I have become obsessed. Completely addicted to eating a whole foods diet.
It started last month when I decided to do the Whole 30. (It’s basically just a strict paleo diet in which you can only consume whole foods, some of which are excluded, for thirty days.)
It’s been almost two weeks since I finished.
And after 29 years of eating 90% junk I’m feeling pretty darn good!
I haven’t been getting tired until it’s actually time for bed. When I eat I no longer get that sluggish, yucky feeling. And I am not craving sugar or processed foods AT ALL.
That’s right. I have officially ended my Cheez It and Nutty Bar addictions. I thought this day would never come 🙂
Another reason I know how good for my body this diet is, is because around week three I slipped up. I ran out of groceries, was starving, and subsequently decided to eat at Arby’s. After I ate my stomach hurt so incredibly bad. I’m not even kidding when I say the only thing I can compare it to is labor pains. It was THAT bad.
I guess when you rid your body of the bad stuff it gets super angry when you decide to put some more of that bad stuff back in.
As great as I feel there is one huge pitfall to eating this way. It is expensive. In fact I’m embarrassed to even tell you how much money I spent on food the first week of the Whole 30. (However, I will tell you it involved going to the grocery store three different times!)
Every week since I’ve been able to lower that grocery bill. I’m now feeling mildly confident in my whole foods saving strategy.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
# 1 – Start With Your Favorites and Come Up with Recipes From There
Since I’ve started the whole foods diet I’ve been a cooking fool. It’s crazy because I’ve never been one who loves to cook.
However, when I have just a few ingredients I can’t wait to see what I can turn those into.
For me my must have items are:
- Ground Beef
- Green Peppers
- Olive Oil
At first I thought I needed to have a little bit of everything. And while that’s nice, it costs a lot of money to have a little bit of everything. I can make tons of different things with just those few ingredients.
When I go shopping I make sure that I get enough of these items to last me through the week. While I also buy other items these are my must haves.
# 2 – Farmers Market or Amish Market First
After that first extremely expensive week I decided to visit the Amish self-serve stand before going grocery shopping. I wasn’t sure if they’d still have produces but lo and behold, they did!
And it was SOO much cheaper than Kroger. I spent about $30 and got twice as much food as I would have from the grocery store.
Obviously, depending on where you live the farmer’s markets may not have any fresh produce left. But if they do check with them first.
This was huge savings for me.
# 3 – Slowly Stock Up on Things
The whole foods diet can be pretty simple if you want it be. Fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs.
But then when you start looking up recipes a lot of them include vegetables you never buy, coconut milk, ghee, coconut flour, almond flour, coconut oil. All things that are not in my pantry.
Don’t feel the need to buy them all at once. I have slowly added something new each week. This helps keep costs down plus ensures that I’m not buying a bunch of stuff that I’m going to end up hating.
Which brings us to the next point.
# 4 – “Sample” New Things
When you’re eating a lot of new foods there’s inevitably going to be some things you just don’t like. While something may look good on the grocery store shelf it doesn’t mean you’re going to like it when you taste test.
When my whole30 ended I decided one thing I wanted to try and bring back to my diet was organic yogurt. Only, I’ve never ate organic yogurt before.
Instead of buying a truck load of it I bought two containers. And OMG it was the best stuff I’ve ever eaten. (In this case I wish I would have bought the truck load.)
But – I also tried almond milk and couldn’t do it. In that instance I was glad I started with just a small container.
When you’re buying new things start with a very small amount so you can see if you like them first.
# 5 – A Non Organic Tomato is Still Better Than a Bag of Chips
In a perfect world we’d buy everything organic. I want to buy everything organic, especially after watching Food Inc.
But organic versions are expensive. For instance, a pound of organic zucchini is $1.65. A pound of non-organic zucchini is $0.99. Non-organic yogurt might be $0.50 a cup. Organic yogurt is $2.00 a cup.
You get the point.
What I’ve been doing is buying organic versions of the stuff I use a lot and matter to me. This includes bananas, zucchini, coconut milk, and coconut oil. (Added to that list is now organic yogurt too. That stuff is heavenly.) I also received more fresh local beef from a family member so I’m covered there for a while too!
But if I bought organic everything I’d probably be spending at least $300 per week on groceries.
Instead of guilt tripping myself about it I buy organic where it matters to me and keep reminding myself that non-organic vegetables are still better than Cheez Its and Nutty Bars.
# 6 – Grow & Preserve
I almost didn’t list this one here because the advice is so over stated. But……………I grew a massive garden this year and by the end of the season I let a bunch of stuff go to waste. A bunch!
I didn’t feel like learning how to preserve food. My dad has asked me to learn how to can for years now. He always tells me he’ll grow the food and I’ll preserve it. I had no interest.
And this year my dad tilled our garden and supplied the plants. It was huge. I probably had enough zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes to last me a year. I let them rot after I got tired of messing with them.
You better believe that next year I will learn how to preserve.
# 7 – Look for Creative Ways to Save
I remember way back when I thought extreme couponing was cool. I would read all the comments from people exclaiming it was hard to save money on the healthy stuff. That it didn’t matter to me.
I get it now.
But just because there aren’t gobs of coupons available for whole foods doesn’t mean you can’t creatively save money on them.
Farmer’s/Amish Markets – I’ve already said this but it’s worth saying again. My Amish market was incredibly cheaper than the grocery store.
Amazon – I bought organic coconut oil from Amazon. It was cheaper than the grocery store. (Plus I like to read reviews!) If you have a Discover card and are signed up for their rotating 5% quarterly categories for the fourth quarter, you can earn 5% Cashback Bonus on Amazon!
Cashback Credit Card – If you have a Discover Card and Apple Pay on your phone you can earn 10% cash back by paying with Discover through Apple Pay through the end of 2015 on in-store purchases. (Plus some stores are offering incentives for using Apple Pay as well. Do some research before you go shopping.) That’s like a 10% discount right there.
Learn as You Go
After 29 years of eating junk I’m feeling pretty darn good after roughly 45 days of eating right. My skin feels softer, my body feels good, my energy levels are consistent, and sugar cravings are gone.
While I spent way too much at first I’ve learned a lot these past several weeks. Aligning my budget with my food needs is starting to become easier.
Do you have any tips that I’m completely missing?!
A big thanks to Discover for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.