Affordable Food Cost And Food Management

Inexpensive Meat

 

We’d like you to have meat in your diet. If you cannot afford it from the store, inquire into
a hunter’s association in your area. Many hunters kill extra deer and they are only too happy
to give it to families who need it. Venison is very healthy and great-tasting after cooking long
hours in the crockpot.
Chicken thighs and legs are the least expensive parts of chicken and big frozen bags can go
a long way. Buying frozen rather than fresh is usually quite a bit cheaper. You just need to keep
thinking ahead of your next meal for thawing purposes.
If your budget is not too tight, we always recommend organic meat over regular, the best
kind being grass fed. The benefits are widely known. Regular grain fattened beef is much
higher in omega 6 fats, which are inferior to the omega-3 fats in grass fed meats and are much
lacking in today’s western diet. Grass fed beef is naturally very lean and can be purchased more
economically when some families decide to buy a cow together and share in the meat.
Even if your budget is very tight, attempt to seek out better meat sources. Is there a farm
near you which sells grass fed meat? Go thirds with other families to purchase a side of beef.
Pastured beef, chicken, and eggs raised without antibiotics or hormones are always the best for
your whole family’s health. Google for Weston Price co-ops near you.
Are there Amish farms within driving distance of your area? They are willing to sell almost
anything they grow or raise. Take a drive and knock on doors. There are many alternatives to
paying high prices for grass fed organic beef at health food stores. Even Walmart carries some healthier brands of meat. Tyson, Perdue, Harvest Land and Laura’s are all considered cleaner
sources.
But every penny counts these days, and if the cheapest brand of meat is all you can afford,
don’t beat yourself up. As long as you stick to our plan, you’re still supporting good health. The
hormones are contained in the fat of the meat so if you cannot afford organic or grass fed beef,
always drain the fat after browning.
If you become too much of a “meat snob” without the budget to back you up, you may
jeopardize your health. Trying to feed a big family on only organic meat may give you only
about one tablespoon or two on your plate. That causes you to fill up on more carbs which only
fattens you up. Aside from weight, over-carbing causes inflammation throughout your entire
body and earlier aging.
People often feel better about themselves when buying boxes, cans, and packets of food
that are labeled organic. Unfortunately, they do their bodies no favors if they are high-carb
items. It costs them twice as much, and they are still spiking their blood sugar, which promotes
today’s disease epidemics. You can eat organic macaroni and cheese until you are orange in the
face, but it will rev up that insulin delivery truck and you’re no better off.
It’s quite sad to go to stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and watch people spend
oodles of money on foods that are still doing them harm despite their earth colored packaging
and labeling. Even though the labels tout healthier ingredients, the end result on blood sugar
in the body is the same. It’s actually smarter to eat something like regular non-organic ground
beef from Walmart with some non-starchy vegetables than a bunch of high priced organic
carbs.

Exceptions

 

There are a few items we recommend paying a little more for if you can.
Lettuce
We strongly advise you to stay organic with your salad greens if at all possible. Walmart sells
three Earthbound Farms organic romaine hearts for just a few dimes more than regular romaine.
Another good brand is Living Lettuce. It is a nice, buttery Boston lettuce in hydroponic form.
However, it is more expensive and doesn’t go as far with a big family.
Walmart even has organic iceberg head lettuce. While this isn’t the most nutritious type
of lettuce and has less chlorophyll and vitamins than other leafy greens, it is still a great filler.
Remember, all lettuce is low-carb and low-calorie, and if iceberg is the only one you like, use
it freely to help you fill up. Pour on heaps of olive oil in your S meals and you’ll still be doing
your body a great favor. We don’t want to be “lettuce snobs” either.

 

 

 

Eggs
Try hard to avoid eating the regular battery hatched type. You will consume too much omega
6, which is a prevalent imbalance in our modern way of eating. Walmart carries Nature’s
Harmony omega-3 eggs and other equally healthy brands that are not very expensive. Search
locally for farm-raised eggs. But hey, if you have a large family and you go through a lot of eggs,
buy any eggs you can afford and don’t agonize over what you can’t control. They are a cheap
protein source with many benefits. You can trim down eating regular ol’ eggs just as easily as
with healthier ones.

Canned Goods

A study by Harvard University that was released late in 2011 shed a horrid light on the amount
of BPA contained in common canned goods. BPA (Bisphenol A) is a synthetic estrogen used
to harden polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Sadly, it has been used in canned goods for
decades, but more and more information is now being released on the hazards it causes in the
human body.
It is a known endocrine disrupter, so it hampers the body’s natural hormones responsible
for metabolism, reproduction, and development. It has been documented to trigger a wide
range of disorders like impaired brain function, cancer, diabetes, early puberty, and cardiovas-
cular damage. Pregnant women should be especially careful about ingesting BPA from canned
goods and other products like plastic water bottles, as BPA can pass from the mother to baby
and cause a greater risk for abnormalities.
The Harvard University study gave a 12 oz. serving of canned soup to a group of subjects
for five days in a row. At the end of the five days, they were tested for BPA. Compared to a
control group of people who were given a 12 oz. serving of fresh soup every day, the canned
soup group showed an average level of BPA in their blood stream that was 1,221 times higher
than the control group! Scary stuff!
Thankfully, there is good news. More and more companies are now using BPA free cans
for their food products. In May of 2011, Kroger supermarkets announced they will no longer
be using cans made with BPA for all of their house brand items. That’s excellent news, as they
have great coconut milk and inexpensive tomato and canned fish products. You can get basi-
cally any canned goods that you need under their house brand. We applaud Kroger for this
move. Hopefully Walmart will follow suit. As of now (2012), Walmart Great Value brand still
uses BPA in their cans. They do carry Hunts which uses BPA free cans for their plain tomato
products only. Let’s hope they will follow through with the rest of their products. Walmart also
carries Del-Fuerte which have tomato paste in BPA free cans.

If you have a Whole Foods close by, you can be assured that their 365 house brand does not
use BPA in their cans. Again, this is great news because we love their coconut milk and many of
their other canned products. Trader Joe’s confirms that their house brand is also free of BPAs.
Other brands known to be BPA free in at least a lot of their products are Eden Foods,
Native Forest, Vital Choice, Muir Glen, Wild Planet, Ecofish and Oregon’s Choice. As we
learn of more, we will post on our website the companies who are kicking out BPA.

 

 

Deli Meats
It is easy to purchase brands without harmful additives or preservatives, even at regular super-
markets. Hormel and Oscar Meyer natural versions are great. However, do what you can with
the money you have. If stretching to more natural versions is too hard on your budget, at least
search for more affordable deli meats with only one carb. This means they have less fillers and
you will be better off.
We are less concerned about nitrates in cured meat as some people warn about. This is
because brands that advertise, “no nitrates,” still use celery extract as a natural nitrate. It is
the same thing in our bodies as regular nitrates. Most vegetables naturally contain abundant
nitrates, but also contain antioxidants like vitamin C which cancel out the harmful effects of
nitrates in the body. If you are concerned about the nitrates in cured meats, take some vitamin
C when eating them and this should go a long way to protect you. Having said that, brands
which advertise “no nitrates,” often use healthier raised meats and put less fillers in their prod-
ucts. You might be better off buying them if your budget allows.

Salmon
Salmon is only a superfood in “wild caught” form. Most farm-raised fish are fed soy and corn
based feed which destroys the omega-3 benefits. They are also high in PCBs. Wild caught
salmon can be inexpensive. It is easily found in the frozen foods sections of most supermarkets.
We buy ours from Aldi, a budget chain supermarket that carries four nicely-sized, individually
packaged wild salmon fillets for less than $4. Serene also buys a large style fillet of wild Alas-
kan salmon with skin on from Walmart. Both versions are affordable. Another cheap source is
canned wild salmon. It’s just as healthy and great for coconut Thai soups and salmon burgers.
Purchase in cans that are BPA free.

Yogurt
Always buy unsweetened yogurt and add your own stevia. Greek strained yogurt is preferred
because the whey water has been strained off, leaving fewer carbs. It is much creamier and has
twice as much protein. But, if it stretches your budget too much, buy plain yogurt and strain
off the water.

 

 

Other Essentials

There are a few essentials you will need to purchase from either the health food store, the
natural food section of your supermarket, an international supermarket, or online. We’ll talk
in more detail about them soon, but here’s a quick list.

NuStevia Pure White Stevia Extract Powder.
Bragg Liquid Aminos.
Nutritional yeast.
Glucomannan and xanthan gum.
Dreamfields noodles. They are good for all noodle purposes including Italian and Asian
style. Carried in most Kroger and Walmart supermarkets. If you cannot find them at
your local supermarket, order online.
Konjac noodles. Good for noodles in Asian style dishes and fantastic for Fuel Pull
dishes. Available at www.konjacfoods.com or www.netrition.com. You can find cheaper
versions at international stores. They are often called yam noodles. The ingredients will
list “yam root” as the main ingredient. This is not the yam like a sweet potato, but is
actually the konjac root itself, sometimes mixed with seaweed.
Kelp noodles. Good for noodles in Asian style dishes. Available at international stores
and online.
Chana dahl. Great for a lower glycemic bean option. Cheapest at international stores
but available at some Walmarts.

Getting a Lot of Food Items Without Spending a Ton of Money

 

 

Yes, it’s true that proteins cost more than starches do. We have to admit that white pasta, cheap,
fluffy white sandwich breads, Ramen noodles, packets of pretzels, and generic brand chips are
relatively cheap. People sometimes fill their carts with this sort of junk in the hopes of getting
a lot of food items without spending a ton of money. This practice might save you a dollar or two, but you haven’t bought any food. They are essentially non-foods. They might be cheap on
your bank account, but will be expensive to your long term health.
When we “cart watch” (a term we coined to describe the past time of observing the
contents of people’s carts while waiting in the checkout line), we notice that it is not only
cheap carbs that fill carts. There are almost always expensive ones too. Items like frozen
lasagna, frozen pizzas, boxed cereals (ouch, those will cost you), or those silly little frozen
packaged diet meals that don’t fill anybody up and leave you wanting to eat potato chips
afterwards.
We notice patterns when we cart watch. We often see women buying diet type foods like
those little low-calorie boxed meals. But, they have potato chips in their cart too! Doesn’t make
a lot of sense, but it’s extremely common. You will hopefully reduce or completely eliminate
these more expensive carb-laden, frozen items. They should be completely deleted from your
grocery list. Items like these are not cheap at all, so get rid of all such crazy carbs, whether
they‘re labeled diet food or not. Replace them with healthy proteins, more veggies, beans, and
whole grains and the switch should make very little impact on your budget. It should even
itself out and you might even save a dollar or two on the total.
If you are on a severely restricted budget, look at what you can buy rather than what you
can’t. Foods like Old Fashioned Oats, eggs, cans of tuna, lettuce, cabbage, brown rice, beans,
and butter are affordable for anyone.
We don’t mean boiling your cabbage unless you actually like it that way. Cabbage is such a
versatile, cheap vegetable that can be made in so many delicious ways. Think about sautéing or
roasting it with delicious seasonings in butter or coconut oil. Nothing could be better. Cabbage
is full of cancer fighting abilities and is the non-starchy vegetable that goes the longest way for
the smallest amount of money. Frozen cauliflower florets are very inexpensive also, and when
creatively prepared, can replace rice and potatoes very deliciously.
Treat yourself to a container of cooking coconut oil (Louanna brand from Walmart is
cheaper than extra virgin brands) and buy some unsweetened cocoa powder. Adding plan
approved sweetener, and you’ve always got chocolate to eat.
You could almost do our whole plan on these few inexpensive food items we’re suggesting
if you threw in a few berries, a piece of salmon now and then, and some green apples, as long
as you don’t mind not having a lot of variety.

 

Serene’s Budget Tip

 Serene chats: It costs just under a buck at any grocery store for a bag of dried beans
and this is good news for a large growing family. When my children have growth spurts,
they eat all day and I run out of ideas for snacks. Sometimes they have already had
enough fruit, bread, eggs, popcorn, smoothies and the like to fill a battle ship. I need
another healthy staple to fuel their tanks. Out of desperation, I came up with this very
affordable idea and it is now one of their favorites.
I soak a couple of bags of their favorite dried beans overnight and cook them up
the next day. After they become lovely and tender, I drain out the water and add a
little sea salt. Once they are cool, I put them in a tub in the refrigerator and they are
available for the creativity of budding chefs. When my children say they are hungry, I
tell them they can fry up their beans with their favorite spice. They love creating their
own specialties.
The older ones go at it on their own, and the little ones sometimes pair up with an
older one and help stir or suggest seasonings. Some of my children fry them up with
exotic curries and red palm oil while others prefer butter, parmesan cheese, and black
pepper.
Personally, I have come to love garbanzo beans sautéed with virgin coconut oil with
nutritional yeast and sea salt—great for a Crossover salad. Garbanzo beans are also
great first finger foods for older babies (without the hot spices), a healthy whole food
that grows strong children instead of sickly ones.

Pearl chats: I have adopted this bean idea from Serene and my children love it, too!
They often ask if we can have “bean fry ups” like the Allisons. That’s often what they
eat when they spend time at their home.
Bean days really help our budget. We often do these fry ups at lunch time since
it works well for hungry homeschooling children. I fry up the pre-cooked beans for my
younger ones in a little coconut oil, all purpose seasoning, and parmesan cheese, but
the older ones take great pride in doing it themselves. They all have their own “best
flavor” ideas. My oldest son, Bowen is a spice lover. Nobody else would be able to eat
his version of beans because they are so heavily seasoned with cayenne pepper and
Cajun seasoning. I don’t know how he handles the heat, and I am a spicy hot lover!
Because they are pre-cooked, it only takes a couple of minutes for the beans to heat
up and so I make them all wait to use the same fry pan. Paper plates and one fry pan—
clean up is not too bad.

I also make use of these beans. It’s a great way to merge both the children’s needs
and my own at lunchtimes. I’m not always eating Crossovers, so instead of frying up
my pre-cooked beans in generous amounts of coconut oil like the children, which would
be a Crossover, I often take out a cupful of beans and make a tuna and bean salad as
an E meal for myself. It’s really quick prep and still cheap—add a can of tuna to the
beans, some diced onion, and a delicious light dressing.
Lentils help our budget, too. My husband is not a big soup lover, so I often make
lentil soups for lunch while he is at work or on nights when he has to work at his second
job. Lentil soup is cheap and easy. Charlie also understands that when I’m at the end
of my grocery week and there’s nothing left, then it’s lentil soup to the rescue. While
not his favorite, he always eats two bowls full. My children love it with lots of cheese
and whole wheat crackers. I adore lentil soup and eat it E style usually, without the
crackers and with a little mozzarella sprinkled on top.
Don’t forget to check out our information on a legume called chana dahl in Founda-
tion Foods, Chapter 17.