save some money.
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, theyre cheaper. Stick to the basics such as white vinegar, baking soda and phosphate free soaps when it comes to cleaning supplies. They are earth friendly and much cheaper.
If you can find a high quality brand of supplements in the discount sore thats fine, otherwise get them in the health food store or from your health care practitioner. Skimping on supplements will not help you stay well or avoid sick days and lost income.
Buy your spices in the health food store. You can buy very small amounts very inexpensively. They are fresher and still contain some of their original healing properties. After you buy 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 to buy high quality foods at a fraction of the store price.
It will take some time and effort to change your shopping habits, what you eat and how you prepare food. The immediate rewards are better tasting food for less, less waste, better for the environment and more money in your pocket. The long term rewards are increased energy and vitality, and a better quality of life.
Next week in part two Ill share my comparison shopping trip and a few of my favorite recipes. Till next time, Rebecca
"SHOPPING FOR HEALTH"
Last week in part one of shopping for health we looked at the high cost of processed foods, how to free up money from your grocery budget yet have better foods and a few musts from the health food store. This week in part two well look at some menus and the actual cost.
My comparison shopping trip included a trip to three grocers, and the health food store. The nice surprise, the cost varied little from grocery to grocery, the even bigger surprise many of the items were no more or just slightly more than the cost at the health food store. Inexpensive bulk items made shopping and saving possible in the health food store, especially spices. Just one example, I paid 35 cents for 1/8th ounce of cumin at the health food store and $4.05 for _ ounce at the grocery.
You will notice the following meals are meatless. A few meatless meals cuts food costs and is beneficial to your health. The costs of some items are estimated such as oils, cheeses or other ingredients used sparingly.
Pasta with Artichoke Hearts (serves four)
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts $1.89
1 sml can black olives, drained $ .79
l med size tomato $1.15
1/2C chopped onion $ .40
1-2 cloves garlic $ .30
1/2lb organic pasta $1.89
3Tbsp each Feta & grated Parmesan cheese $1.00
Lightly sauté garlic, tomato and onion in oil, add black olives and artichoke hearts plus marinating juices. Serve over pasta. Sprinkle lightly with Fetta and Parmesan. Serve with garlic, sour dough, or other hearty organic bread $2-3. Cost per serving approx. $2.25-$2.65.
Black Bean Soup (serves 4-6)
1/lb organic black beans $ .79
4 C water
1-2 bay leaves $ .15
1-2 cloves garlic $ .30
1 Sml onion $ .40
2 cubes vegetable stock $ .99
1 tsp. Spike $ .10
1/3C BBQ sauce (from health food
store) $ .75
Soak beans over night, drain, add water, garlic stock, onion, bay leaf and Spike. Cook until beans are tender. Add BBQ sauce, more if desired, plus sea salt if needed. Remove bay leaf. Blend _ 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. $1.24-$1.50.
Grilled Vegetable and Portabella Mushroom Sandwiches (makes four)
2 portabella mushrooms $1.99
1 Grn 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 (cost $2) with clarified butter or garlic infused olive oil. Dress with horseradish may sauce, soy mayo or mustard. Cost per serving approx $1.70.