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$172 per week, two weeks, family of 5, real food.

That is the current experience as part of the series Someone Else’s Shoes. We’re starting completely from scratch following the monetary guidelines put out by the USDA for the Cost of Food at Home Thrifty Food Plan. The USDA attaches a weekly dollar amount to each person dependent on age and sex. You can check out their graph to see where your family falls.

This is the last two days of the second week.  Week 1 we started with an empty kitchen and I used all but 21 cents of the $172 for our meals. We had a few basics that carried over (salt, pepper, sweeteners, oatmeal, etc.) and this week have had quite bit more left over. Going into these last two days we had $24.04 and I actually did not spend any additional. So remaining amount is $24.04.

Here is what we ate the final two days.

Day 6

Breakfast- Creamy eggs on sourdough toast with grapefruit.  This was a recipe from a Quick Cooking cookbook. The original recipe had a Canadian Bacon and a few other things that I didn’t have. So I adapted it to what I did have. The eggs are covered with cream and baked in the oven then put on the toasted bread. It was yummy!

Lunch- Spanish Tortilla but made with only 4 potatoes and 4 eggs. Still delicious! Along with sliced oranges.

Dinner- Citrus Sprouted Lentils. I used this recipe for Sweet and Sour Lentils as a guide but eliminated the honey and vinegar and used the juice of 1 orange and 1/2 of a lemon. Very good! We also had cabbage sauteed in coconut oil and butter.

Snack- Leftover cookies from Day 5. Still moist and delicious!

Day 7

Breakfast- Very light breakfast of sourdough toast with peanut butter.

Lunch/Brunch- An early lunch of sprouted lentil patties which were very much like an Egg Foo Yung, along with coconut chicken soup (basically chicken broth and coconut milk made into a soup- a variation from a Nourishing Traditions recipe) and orange slices.

Dinner- Smorgasbord. We had plenty of leftovers to have a quite tasty full meal.

Snack- GORP

Now I guess the question would be, what to do with the remaining $24.04?  For myself, I know I’d like to have more seasonings than I added during the two week time. I also like to be able to make bulk size purchases since the cost per pound tends to drop. So I think I’d start putting some of my weekly money aside toward that. For me, that would probably mean putting in an Azure Standard order. For someone else, that might mean putting the money toward a quarter (or larger) of beef.  Or possibly ear marking a portion of money each week to go toward both items.

How would you structure the future budget? Would you try to make bulk purchases or would you do something different?

Something that I’ve been thinking of these past two weeks, is what it was like when we first started our real food journey. Money was certainly an issue for us. In my excitement of everything I got completely hung up on doing it ‘perfectly’.  Unfortunately, my budget and location posed a problem for ‘perfection’.

At one point, my husband had to give me a bit of a “talking to” because I refused to buy any produce that wasn’t organic. The problem was not only was organic super expenesive, it wasn’t widely available in my area.   While 100% organic is certainly the goal, the reality for me in my location and situation is I cannot reach that goal. Maybe someday, but not right now.  That was the beginning of realizing that we needed to make our changes slowly and adjust our food choices as our budget and location allowed. We are still not all the way there, our journey continues.

I still sometimes need to remind myself that this is OUR JOURNEY. I am not out to impress anyone else with how “wonderfully we eat” (although I do like to share things with you) or all the great places we shop (or don’t shop).  Our health is drastically improved over where we were just a few short years ago. I am reminded that every step toward a real/whole/traditional foods diet is a positive step. (Why might you want to switch to a real/whole/traditional foods diet? This post might give you something to think about.)

If you are in a similar position with a tight budget (maybe even smaller than the Thrifty Plan put out by the USDA) or in a location where you can’t get the ‘best of everything’, do what you can today. Maybe do something else tomorrow or next week or even next month. A great place to start would be resources. Finding resources should cost you nothing and enable to start planning how best to spend your food dollars.  Contact your local Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter and ask for the local resources guide.

You can do this!

What frustrates you most in your food journey?

See all posts in this seriesI have another installment planned for April for the series Someone Else’s Shoes along with a great giveaway! Next week will be an interview (see all Someone Else’s Shoes interviews here). We’ll meet a real food enthusiast in their own real food journey.  Lot’s of exciting things coming up!

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