936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
I hope that thus far in my blog I have been able to convince readers that eating real food does have noticeable, measurable benefits to one’s health. Besides the obvious benefit of weight loss (I have lost 7 pounds, and Grayson has lost 10), there are also the benefits we have reaped in our energy levels, focus, vitality, and relief of chronic soreness, among others! However, among all of these positive results from our new way of eating, there is one nagging question: what damage has been done to our wallet?
Yes, shopping for real, all-natural or organic foods can certainly take its toll on the checkbook, but only if you neglect to do some research and comparison. Only if you fail to know what your willing to pay for certain products. Only if you settle to pay full-price for most or all of the items in your shopping cart. Only if you, out of not knowing what else to do, walk through Whole Foods and restock your entire pantry and refrigerator in the name of health.
This would all be a mistake. And so, I offer some of our own numbers for thought. Before embarking on this real-food extravaganza, Grayson and I spent an average of $85 per week on groceries for the two of us. In the beginning of February, I made it my mission to conquer the art of couponing. Anything I could buy next to free by combining store sale and coupons, I would. Even, dare I admit it, packages of Chips Ahoy cookies. As I continued to coupon, I would come across a coupon from time to time for a natural or organic product. As well, I realized that my frequent-stop market (Pick N’ Save) was placing their store-brand organic products at ridiculously low prices to advertise them. I often find organic varieties on sale cheaper than their non-organic counterparts. With each trip to the store, I returned home with more unfamiliar yet intriguing natural and organic items.
At this same time, Grayson and I were watching various documentaries about how food is done in America, as well as researching for ourselves this movement towards a healthier way of eating. What we were learning began to transform the look of our shopping cart. As a wife and mom, I realized that what I bring home from the market (or don’t) will be the biggest influence on my family’s eating habits and health.
As our grocery cart began to transform, our budget began to waver. I approached Grayson and let him know that we were spending more ($100 a week on average) on our groceries, and asked him if this was alright. To my pride, he replied, “Yes, our health is worth it.” I truly love this man!
We have placed our health as a priority, all the while praying that we are faithful with the finances God provides for us. Each time I go shopping, I pray that I will be faithful with the money Grayson works so hard to earn.
As we transitioned more and more into natural and organic foods, my couponing efforts began to wean. However, I have recently discovered that the couponing craze is catching on in the real food world! I have been researching into various outlets for natural and organic food coupons (See my list of resources at the bottom of this post), and have been pleasantly surprised with my findings! Just today I completely revitalized my coupon book. As I do monthly, I threw out all of my expired coupons, but also this time, anything for food less than stellar for our real food diet. A good deal is indeed no good if it takes a toll on our health. I jumped on my laptop and began to print, and boy oh boy did I print! I re-stocked my coupon book with coupons for natural and organic products, some which we have already tried and some yet unfamiliar. One thing I have always appreciated about couponing is that it allows and encourages us to try new products and foods, because we can get them at a fraction of their full price. In the realm of natural and organic foods, this is a huge help in trying things we have previously been leery of, or completely unfamiliar with.
But alas, another wrench was thrown into the works. The Farmer’s market. It’s as if I’m learning to shop at a whole new market (because I am…) And so my current goal is to transition to a routine of our weekend visit to the Farmer’s Market for fresh, local produce. As well as one visit to Pick N’ Save during the week for our other essentials, a mid-week replenish of fresh produce, and to take advantage of sales and coupons. The ultimate goal: to do this all on an average of $80-$90 a week for groceries. It is doable, I am certain.
|Ginger Carrot Oat Muffins|
Eating real food is, in general, more expensive than fake food. The pervasiveness of high fructose corn syrup in cheap, nutrient-empty foods is a classic example of this. While I searched for natural mayonnaise in the market last week, Grayson carried out an experiment. He turned around each bottle of Bar-B-Q sauce, and he found a direct correlation with price and the prevalence of high fructose corn syrup. The lower the price, the more high fructose corn syrup. Literally, as the price increased, the syrup found itself lower and lower on the ingredient list, until it vanished. It makes perfect sense to me why eating real food is “more expensive”. It is real. If you want to pay less, buy fake food.
However, is it really necessary to break the bank at Whole Foods, handing every last penny to the crunchy granola, dread-lock cashier behind the register? Is breaking the bank all a part of the organic movement? It does not need to be. There is always a balance. We must take care of ourselves. We must be faithful for both the health and finances which God has given us. Paying a little extra is definitely worthwhile for our health. Paying a lot extra is not necessary. It is a game to me, an art form, and one I am eager to pursue for the well-being of my family.
Spring Turtles with Asparagus, Onion, and Ham
(This dish is delicious. Try this one)
$ 6.25 for entire dish (4 servings)
$1.56 per serving
Ginger Carrot Oat Muffins
(Adapted from this recipe)
Blend wet and dry ingredients
Fold in 1/2 cup salted sunflower nuts
Spoon into muffin papers in muffin tin
Bake at 400 degrees for 14 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean)
If you have a little one under a year old, as I do, you can omit the honey and sunflower nuts. Follow recipe otherwise as stated. Spoon batter into a couple of cups for little one. Add honey and sunflower nuts to the rest of your batter for regular muffins. Just mark little one’s muffins so you know which are safe for him or her!
These muffins are fantastic the day they are baked. Good the day after. Worthless after two days. As Grayson told me, “Real food is always best fresh”
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!