In my early days of changing how I ate, I was often asked the question…”How can you afford that?”
“What? Real food? Whole foods? The stuff our ancestors ate?”
People assumed I was buying expensive food and that it cost more than their food choices, keeping them happily in ignorant bliss. While most of my meals are vegan, you my find less than perfect choices in my cart at any given time. I’m not perfect, nor is my family and I would never expect that from my clients, friends and family. What I do want you to realize is that you can continue to make small changes daily or weekly to reach better health and vitality.
My food budget has not changed and for my family of six is around $800 a month. That includes the much-needed TP, hair care, razors, soap, and other items I may pick up at the grocery store or Costco. I know smaller families who spend this much but their carts include expensive meats, processed lunch meats, chips, soda, boxes of instant everything and handy frozen items. I know I could reduce my total grocery amount but we don’t want every meal to be beans and rice now do we? I do enjoy the convenience of jarred Muir Glen sauce instead of making my own marinara sauce. I buy canned beans and tomatoes when I can get them on sale. I buy bulk bags of brown rice and quinoa, beans, raw cacao powder and other items I use regularly. Amazon subscribe and save program can get you handy deals (although if your concerned about eating local and trucking fuel costs, this may not be your favorite choice.) As I said, I’m not perfect! However, when you trade out what at first appears to be cheaper (processed boxed items and on sale meat,) you can afford real, healthy food. Food your body knows what to do with. Food with ingredients on the list your grandmother would understand. That saying is true! Quinoa is inexpensive from the bulk bin and provides ample protein. Add in some veggies and you’ve got a complete one-pot meal that is fast and easy and made from whole foods.
For instance, this week one of our meals was a Pineapple Quinoa stir-fry. Easy as pie. Replace the water you would cook your quinoa in with pineapple juice-cook and chill quinoa for an hour to overnight. Then you can add it in as part of your stir-fry with garlic, pineapple, red pepper, peas or other veggies and add in some chopped almonds for a varied texture and yumm! Flavor explosion! The great thing about quinoa is that it makes fabulous meals hot or cold, salads or soups. I implore you to look up this grain! A dear friend told me about this while she was going to school at Bastyr near Seattle over 10 years ago and it’s finally catching on. You can even get it at Costco now. So don’t be shy…give quinoa a try! (Was that too cheezy?)
Another meal we had this week was a simple Arabian soup made from lentils and brown rice and its flavors were enhanced with cumin and coriander. I was on a role that day and made Persian cookies as a treat which were full flavored with a light citrus kick from lime and zest. One of these days I’ll get a better camera and get photos going, but for now I want you to think outside the box. Don’t let time limit you in your quest for health. Try something new each week.
A spice, grain, veggie or whole recipe. That’s easy enough to add in. Not an eating overhaul but sustainable change.
I want you to consider the humble bean. They’re cheap, full of protein and fiber and can become anything from burgers to fancy plated fare. You can cook them in a crock pot all day and then season them or add them to another recipe when your home from work. Easy, cheap, and not boring when you open your eyes. Think black beans, edamame, red onion, and cabbage mixed with rice vinegar and a little agave in a cold summer salad (oops…this is Washington in June, I need to be thinking stews still!) The color alone would make jump for joy!
We eat as much fresh, real food as possible while balancing real family life. Do I get tired of chopping onion? Sometimes. I’m human. We’re all at different places in our eating journey and I enjoy easy meals as much as the rest of the world. But I also know the difference in how I feel after a whole foods meal and something from the Standard American Diet (SAD). Think about how you felt?
Were you bloated, tired and grumpy within two hours? Depressed?
Food creates our blood chemistry. Blood gives life to our cells, tissues and muscle. It literally makes up who you are and how you feel.
Here are some basic real food eating habits to work on that will lead you on a sustainable path to wellness.
- If you must eat meat, please buy cage free, wild, organic and us it as a condiment only. I grew up eating lunch meat, hotdogs, wild game, chicken, hamburgers etc. Keep in mind this way of eating is not sustainable for our planet. Someday your grandkids may not have a choice but to reduce or eliminate consumption. Teach them how countries around the world use meat only as a sliver of the meal and not the whole focus.
- Reduce dairy consumption. If you eat, cheese in your eggs, milk in your cereal, cheese on your sandwich, yogurt for a snack and ice cream for dessert you will end up feeling slow, backed up and unclear. Test it for yourself.
- Add in the greens-try green smoothies for maximum green consumptions and help getting your body’s ph more alakline.Try sauteing greens in olive oil or garlic and add in a sprinkling of chopped nuts of choice. One of my favorite lunches!
- Try quinoa or brown rice. I still have friends who eat a lot of white rice. They say their kids/husbands won’t change. Try mixing half brown rice with white until the mixture becomes more brown than white. Do it for your kids (no guilt here!)
- Stock up your spice cupboard. I have to admit. I’m a spice junky. This was a big expense when I started making big changes but now where simply maintaining our supply. Buy one new spice each grocery trip and you’ll have everything on hand when you try something new and it won’t break the bank. It will open up a world of flavor and your mouth will sing!
- Teach your family fruit comes from sunshine and dirt not packets of 6-10 in a box. My son takes an apple and orange with him everyday in his lunch and usually enjoys a banana at breakfast. Strawberries, blueberries and cantaloupe-oh my!
The point is to not be overwhelmed with too much change to fast. Pick something that feels do-able in your family and commit to do it. Your flesh might squirm and say, “I can’t afford fresh fruit or new spices.” Or the famous, “I don’t have time for all that planning, chopping and cooking.” It doesn’t have to cost any more than you spend now. It won’t take more time other than in the beginning while you’re searching for flavorful recipes your family will eat. Soon it becomes second nature.
You have time for what you choose to focus on! Make your LIFEcare a priority or you won’t have a life at all!
You can be the vibrant, healthy, balanced person you’ve daydreamed about being. Life is a mindset.
Live Life Pure! Need help? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org