Friday, May 7, 2010

$$$$$

I feel like an old woman saying this, but I cannot believe the price of food these days. I almost always buy organic and am just appalled by how much a crown of broccoli or a head of lettuce cost. It is understood that once the demand for organic produce goes up there will be more supply, making it easier on our wallets. I repeatedly tell myself that I am doing a good thing by purchasing organic for the earth and for my body. I want to be part of the "change" that is evolving. I definitely would rather fill my body with naturally grown produce, then pesticide laden fare anyways. Even if you wash a piece of fruit the influence of the chemicals is still prevalent in the fruit and the toll it took on the dirt. So as I sit on my couch devising my dinner menu for the next 2 weeks, I ensue the idea of a food budget as well. I have always heard, "write a list", and yes this is important. More often then not you will buy significantly less if you have that god forsaken list handy while shopping. I also like to shop with a calculator. My love of numbers combined with my love of food makes a trip to the market quite fun. I find myself punching in the $11.00 bottle of wine, then biting my lip and sighing and simply putting it back. When you see the whole picture/total bill you might think twice about those un-needed items. I'm not saying give up on all your loves, whether it is chocolate, wine or for me, olives. All I am saying is that your afternoon glass of vino will taste just as good the next day, if not better, if you moderate your intake. It goes hand and hand with weight loss, a chocolate brownie fudge sundae will taste just as good if you eat it once a week, rather than daily. The impulse and spontaneity naturally excites us humans, but to survive you have to learn to moderate.
Right now is a good time to learn to budget your food with the price of food expected to soar another 5% by next year. Plant a garden, go to the farmer's market, buy local, stock up on dry goods, cut coupons, look at ads, go where the sales are and don't forget your list! I want all to recognize that buying local or organic is the way to go. When you think about it, what sense does it make flying food hundreds or thousands of miles to get to us. We need farms surrounding citites and the people of the city supporting the farms. Though organic and local foods are not considered the cheapest, if you take part in this food revolution that is happening today, then maybe they won't be. Another idea for lowering your food cost is to simply put your portion size in check. It is loudly known that America has giant portions. Sometimes I get a bit irritated by this stereotype, but it is what we make it. Food is our nourishment, it was made to support our bodies and give us the vitality we need to live. So when you are planning a meal think of that. A classic example is the food pyramid. Remember, serving sizes are the size of your fist, not your plate. Check this: a serving of whole grains is equal to one slice of bread of a 1/2 cup of pasta. You might not need as much grub as you think. If you are overweight think of how much your food bill is and slash it by a 1/3 and thats what it would be like if you were a couple pounds lighter. Dr. Oz just had an episode showing how expensive it is to be overweight. Just based on the food intake and medical bills due to illness connected with obesity.
Lastly, I must say something about the price of meat. Vegan shopping is much cheaper than omnivore shopping. I have forgotten what the cost of a brick of cheese is, let alone the unknown price of a T-bone or a pound of chicken breast. I've looked and know that those items wouldn't fit into my budget. When you buy whole foods such as brown rice, french lentils or pinto beans you open up many possibilities and save a lot of money on your protein. Dried legumes also have a very long shelf life. I have also found buying some vegetables frozen, particulary ones that are not in season, can lower your bill too! Not only are they cheap and offered in organic, but are often found to be more nutritious. I can proudly say our 2-week grocery bill for 2 was just $98.00. We shopped around and even bought beer!

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