Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Yes, you can afford real food
I can't afford real food! I hear it alot. If you are buying processed "health foods" yes, it can be expensive. If you are paying for brands and labels it can be overwhelming. The biggest part of eating real food is finding the sources of "good, whole food" at prices that can fit into your budget.
1. A well stocked pantry and fridge is key. A well stocked pantry includes herbs and spices, good oils, and wonderfully flavored vinegars. it also includes beans, lentils, rice, and a variety of whole grains as well as canned fruits, vegetables, and beans. Keeping the fridge stocked with fruits and vegetables is important. Keep fruits and veg cut up at eye level. Keep pre-cooked grains and beans in the fridge. They can be thrown into soups or salads if they are cooked and ready to go. Dinner can be made in a snap if the time consuming work is already done (veg chopped, grains cooked). Cooked grains and lentils/beans will stay good in the fridge up to 10 days.
2. Invest in a freezer. Buy good quality meat in bulk. Buy half a cow. Buy a pig. Grow your own produce and store it. Buy when there is an overwhelming bunch of produce and it is dirt cheap. We bought blueberries this last week and now we have enough berries to last. It cost about 10% of what it would have been otherwise. It took just a few minutes to wash and freeze them for later use. Learning a few simple preservation skills is essential to eating and living well.
3. Buy in bulk. Start small, but work up to buying in bulk. Pre-packaged grains are fine in the beginning while you are finding out what foods you family likes. Find out what your family will eat, and then buy those things in bulk. Some of the grains can be so expensive in a package (2 or 3 dollars a pound) yet, in bulk those same grains can be super cheap (less than a dollar a pound). There are options out there, you just have to search them out. Ask your store to expand the health section or get a bulk food section. There are online resources that can be utilized. Sometimes if you buy in bulk you can save on shipping. Find a few friends with similar values, and share the cost of bulk buying with them.
4. Learn how to navigate the grocery store. Shop the perimeter, and lower/upper shelves of the grocery store. The middle isles right at eye level are where the most unhealthy foods are located. The store is arranged with the big brand, over processed foods at eye level. (even the health food stores do this) Look up and down. The healthy foods are usually located on the highest and lowest shelves. I spend 90% of my time browsing the outer perimeter of the store. I rarely go down those middle isles and when I do, I usually keep my eyes near the ground, looking up only to scan the upper shelves (and watch out for other shoppers)
5. 80/20 rule. This means that you strive to eat well and get good nutrition 80% of the time. This gives us room to have cheat days. It does not have to be an all or nothing thing. So many people get on an "all or nothing" kick. They then beat themselves up when their diet is not perfect, then they give up because they cannot achieve this elusive "perfect diet". There is no perfect diet. The key is to make the changes for the long haul that are sustainable. 100% perfection for a week, and then collapsing on the floor and going back to the junk because it was to darn hard, this is not sustainable. Simple choices and changes one peice at a time makes it easier to incorporate it all into a sustainable way of life.
6. Change the mind set. We get it into our minds that if we eat differently, people won't understand why I make these choices. We get into the mind set of some foods are "evil". Many men and children have the mindset that healthy food tastes like dirt. There are many who are of the mindset that vegetables and grain are for animal feed not for humans. There are many stories that we tell ourselves about the food we eat, Some of it conscious and some way back in the depths of the sub-conscious mind. For me, I had to get over emotional eating issues. "I eat to fuel my body, not to feed my emotions" I had to repeat that over and over again until it became a part of me. It is not a diet for the short haul it is a journey of good health.
I hope that I have helped you to change your mindset to "I can do this". Take your family on the journey of good health. It is a journey well worth taking.
This post is shared with several link-ups including well fed wednesdays