Thursday, March 24, 2011

30 Day Challenge, Day 9 (Cost comparison)

"Isn't this really expensive?"

Sometimes I get this question.  I'll spare you the emotional babble ("isn't your health worth it?" or "isn't your family worth it?"), because I don't have time for that nonsense, nutrition is really individual, and I'm on a tight budget.  So I get it. 

I promise to keep track of what I'm spending on groceries.  I'll report at the end.  So far, the grocery bills have been pretty similar, if not less.  In the past, I've usually spent over $100 on groceries each week (my budget spreadsheet tells me I should be sticking to $300/month, but with food prices the way they are...well, you know).  Keep in mind that I run a tight budget, plus we have no men living at our house.

What I'm realizing, though, is that it doesn't necessarily cost more to eat Paleo.  You just make different choices for your money.  How much do you think you spend on popcorn, flour, noodles, legumes, bread, milk, yogurt, cereal, etc?  It's probably more than you think.  And yes, it's true that almond butter is more expensive than peanut butter.  But filling your cart with vegetables (especially in season, especially if you know how to ad-match at your local grocery that is kind enough to do ad-matching) will cost a lot less than all those packaged foods you may currently be taking through the check-out aisle.

Just as an experiment, I removed all the non-Paleo foods from my cupboards this week, and bagged them up.

Non-Paleo fare

I was actually surprised at how much there was.  This is $35 worth of unwanted groceries.

Remember the tuna incident?  With that fresh in my mind, I went back to the store to exchange "food" for FOOD.  Now, I have a confession to make.  If I'd known ahead of time what happens to "food" that gets returned, I may have decided differently on how to proceed.  But I figured, why should all this stuff take up limited cupboard space, when I could be storing food I'm actually going to eat?  So I returned it and used my store credit to buy canned tomatoes and frozen shrimp and coconut milk and tuna and eggs and ground turkey.  To make the exchange, the cashier had to attach a slip to each returned item marking it as defective merchandise.  I said there's nothing really wrong with it, only that my daughter and I can't eat it.  But that doesn't mean someone else couldn't.  That's when the cashier told me that it's store protocol to toss out all food items that get returned.  Health and safety issues, you know.  I felt awful.  I could have, and should have, donated all those things to a food bank.  *heavy sigh*  What a waste.

Food for today:

Meal #1
Scotch egg (turns out I really like them better warm)

Meal #2
Leftover apple pancakes dipped in apricots
coconut milk
(actually, this meal was one I quickly crammed in my face as I hurried off to run errands.  I learned a valuable lesson:  paleo pancakes aren't a food that should be consumed in a hurry.  Anyone have a glass of water?  I think I momentarily paralyzed my swallowing muscles.)

Meal #3
Tuna-Avocado stuffed sweet peppers

Meal #4
Paleo Shrimp Gumbo
(we should have had a salad or something, but tonight was one of those hurry-and-slurp-it-down-and-get-out-the-door nights.)

Meal #5
celery with almond butter
homemade plum applesauce

Paleo Shrimp Gumbo
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 c. okra, frozen
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 1/2 c. shredded cauliflower
2 c. water
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
heat of your choice (chili powder, red pepper, tobasco, chili sauce, etc.)
1 lb. cooked, shelled, deveined shrimp

Dump everything but shrimp in the crockpot.  Add more water if necessary to nearly cover.  Cook on Low about four hours, then add shrimp and cook four more hours.

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