Once you have a bit of knowledge and believe it’s true, it’s time to get started. Some people make all their changes at once, usually because a health scare convinces them to! Others do it because that is their personality. But most of us need to realize it is okay to make changes gradually. It is silly to think “I cannot afford organic meat, fruit, and vegetables therefore I will continue to eat at McDonald’s and buy Little Debbies.” There is a middle ground. Also, there are rungs of the ladder. I have never been a McD’s and Little Debbies eater, thanks to my Mom, however I certainly wasn’t a quinoa and coconut oil eater either. Wherever we are on the ladder, at certain intervals in life we will learn more, believe more, and move up a rung. There’s no shame in being where you are. There are definitely some things I eat still that people ahead of me on this health path would cringe at…I am still learning.
I’d like to talk about basic foods and meals you can start with that are whole, real, inexpensive foods. A couple things first:
*The hope is that eventually all the things in boxes and wrappers and fast food drive throughs would simply be crowded out, because like I wrote yesterday, these things eaten on a regular basis are making the systems of our body stressed to the point of pain and disease. As they are crowded out, you are feeling full and satisfied, your digestive system will be working better, and you just won’t have room for the other stuff. I am so thankful to report that a healthy fat at every meal/snack will make you feel better and more full that junk ever did…otherwise, I could not have done it. No reason to be hungry, folks! I just have to say it…”Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
*The foods I am going to mention are not completely unprocessed, because like I said I am coming from a place of middle ground. If I said you had to grind your own peanut butter and make your own almond milk, you would be done with it and I would, too. But it’s a step in the right direction, and each of us have to see which of these minimally processed items works for us and which do not.
At ALDI, my favorite grocery store and a genuine gift from God:
-Eggs (I eat two for breakfast. It is the only breakfast that makes me feel awesome until lunch! Eating eggs dropped my cholesterol like crazy, and the healthy fat/protein ratio is fantastic. Eat eggs!) You can have breakfast for one person for 6 days on $1.29!!!
-Oatmeal (Cheap and easy in the microwave! I add cinnamon, 1 tsp of honey, and frozen blueberries to the kids and they love it. I personally don’t like oatmeal, but its very good for you and I eat it when I have to.) There’s another breakfast you can have for one for about $2.00 a week.
-All natural PB- Eventually I will go to an even less processed type of PB but right now, this is what we do. It’s a good protein/fat combo and I eat a tablespoon of this for a midday snack with a piece of fruit a couple times a week. I think it’s a great, inexpensive thing to give to kids–smear 1 tbsp on apple slices–and their snack cost $.50 at the most.
-Spinach/lettuce/cucumbers/mushrooms/tomatoes/4 kinds of peppers/onions/potatoes/sweet potatoes/etc– The way I get my veggies in is I have a cup full of raw veggies at lunch and then a huge salad with at least 3 handfuls of spinach and other veggies/leaves at supper. I also put spinach or kale in my protein shake. Personally, I have no problem feeding my family white potatoes a couple times a week, if you were wondering. It is a starch so I would also have a green veggie with it, but sometimes they just need something like that to help them fill up.
-Fruit (organic or other)- I usually get 4-5 different types of fruit per week. I eat at least one piece a day at lunch or snack and the kids have at least 2. Produce can certainly add up, but if you aren’t buying snack cups of applesauce, fruit roll ups, etc anymore, you may find more room than you thought in the budget. I rarely leave Aldi’s having spent more than $65. When you eat fruit, have a protein and if possible a little fat with it, to keep your blood sugar stable.
-Chicken- I get a frozen bag with 8 breasts in it for about $6. It would be ideal to get organic but I’m not able to do that right now.
-Tilapia- Frozen bag, great price and so easy to cook.
-Soy or almond milk- These are minimally processed as well. Most people are not doing soy these days. I’ll talk more about that another day. These milks have the calcium and vitamin D of cow’s milk. In all my studies, I have simply found that cows and their milk have been so messed with (hormones, stimulants to make them produce more milk, pasteurization process killing the natural enzymes) that I choose to steer clear. HA, I just re-read that, no pun intended! Our family isn’t completely dairy free, we just do not consume major quantities of it. This has helped sinus and digestive problems.
-Bag of dry pinto beans
SAM’s (but this is not cheap, I don’t think):
-Bags of raw nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts) I think these are a perfect protein and I have at least one serving a day at one of my mini-meals. It’s a great protein/healthy fat combo which we need to stay full!
-If you’re going to have dairy, try Fage Greek Yogurt
-They have frozen berries also (I love eating a bowl of these actually still frozen, it’s like ice cream!)
-Hormel -lunchmeat that is nitrate free. This is definitely processed and you can decide for yourself if you want to eat it. It’s a compromise that is sometimes necessary for my family.
-Rice pasta, corn pasta, or quinoa (or you can get these at Bulk Food stores at a much better price!)-These along with brown rice are the only grain carbohydrates we eat. Some people do not eat corn in any way, shape, or form, you can study that for yourself if you care that much! 🙂
-Laura’s Lean Beef- This is where I get my high quality beef. It is NOT cheap, but we don’t eat beef that often.
***Yes, I go to three grocery stores plus I get a few things at the D&D but I usually only go to Sams, Kroger, and D&D once a month, while I go to Aldi every week. Also, there are definitely a few other items I pick up, too, like spaghetti sauce, canned beans, sausage every now and then, etc. We are not 100% purists. Where we are on the ladder right now is finding a place of balance. We have to learn and balance hunger, health, special food needs, and fun. I remember about four years ago throwing away anything in our house that had high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated soybean oil. A couple years ago, I looked for hidden sugars in everything and got rid of most of that, for example exchanging jam for fruit spread. Then one year ago, we threw away anything in our house that contained wheat (that’s another blog for another day). It’s going to keep progressing little by little.***
So…here are some meals with those foods!
Breakfast: Eggs or oatmeal
Lunch: Leftover meat or Hormel lunchmeat, fruit, raw veggies OR cheese, fruit, veggies OR beans and rice in the crockpot and eat as leftovers with raw veggies
Snack: Peanut butter on an apple or banana OR a handful of nuts and carrots OR greek yogurt with frozen berries
Supper: A big salad; one carb besides the salad if you choose to, such as rice pasta, brown rice, sweet potato fries, white potato, quinoa; chicken, fish, or beef. You all can be a lot more creative than me, but we have a lot of taco salad, chicken in the crockpot, fish or beans with rice, hamburgers on lettuce leaves, soups and chilis, spaghetti, and a few casseroles.
Snack: frozen berries and nuts OR something small from the other meal ideas
There are certain dietary issues people have, and little picky eaters, but I think it’s just important to dig in and start doing what you CAN do. These are the foods available to my people, and they eat it! I realize it isn’t quite that simple for some, but the Lord will give you wisdom about your path for yourself and your family. I will say that if you can switch to 90% whole, real food you will see changes now and less disaster physically later…We have found that eating like this most of the time has taken care of our health issues and when we do have a splurge like birthday cake or pizza from a restaurant, we feel the difference. You don’t see what it’s doing until you get away from it. Then as you add it back in, you realize just how cruddy those foods made you feel.
Also, about the budget side of things–Having a large family (which we hope to have as time goes on) is a choice, and when we make that choice, the fact is the grocery bill is going to go up. It just is, no way around it! But I don’t think that means you can’t eat well. You may not get to eat out. You may not get to buy snack foods except for a movie night every now and then. But I really do believe that families can survive and thrive on whole, real foods. I think for an adult or older child (like 6+), each can eat on about $2-$3 a day. That is $60-$90 per older child/adult per month. I think that is a reasonable amount of money for our #1 physical need to be met!! Also, I promise that health problems, addiction to sugar, etc. are way more expensive in the long run. But again, change things at the pace you want to. Maybe get rid of cereal and do eggs or oatmeal. Maybe get rid of chips and cookies and offer fruit and nuts for snacks instead.
I have went ON AND ON AND ON but those of you who were asking for these details, I hope this blog post helped! Journey Well, Friends!