March week 2, Part 1

DISCLAIMER: this a a 2 part post.  I will post again on Monday with part 2.

I’m just going to plunge right in….I know what people think.

“Organic food in expensive.”

“Everyone eats like I eat.”

“I’d rather die happy than healthy–I’ll take my chances.”

I know these thoughts, because they were once mine.  Especially the expensive one.  I could not imagine HOW people ate organic food.  I chalked it up to it must only be rich people who do that, and I’m not rich.  I have to eat what I can afford.  I didn’t want to know what I was eating.  I just knew I couldn’t afford anything else—-so I blindly cut out coupons for food that shouldn’t be called food, grabbing the least expensive things I could get my hands on, not knowing (or wanting to know) what I was doing to my body.  Or the bodies of my family.  I explained back in February that we had a wake up call when my daughter was diagnosed with food allergies and I found Robyn O’Briens website and book, the UNhealthy  Truth.  From there we watched Food inc., followed by Jamie Oliver’s Food revolution (I recommend season 2 episode 2 to everyone!) and then anything we could find….like King Corn and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead ,to name two.

****I would like to challenge EVERYONE reading this to pick just ONE of the documentaries/episodes I mentioned above and WATCH IT. ****

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From that point, we knew one thing: WE HAD TO MAKE A CHANGE.

The changes were a little at a time.  We would pick one thing, like meat or milk and we would research it TO DEATH until we knew what we thought about that ONE thing and how we felt like it needed to change, and then we would CHANGE IT.  So, here, at this point in our lives, it is still a learning process.  We are still changing things little by little (for example, we just recently changed the water we drink.)

Here are a few things that we do:

*our main goal is to eat what is real.  we read labels.  If it has an ingredient list that takes an hour to read (you know what I mean!), we  don’t buy it.  If it has ingredients that we can’t pronounce, or don’t recognize, we don’t buy it.  If it has corn ANYthing (and it’s NOT a NONGMO product) as one of the first 5 ingredients (and we try to stick with things with 8-10 ingredients or less) we Don’t buy it.

{like apps?  Fooducate is a great one!  Scan any item and it ‘grades’ it for you!  My kids LOVE seeing the grades of their food! It’s free–get it!}

*We follow the dirty dozen/clean 15

{{If it is on the dirty dozen, it comes into our house organic or local (naturally) grown.  **for instance, the fruit stand right down the road from us does not want to pay the huge amount of money it would have to pay to officially become ‘USDA certified organic” but they grow their fruit without the use of harmful pesticides.  This is local food that is naturally grown.  This is my favorite kind of food to buy!**}}

*We stick to a low gluten/gluten-free diet

{{this is simply because it is better for your digestive track.  We have a couple of family members with celiac sensitivities and it’s just better for all of us.  We have also done a 30 day Paleo challenge, and still eat quite a few grain free meals.}}

*We DO NOT buy conventional chicken or beef.  We will go quite a bit into detail with this in a later post, but it is a no-compromise issue for us.  If we are tight on money, we incorporate more meat-free meals.

*We drink unhomogenized, lightly pasteurized  milk (We prefer raw, but don’t have a supplier at the moment).  We also use almond milk and coconut milk to cut back on our dairy intake.  We do not drink soy milk at all. (we will talk more about milk in a later post).

*We try to avoid sugar to the best of ability (it’s everywhere isn’t it???  And super yummy, to boot!)  We try to stick more to sweeteners such as local raw honey, maple syrup, molasses and sucanat.

({Fake sugar including aspartame, splenda and the like are OFF LIMITS.  We avoid them like the plague.  It’s just NOT REAL.}}

*We care where are eggs come from!!  We care about antibiotics and hormones given to chickens that our eggs come from, we care about how those chickens were raised and we are willing to pay a little more to make sure the eggs we eat are SAFE to eat!

*we try not to eat corn products that are not NON GMO.  This is not always possible, because….we live in America, but we try.  (watch king corn)

Those are the MOST important food issues to us.  Not the only important issues, but the MOST important.

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Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

We spend $400 a month on groceries.  This includes all of our food, toiletries, laundry supplies, diapers.  I don’t know how this compares to your grocery spending,  but I can tell you how it compares to the rest of America.  According to this gallop poll, the average american family spends $151 a week on food.

I love Publix.  There it is.  Out in the open.  Publix is clean, the people who work there treat you like you’re their long-lost sister….or daughter.  The aisles are nice and wide and they give you free cookies (and free dinner, if you time it right).  There cake is delicious, their pharmacists are the best and they practically BEG to push your cart full of cranky kids (and groceries) to the car and unload it all for you.  All of that being said, unless you are buying a few certain things OR using coupons, Publix is expensive.  I do get some things there.  They are the only place around that carries some things I occasionally feed my 11 month old.  I do shop there, I think they are a great company, but, unfortunately, when staying on my REAL budget for REAL food, I do better elsewhere.  We do most of our shopping at 3 stores.  Below I have tried to explain the system….

Dekalb Farmer’s Market

We do a great deal of our shopping at the  Dekalb Farmer’s Market. It is quite a hike for us, but it is worth it.  If you are looking for things they just don’t have at the grocery store, it is worth it.  And if you are trying to eat real food on a real-life budget, it is worth it.  We try to go twice a month.  Nope, it doesn’t always happen, but that is the goal.  This is where we get most of our produce.  Organic produce is hard to find  on the south side of Atlanta, and if you do find it, they want you to pay for it with body parts it’s so expensive.  There have been times when I have been in a bind and had to compromise, but it nearly kills me.  We also get our flour (whole wheat pastry, spelt flour and several different gluten-free varieties), spices, unhomogenized milk, I’ve just started buying lunch meat there and don’t think I can ever go back to the overly processed stuff, now.  We get almond butter and peanut butter (they grind it fresh right in front of your eyes!) there, maple syrup, coconut oil, dried fruit, nuts, sucanat, apple cider vinegar, and more.

Kroger

I also shop at Kroger.  They have great deals, they have a great natural food department and they have started carrying their own organic line of food called Simple Truth.  I always do well at Kroger (money. wise and health wise)!  I buy chicken at Kroger.  They have boxes of  harvestland chicken breasts (they also sell this brand at Wal-mart), and I have also bought Simple Truth Chicken.   Sometimes I buy eggs at Kroger (simple truth) if I can’t get them fresh from a farm.   I buy cereal there quite often, yogurt (I usually buy stoneyfield farm) if it’s a good price, and a few other things here and there that I can’t really remember.  I do buy butter there, usually.

**for those of you that don’t know, Kroger has a ‘clearance’ section that I LOVE to shop!  They almost always have some organic/natural food cereals and snacks back there.  It’s a great way to save!**

I also shop at Aldi.  They have a few good options at a low-cost, and my kids love putting a quarter in (and taking it out) for the cart.  It’s a great time. At Aldi, I buy cheese, tilapia and salmon.  That’s pretty much it.   Their salmon and tilapia are NOT farm raised (which is really important….I even ask at restaurants if it is farm raised before I order.  If it’s a yes, I pass).  The cheese is just regular cheese.  We have not made the switch to raw milk cheese yet and I will admit wholeheartedly that it is because of the cost.  There are other things that are more important to us.  I will say here that we do try to limit our dairy intake.  Some weeks it works, others it doesn’t.  I would love to be completely dairy free (except for maybe yogurt), but we are just not there yet.

So, there you have it.  This covers what is important to us, where we shop, what we buy where we shop and how much we spend.  Coming up in part 2 on Monday: HOW we grocery shop–as in WHEN we do, WHO does it and how all of that fits into our busy lives.  Also… an update on our weekly goals, and NEW WEEKLY GOALS

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