Welcome to Part I of the new series with a cheesy title. It was either that or no blog post today, because you have to have a title for a series, and I was too tired to think of a good one. So there.
I have “interviewed” a few people who eat healthier than me to try to find out:
1. what is they think is MOST important regarding healthy eating
2. what they actually have for dinner
I have learned a ton, and can’t wait to share it. If you also have tips to eat well on a budget or healthy meal ideas, please share!Post number one is from Katie. Katie is the kind of person who finds the most effective way to do everything. Therefore (of course) she has found the most effective way to eat healthy on a budget. She probably should write a book, and she actually sort of did. But it’s all good, so I’m sharing it:
Can’t say I’m an expert by any means… but here are a few things I’m doing to try to keep our family healthy:
– I’ve been watching our diet to attain a pH balance (between acidic and alkaline – the vast majority of Americans are extremely acidic which causes numerous health problems over time) – this is really critical to your body’s ability to fight off germs, disease, etc. – even cancer. You can test your pH using saliva or urine tests that are quite cheap and can buy these at Healthy Home Market up near Brandi’s house or online.
– Reduce our intake considerably of white flour, white rice, sugar, and all animal products (meat or dairy). All of these lend themselves to making you quite acidic (in reference to the pH scale above) so reducing them makes a big difference. I usually only cook something with meat in it a couple of times a week – and even that is more for Titus than for us. Of course, to maintain proper protein and iron levels, you do need eat a lot of beans and other high protein foods in it’s place.
– I try to ideally make at least half of our intake fruits and vegetables (mostly vegetables) because they are alkaline bringing the balance back up. Raw is better, but any will do. Lemon, lime, cucumber and ginger are all great to add to water… you’re supposed to drink a lot of water – your weight in pounds divided by 2 – that many ounces a day.
– I’m becoming more and more convinced of the importance of going organic (read the Organic Manifesto if you have time – it’s in the library) because it is arguably more healthy with more nutrients in the soil, but also because it is not loaded up with pounds of pesticides, fertilizers, herbicidesfungicides, etc. How about this for a statistic? Every year the amount of pesticides, etc. added to agricultural soil is equivalent to 4 pounds for EVERY American – I can’t remember what the big number was now, but is that not ridiculous? The book goes into more detail about how that harms our land and water, how it is causing global warming and most immediately interesting, how much damage all those chemicals do to our bodies. I know on the surface it looks like it is more expensive to go organic, and it might require a slight increase in the budget, but overall there are several ways to keep the costs low even with organic food such as:
– buy what’s in season and if it is something you want a lot of, consider canning or freezing it to have for other months of the year. This alone will save a lot of money AND you’ll much higher quality food if you buy it locally and in season rather than having shipped from who knows where and picked before it has the full nutrient level.
– make a lot of foods yourself to avoid processed foods and the additional chemicals and preservatives added (I make my own yogurt, bread, most baby/toddler food, and as much as possible from scratch.
– Good places to buy healthy and organic food for reasonable prices: Bradford Store, Healthy Home Market, Trader Joe’s, farmer’s markets (but make sure they really are local farmers), Amazon (right now there is a promotional Amazon Prime account for free for three months for mom’s. I can send the link if you can’t find it), Neighborhood Produce (but this is NOT organic, so I may not do it much longer – if you do, just make sure to wash it well with a one part vinegar to three parts water bath for 20 minutes) and Costco – I know I’m a broken record on this one – but I haven’t found cheaper prices for organic foods than I do at Costco – I really think the membership is well worth the money saved, particularly on the organic stuff but also on all your baking items.
– and of course, growing your own will always be cheaper. We hope to build our garden more and more and eventually make enough to can all our tomatoes for the year and things like that. Use fresh herbs for flavor rather than additives with chemicals in them when feasible.
In terms of recipes, we have salads just about every day feasible for either lunch or dinner – usually consists of a mix of lettuce or spinach, celery, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, avocadoes (this helps ease the no meat thing as well), and whatever else is on hand – broccoli, cauliflower, whatever. I also make a lot of brown rice and black bean concoctions… either just adding onion, chili powder and cumin or making it with more veggies – tomatoes, corn, jalapenos, peppers, onion, etc. Very cheap, but has full proteins and a lot of other nutrients necessary. I also make a lot of pasta primavera – whole wheat pasta and the more veggies the better – squash, zucchini, broccoli, peas, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, peppers, garlic, etc. And finally, I also make a veggie dish either with brown rice, spanish rice or no rice. I just chop up asparagus, zucchini, squash, green pepper, tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapenos, celery, etc. and add some lemon juice, herbs, etc. When we do cleanses, we usually have a lot of this dish since it is straight up veggies.
I think one thing I’ve learned is that healthy food generally just takes more time – to buy, to grow, to cook and to preserve. It’s worth it to me though to stay home and attain/make healthy food than to have an excess in our budget. Sorry to write a book in response – I didn’t expect it to be this long! I’d love any other tips you have or learn as well!
Hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for more!