Saturday, January 21, 2012

January 21: Grocery Shopping and Real Food

I went grocery shopping today. Fun times. I brought the groceries home, and Audrey wanted to help me put them away. Watching her pull everything out of the bags, you would have thought it was Christmas morning! She was so excited about everything I bought. Here are just a few of her exclamations of excitement: "Toilet paper!" she said. "I can use it EVERY DAY!" "Wow, Mom, blueberries. Blueberries are my favorite!" "Oh, Mom, look, look at's quesadillas" (while holding up a package of tortillas). "You bought me more applesauce? Thanks, Mom, thanks!" "I'm so excited!!" "Oh, I love it! I love it!" Seriously, it was hilarious. I wish I would have recorded her.

Speaking of grocery shopping, I am in the midst of a transition with our grocery shopping. A few years ago, I started using coupons to save money on our grocery bill. Our grocery budget was $50 a week, and I tried to come under that as much as possible. Some weeks I could buy all the food we needed for the week for just $30.

I haven't been using too many coupons lately for a couple of reasons:
1. I don't think manufacturer's are putting out as many good coupons. It seems to be harder to find really good deals.
2. For the past few months, we have been trying to cut out processed foods and eat more of a real food diet. Most coupons are for processed foods, so I don't buy many coupon items anymore.

We are not doing a 100% real food diet. I'm not quite ready to give up on all processed foods yet. It's kind of surprising that I even got on this real food kick, because I am not a healthy eater. I'm very picky, and I don't like green vegetables. One of these days I am going to have to grow up and start eating more vegetables, but I'm not quite there yet.

However, I do think there is good reason to eat more naturally and cut out processed foods. So, I am doing what I can to help us fix meals and snacks at home that are all natural. Mostly that means I am cooking a lot more from scratch, which is more work but also kind of fun. (One of these days I'll give you more specifics about we are eating and what we are no longer eating, and maybe I'll post some recipes too).

My biggest problem is with our grocery budget. Real food costs a lot more money than fake food!! I'm in the process of figuring how much we have been spending over the past few months and trying to make a new budget. $50 per week is definitely not enough to feed all of us for the whole week.

It's painful for me to start spending more money on food. I always prided myself on being able to feed our family without spending much money. However, I'm starting to think that there is a problem with that type of thinking. Americans spend less of their income on food than any other country (under 10%). Maybe that is not such a good thing. Cheap food is not always good food.

I've seen this quote from Michael Pollen, who wrote In Defense of Food. (I have not read the book, but I've seen this quote in several places with some of his other thoughts on food):
“Is it just a coincidence that as the portion of our income spent on food has declined, spending on health care has soared? In 1960 Americans spent 17.5 percent of their income on food and 5.2 percent of national income on health care. Since then, those numbers have flipped: Spending on food has fallen to 9.9 percent, while spending on heath care has climbed to 16 percent of national income. I have to think that by spending a little more on healthier food we could reduce the amount we have to spend on heath care.” – Michael Pollan
So, I am trying to train myself that it is okay to spend more of our income on food. Even if it is painful at times! Real quality food should be considered a good investment of our money.


Post a Comment