What’s a frugal whole food shopper to do?

Making a trip to the grocery store these days is like running a gauntlet. On the one hand, you are assaulted by food-like substances wrapped up in attractive packages, some even touting exaggerated health benefits from the toxins within!

On the other hand, you are gouged and poked by cleverly marketed “all natural” foods that are much more expensive than conventional foods.

When you change directions to avoid one onslaught, you are immediately attacked by another. Plenty of people write to me and say, “I’d love to eat the way you do, but I can barely afford regular groceries. There’s no way I could afford all that healthy stuff.”

Good diet may be expensive, but as the saying goes, have you checked out the price of medical treatments recently?

If you don’t believe you can afford to eat wholesome, consider the high price of being sick and lying in bed. Calculate the cost of days when you are absent from work because of a malady.

Add up the price of having no energy to play with your kids or to do things that would help you save money. Just ponder on the exorbitant prices of medical care! Many of these things are completely avoidable – all you have to do is give your body real food and you will be astounded at the resultant glowing health.

How much money have you spent over the last year fighting ill health that could have been avoided through good nutrition?

GMOs have been proven to cause cancer, ghastly tumors, organ failure, hormone disruptions, learning problems in children, and even death.

Many of the additives included in the products, proudly displayed on grocery store shelves, have been banned in other countries because of the health consequences they wreak.

We all know the reasons why we should switch to whole foods, but with the ever-increasing checkout counter inflation, how can we make it happen?

Well, here are 10 realistic tips towards the goal of better health:

1.Buy localIdeally, you never need to set foot in a grocery store.  Change your shopping habits and buy from local farmers, either directly from their farm or from a farmer’s market.  You will get your produce at the optimum time, right after it was picked. Also, you can directly ask the farmer about his practices.  

2. Join a food co-op or CSA. This is a win-win situation because it helps out the farmers and it helps out your family. With both of these options, you can register ahead of time (in some cases you pre-pay for the season) and then receive a box brimming with abundance from your own area.  You will get to try lots of new things  and you will get to do this at a fraction of the price!

3. Buy produce that is in-season. Purchasing food that is in-season is not only cheaper, but it is also nutritionally beneficial.  Buying strawberries in January and asparagus in October requires that the produce be picked before it is fully ripe, and the produce begins to decompose and lose nutrients the second it is separated from the plant.  Avoid the high cost of transporting your “fresh” Christmas berries and melons and stick to the items that nature is currently giving to your area.

4. Grow as much as you can in the space you have.  Plant a sunny windowsill with salad veggies and herbs, grow a container garden on a balcony, or turn your yard into a mini-farm.  Every bite of food you grow yourself is revolutionary act in itself!

5. Plan your menu AFTER shopping, not BEFORE. This allows you to stay on budget because you aren’t shopping for special ingredients to make pre-planned meals. You can take advantage of the best deals and plan your meals around those.  This can also help by keeping those unplanned budget purchases from going to waste in your crisper drawer while you carry on with your planned menu.

6. Drink “buckets” of water. We generally stick to drinking lots of water. Not fluoridated tap water – we purchase 5 gallon jugs or fill them in a spring when that option is available.  Water is cheaper and healthier. Beverages that you make yourself like coffee and tea are far less expensive than the soda pop and energy drinks that fill most modern refrigerators, not to mention, relatively free of the toxic chemicals that overflow in the store-bought drinks.

7. Buy staples in bulk. Organic grains like brown rice, wheat berries, cornmeal, barley and oatmeal can be purchased in bulk amounts.  This reduces the price to lower than, or equivalent to, the smaller conventional packages that are offered in your local grocery store.

8. Buy some meats frozen rather than fresh.  Some butcher shops freeze meat that isn’t sold immediately and sell if for a lower price.  Look for deals on frozen chicken breasts, frozen fish, and frozen turkey breast. Just read the ingredients carefully and make sure you are just getting fish, and that the fish is from a safe source (not the radiation-laden Pacific Ocean, for example, or a tilapia farm where they feed fish their own recycled feces).

9. Cook from scratch.If you cook without any previous preparations, it doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as you might think.  I don’t spend hours each day slaving in the kitchen. Spend a weekend afternoon prepping your meals for the week ahead and you can have weekday dinners on the table in less than half an hour!

Consider differences in price that homemade goods make:  homemade tortillas (pennies for a package that would be $3 at the store), pizza dough, peanut butter oatmeal cookies, trail mix,  and granola bars. This stuff is literally pennies on the dollar in comparison with the same goods ready-made. 

10. Add some lower priced protein options.  While most of us would love to have grass-fed beef and free-range chicken breasts twice a day, the cost is excessive.  So, add value-priced wholesome protein with beans, farm fresh eggs, homemade yogurt and cheese, nuts, and milk.

Go for health this very minute!