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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.
My desire for this experience is to offer an alternative to the Thrifty Food guidelines put out by the USDA. And if one is switching from a Standard American Diet (SAD) like promoted by the USDA to a real/whole/traditional foods diet (I’ll just call it real diet from here on) one is most likely starting with a blank slate and will need EVERYTHING. Week 1 I had to buy everything. Salt, pepper, sweeteners, baking staples, everything. And I actually didn’t have the money to get everything I wanted. This week we seem to be in better shape. I’ve made a menu plan for the week and purchased (or had leftover from last week) just about everything needed for the basic plan. And I still have money left!!
Before I get into what we purchased this week, I’d like to take a minute to chat about why one might desire switching from SAD to a real diet. The bottom line is the SAD diet is just that. SAD. It keeps us from being as healthy as we can/should be.
For the past several Wednesdays I’ve been sharing my thoughts on Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price (I took a break from the book club this week because of the the Thrifty Food Plan series but it will be back next week).
Dr. Price traveled the world in the 1930’s and looked at people’s diets and how those diets affected their dental (and physical) health. Overwhelmingly the people eating a diet based on the foods local to them were healthier than the same people who were engaged in ‘modern’ foods (white flour, white sugar, etc.).
Fast forward to now. We have a nation whose children are predicted to live a shorter life than previous generations. We have high incidence of autoimmune diseases, autism, cancer, heart disease and general ailments. At some point, maybe we need to realize that what we are doing as far as our health is concerned isn’t working and look at doing something else. For my family, we choose to follow the Dietary Guidelines put out by the Weston A. Price foundation (the foundation’s mission is to share the teachings of Dr. Price) as best we can within our budget. Our journey toward this goal continues. My hope is that by sharing a budget friendly alternative to what the USDA calls a healthy eating plan more people can realize that a real food diet can be within their reach.
On to this weeks purchases.
And here are my two receipts.
Last week I had a lovely roast from my local rancher. This week we went with chicken. The trouble with chicken where I live is the lack of chicken farmers. Finding someone that raises free range or pastured chickens locally hasn’t happened for me. To combat this in our everyday life, we raise our own. Another thing with chickens here is they are seasonal. The few people in Wyoming that I do know raising chickens only raise them during the summer. We raise ours during the summer and then freeze them for winter use (I hope to soon be able to home can some of them also). But for this experience, I scouted out free range and/or organic chickens available to the general public.
Can you see the two chickens in the picture? When I saw them in the store I thought they were Cornish Game hens but they are marketed as young chickens. Free-range. I had to buy two due to size. They were on sale for $1.99 a pound for a total of $12.20 for both chickens. A pound of organic ground beef was the only other meat item picked up.
I spent a total of $54.31 at Natural Grocers and was able to add things I was really missing last week. A good size bottle of olive oil (I had a mini bottle last week that made our mayo and salad dressing for one night only), coconut oil, cinnamon, coconut milk and peanuts for Joe and the children. You wouldn’t believe how excited they were about the peanuts! I also picked up a few different organic vegetables (things on the Dirty Dozen list or that was at a price I knew was great), lentils and brown rice.
At Walmart I picked up some additional produce– organic potatoes and carrots, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, mushrooms and cabbage. Plus a few other needed things. And another bar of the dark chocolate for a total of $40.33. I actually intended to shop at a different chain store in my town this week but after going in there and looking at the prices of the things I needed it was back to Walmart I went. I might go to that store later in the week and pick up some additonal organic ground beef. They had it on sale but were out.
This week I was able to get cinnamon and vanilla both of which I really missed last week. I completely forgot to put baking soda and baking powder on my list!
Not shown in the picture, I have 2 gallons of real (raw) milk for $14 and I’m going to buy 3 dozen eggs (from myself) for $9.
Total so far is $117.64.
Carryover amount from last week was 21 cents for a total to spend this week of $172.21. I have $54.57 left. I plan on adding and additional gallon and a half of milk on Thursday which will take my money down to $44.07. I have to admit, after last week I’m feeling kind of rich!
Breakfast is a mystery to me… I’m having some seasonal allergy issues (need more local raw honey) and woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. That is until it was time for everyone else to get up. My sweet husband let me sleep until it was time for him to leave (he had to go to town early today). I believe from looking at the remains of a loaf of bread he make peanut butter toast for the girls. Christopher slept in this morning (he apparently doesn’t believe in this daylight savings time stuff) so when he got up I made us peanut butter toast and milk.
Joe and the girls took sack lunches. Hummus, veggie sticks, toast points and a piece of fruit for the girls. Joe took leftover pancakes and salmon patties from yesterday along with fruit and veggie sticks. I made a kind of loose meat sandwich for Christopher and I. I browned the pound of hamburger along with half an onion. Sliced bread and toasted it. Then put the browned meat on the bread and topped with cheese. A few minutes under the broiler and it was ready. We topped it with lacto-fermented salsa and each had a banana. This kind of a dish would have easily fed the entire family with hamburger left over. I’m going to remember it for future dishes!
I had a few kitchen To Do things today. We had about a quart of milk left from last weeks supply so I added kefir grains to it. Tomorrow we should have dairy kefir. We also had just under a pint of cream saved from last week. I turned that into butter. I only purchased one pound of butter this week since I knew I’d make butter plus I bought coconut oil. I love the raw cream butter. It is so much more flavorful than bought butter (I chose the hormone free butter). I’m also making a fresh batch of kombucha. Like last week, I bought pure cane sugar (the kind that says no beets) for it but I didn’t realize I had one cup exactly left from last week. I didn’t really need the sugar this week. So for any of you who buy those little boxes of sugar you can make 2 gallons of kombucha from one ( for the record, I would prefer the organic sugar but for the price difference I chose to put my money toward meats and fats before the sugar).
Snack today is the last of the muffins made yesterday and a glass of milk.
Dinner– those cute little chickens roasted in the crock pot most of the day. They were fall apart perfect by dinner. We ate what we wanted for dinner along with garlic and cheddar mashed potatoes (an idea from Delicious Obsessions) and green salad with a lemon vinaigrette. After dinner I removed the rest of the meat from the chickens and put in two containers to become to meals. The bones went back in the crock pot to become bone broth.
Breakfast–Eggs and sourdough toast. We love our eggs cooked in coconut oil. This weeks coconut oil is different than the kind we usually get. I usually get the unflavored kind (we buy it in 5 gallon buckets) but this one is flavored. I loved it on the spoon when I tried it but Joe did not like it with his eggs. I’m okay with it but think I’d prefer it as a dessert item or straight off the spoon. 🙂
Lunch- Christopher, Lulu and me had grilled cheese sandwiches with carrot sticks. Sourdough bread makes a lovely grilled cheese sandwich. I shred the cheddar cheese to help with melting. We had a small amount of clabber cheese left which was added to the sandwich after cooking. I kind of made a mess prying open the sandwiches but didn’t want to cook the clabber cheese to retain the probiotic goodness. It all worked out in the end. Joe took some of the hamburger I browned up yesterday along with carrot sticks and cheese. Kiki had a weird day with school testing and ended up grabbing a bite in town (she is 16 and does make some of her own food decisions).
The dairy kefir was not yet done today. It is a little cooler in the house than usual I think (it is warmer outside so we have the heat turned down). I suspect in the morning it will be perfect (or a little too done). I started a batch of water kefir today, a second batch of broth and took the sourdough starter out of the fridge. I’ll leave it out over night and use it to make up bread tomorrow.
Dinner– Purple stir fry over brown rice. Very loosely based on a recipe in Nourishing Traditions for Chicken Stir-Fry Stew. I’ve made a version of this dish several times. I tend to make it different each time just depending on what we have on hand. I view a stir fry dish as extremely adaptable to whatever needs to be used up. 🙂 Tonight’s version had onions, beet stems, carrots, red pepper, beet greens and broccoli flowerettes. The normal recipe uses soy sauce and a few other ingredients I don’t have this week. We stuck with a simple sauce of chicken broth, lemon juice, grated ginger, garlic and salt. It turned out delicious. Oh and when I asked Lulu what I should call this dish she was the one that said “Purple Stir Fry”. The beet stems made the broth quite a lovely light purple.
Snack- Apple slices and peanut butter.
We’ve talked some about sources and the fact that where I live one of my biggest challenges is fresh produce. Our farmers market only operates for 6 weeks out of the year and we do not have a local produce CSA. For my produce needs, I usually shop first at Natural Grocers and when we’re doing Azure Standard orders (seasonally since it is a 2 hour drive one way to the pick up and not fun to make in the dead of winter) I also order produce from them. Then I fill in the rest from the chain grocers. However I had completely forgot about Bountiful Basket. I admit I don’t know much about this organization other than what the few people that I know who use it have told me and looking at the website. It seems that for an organic basket the contribution (cost) is $25 and we’d receive 6 vegetable items and 6 fruit items. And even though organic are not necessarily local. I might try out a basket sometime just to check it out.
What would you do with the remainder of the money?
I’ll be back on Monday with the final installment of this experience.
Read all of the posts in this series.
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I am so impressed! Great job so far.