Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Real Food Story . . . Part I

I feel like I am the last person that should be talking about this.  I want to talk about it, but I wanted to wait until I feel like I perfected it.  I have tried so MANY ways of grocery shopping and menu planning over the years.  It was actually about 2 years ago that I changed a lot of things.  I started reading blogs.  It opened up my world, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the not-so-good.

I began by reading Crystal's blog, Money Saving Mom.  I am thankful for her blog.  She has saved me some money and brought great deals to light.  I do have to respectfully disagree with her regarding coupons.  I do a few coupons, but for the food I buy, there just aren't many coupons.  I tried buying and making a coupon folder/binder thing.  I spent hours organizing my coupons and my grocery store deals.  I just don't do that anymore.

About this time I started reading other blogs, like Passionate Homemaking and Heavenly Homemakers.  I read a post from Lindsay regarding their Real Foods Budget and this is how I started doing my shopping.  I even wrote to Laura at Heavenly Homemakers and asked her a question, and guess what, she answered it on her blog.  You can read that here.  I would highly recommend reading her "Getting Real with Food" series as well.

Well, I did what I usually do, I changed everything at once.  I also joined a wholesale buying club.  All of this while I was about 7 months pregnant with my second child.  In retrospect, I shouldn't have joined that buying club because I did not know enough and it was such a process.  I have learned a lot since then including backing off a little.

I do not buy everything organic. 

Here is what I do:

1.  I use real butter.  It is rarely organic but it is real, actual, unsalted butter.  Organic butter runs $4.99/lb. and I can't quite wrap my head around that right now (probably because I use too much butter).
2.  I stopped using white sugar and white flour several months ago.  I still use it but only occasionally and usually if I am making food for other people.
3.  I read labels on everything.  I look to see if it has high fructose corn syrup.  I check the country of origin.  I check to see what additives and preservatives a food has.
4.  I buy grassfed beef from a local farmer.  It is about $3/lb. and I order a quarter of a beef at the same time. 
5.  I do make a lot of stuff from scratch.
6.  I do buy in bulk from Sam's or Costco (we are trying Costco this year).
7.  I have recently started buying my main groceries at Trader Joe's.  Trader Joe's is a 45 minute drive for me, but I have to go to my job 2 days a month so I always have my list ready and I go to Trader Joe's then because I am there anyway.  It works for me. 
8.  I use whole wheat flour and I sometimes soak my baked goods.  There is a lot of discussion about soaking your grains and you can go here for more information than you ever wanted to know.
9.  I buy organic fruits and veggies as often as possible and try to always buy organic from the dirty dozen list.
10.  I buy several items from a local organic dairy including eggs, honey, buttermilk and sometimes milk.

Now, how do I do it and not spend a lot of money?  Come back next time and we will talk numbers!

For more frugal ideas, please visit Frugal Friday at Life as a Mom.


  1. You sound like me. But I do still use half white flour in my pizza dough. I just can't convert fully there yet. LOL!
    And if you want to look at some great cookbooks, Sue Gregg has a whole line of them and there is a wealth of information in each one. I got all of them and love them. You wouldn't need to buy another cookbook in your life. Just do a search for her and you'll find them.


  2. thanks for sharing this! its encouraging to me to see people i "know" (and not just faceless bloggers) making real steps. I'm eager to see your numbers. the changes i'm trying to make to our diet are breaking our budget! :)

  3. I know with our family of 7 I cannot afford to buy organic. But I have done many of the things you posted. We grow a large garden which I am in the process of putting up right now! We too use wheat, although we don't like 100% wheat on anything. I do add 3/4 c white flour to my 2 loaf recipe for bread. I can't find a good cake we like with it either. But it' better than what we were doing. We can't stand all white, that is for sure. Who knows what I'll be doing in 5 years. We may love all wheat by then. But little by little is the best way to make lasting changes.

  4. Sandra,
    I use white whole wheat flour for this chocolate cake it is still unbelievable. Probably because of the other ingredients. You can't even tell you use whole wheat flour.

    I substitute coconut oil for the shortening called for in the recipe.

  5. We've made many similar changes to our grocery plan. My goal is to serve foods that haven't been processed, enriched or bleached. And finding things without HFCS is a huge undertaking...and a big reason for cooking from scratch!

    I just wish I had Trader Joe's or Whole Foods in my area!


  6. I don't like using white sugar too :)


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