Isn't It Too Expensive To Eat Naturally?
Isn't it too expensive not to?
How much do doctor's appointments, medications and illness cost in lost finances, time and stress?
If you are truly purchasing and eating whole, natural foods (not just healthy-sounding prepared foods, or nutritious-looking convenience foods) it can be done very reasonably. Grains and beans are incredibly cheap, and in-season fruits and vegetables are very reasonable. Foods poor in nutrition, high in processing and convenience, are pretty expensive (look at the cost per pound of sugary, nutritionally-devoid box cereals). When you start grocery shopping for wholesome eating you'll find you are spending more time in different parts of the grocery store. You'll be hanging out in the produce and bulk or whole food sections much longer than previously. But an even greater change than shopping in another area of the store, however, is shifting your mindset regarding the money you spend on foods. It seems we never had too much trouble springing $ 2.00 for a tasty convenient snack (like a box of brownies), but we might feel that a mango or cantaloupe at the same cost might be stretching the budget. This mindset shift means seeing the value in reapplying the money that would have been spent on processed, convenience foods (which are expensive to our pocket and health in their own right) to whole and natural. We can focus on buying nutrition, not just something to stuff our stomach. And, believe it or not, this does not mean suffering and deprivation! Good food tastes good! It may take a little while for your taste buds to adjust- they've become accustomed to some pretty unnatural foods- but we find we enjoy good food more than ever now. Thankfully, we regenerate new taste buds every two weeks, so you may be surprised how quickly your tastes change and you begin really enjoying wholesome eating! Lastly, when shopping be sure to still include some "treats" in your cart (there is such a thing as wholesome treats!) – try some exotic fruits, dried fruits, nuts, special salad toppings, fresh fruits for making smoothies, wholegrain baked goods and natural sweets.
14 Thrifty Wholesome Shopping Tips
- Buy produce that is in season (not just out of habit). It will not only be cheaper, but fresher and better for you!
- Inquire about local farmer's markets and organic farm co-ops where you can get fresh, local, reasonably-priced produce.
- Consider joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) where you can buy a "share" in a farm and get a weekly supply of fresh, local, seasonal, organic produce (you can't get much better than that!)
- Check out what's offered at your local co-op and health food stores- don't automatically assume that they will be more expensive. Especially check out their bulk sections and organic produce (you might be surprised!)
- Even large "buying clubs" (like BJ's and Costco) are carrying more organic products at very good prices. Calculate for your family if the savings will make up for the membership fee.
- Inquire in your area if there are some locally-operating buying coops. This is often a great way to purchase bulk quantities of non-perishables and bulk items you'd commonly find in health food store or co-op (and make some healthy-eating friends along the way!)
- Buy in bulk- grains, beans, nuts, seeds, etc. Stock up on bulk items as they go on sale.
- Stock up on non-perishables when they're on sale- foods like canned beans, tomatoes, salsa, nut butters, olive oil, etc. store quite well.
- Buy spices, herbs and seasonings in the bulk sections of natural food, health food or co-op stores. These are much fresher and cheaper than those available prepackaged in little bottles. You also have the freedom to buy as little or as much as you want, so you can try small amounts of unfamiliar ones and not be stuck with a bottle of something you don't like.
- Base your meals upon the week's best buys. I don't make a menu plan before heading to the store. I purchase whatever produce is a good buy for the week and that dictates what meals we'll have. This encourages more seasonal eating, which is all the healthier!
- Retrain your shopping mindset- save money normally spent on empty or harmful foods and apply that same money to nutrient-dense foods (things like nuts, dried fruits, special fruits, special salad toppings, etc.).
- If juicing, locate a produce distributor that will sell organic California carrots directly to you.
- If you purchase non-organic produce- be certain to wash well and / or peel.
- If your grocery bill is still higher than you'd like, consider that you are making an investment in your health . You're applying your money to high quality foods now instead of medical bills later!