Eating Organic Economically; How I Eat and Cook all WeekPosted: May 23, 2012 Filed under: Food and it's Impact on Our Health, In The Kitchen with Millie- How To's 2 Comments
People tell me all the time that eating organically is too expensive. This is simply not true. Most people buy and use a lot of convenience and packaged foods nowadays. Americans eat out an average of 3 times a week. 30% of our meals are eaten in cars.
Then there are the doctor bills that come from eating poor quality food.
There are many way to eat healthy and avoid these financial and health issues;
1) If you cannot afford to eat 100% organic then eat organic those foods that have the most impact on your health- buy all meat and fats organic. This will give you the most nutrients for your money.
2) Begin container gardening; it’s easy, inexpensive and with a few months you can be harvesting. I can eat baby lettuce 2 weeks after planting! In 6 months you will see a huge difference in your grocery bills.
Below is a game plan for how I keep my grocery bills down and meet all of my caloric and nutrient needs. It shows how I plan and manage my week so that time and money are saved.
Here is my shopping list. Note that there arte almost no packaged foods. I make everything from scratch. An organic chicken costs me about 11.00 to 12.00 dollars and gives me 4 meals and bones to make stocks and fat to cook in! FOUR organic chicken breasts cost about 8.00 dollars, quite a difference.
1 whole organic chicken 9.00
1 pound grass-fed hamburger 7.99
18 eggs- Grassroots- 3.99
1 pound turkey bacon 5.79
½ pound salmon 4.99
1 pound raw butter 10.00
1 pound carrots 2.99
3 large onions 3.25 *
¾ pound coffee 7.99
3 beefsteak tomatoes 2.00 *
Garlic bulb .30 *
2 limes .99
2 lemons 1.10
3 green peppers bell peppers 2.99 *
1 bag celery 1.99
1 pint blueberries 3.99
1 bunch kale 3.99 *
3 large sweet potatoes 2.99 *
74.34~ grocery cost
17.52 minus the items I grow
The items with an asterisk are the things I grow in sub-irrigated containers; I used 5 gallon buckets, soil, perlite and made sub-irrigated containers. Growing from seed is cheap.
If you have a backyard, or a deck for container gardening, or grow lights indoors, you can save further in ways that processed food eaters can’t: Almost all year I grow salad greens, herbs, braising greens of some kind and cucumbers and tomatoes. (The salad herbs oregano, thyme, mint, basil, cilantro and parsley never quit here in any season!)
Items I make myself; almond butter made in the Champion juicer, coconut milk yogurt, mayonnaise, salad dressings. These things are very inexpensive to make, very easy to do…not much labor.
Starting on the day I shop, here’s how I eat and cook all week, very simply, but extremely healthy.
First Night; I roast a whole chicken by rubbing butter all over it, salt and peppering it, maybe some garlic or lemon juice and zest. Then roast it for 30 minutes on 450°. Then turn the oven down to 300° and bake for 30 minutes. Now turn the oven back up to 400° and roast that bird just 165°, checking for temp in the thickest part of the breast, not hitting the bone. Save the pan drippings for cooking, save the carcass for stock. Here’s a link to making stock-
That is dinner the first night; a leg and thigh and some breast meat, pour pan drippings over it, using fat and gelatin in roasting pan. With some sautéed peppers and onions and a few slices of ripe tomato, here’s a great dinner.
Breakfast is usually 2 eggs, fried in butter or coconut oil, 3 slices of turkey bacon, some coconut milk yogurt and a handful of blueberries. And 6 ounces of Turkish coffee, ground and brewed each morning. Some mornings I have Ezekiel bread.
Lunch is usually whatever I’ve had for dinner the night before, or an Ezekiel bread sandwich, with meat, fresh olive oil mayonnaise, or almond butter. Maybe Ezekiel with almond butter and sauerkraut, toasted. Usually a cup of meat stock and/or coconut milk yogurt.
Second night; take the rest of the meat off of the chicken, make stock. Have a great chicken soup that night, add sautéed celery, carrots, bay leaf. Maybe some kale sautéed in chicken fat, some gelatin from chicken pan drippings, onions, mushrooms. Sliced tomatoes.
Third night; 1/3 pound hamburger patty, sautéed onions and peppers, 8 ounces chicken stock, sliced tomatoes, coconut milk yogurt.
Fourth night; fresh salmon with dill, Dijon and fresh lemon juice, sautéed peppers, mushrooms and onions, sliced tomatoes. A cup of chicken stock.
Fifth night; Chicken meat prepared however you want, sautéed kale, ½ sweet potato, sautéed mushrooms. Coconut milk Crème Brule and a few blueberries.
Sixth night; 1/3 pound hamburger patty, pan gravy, ½ sweet potato with butter, kale with onions.
Seventh Night; Rest of hamburger with peppers, onions, tomato, salsa, avocado and fresh corn tortilla.
Shop again, or have leftovers, or breakfast for dinner.
Extras I buy if I can afford them; cherries, plantains to fry, dark chocolate, steaks, roasts, Ezekiel bread, wine.
Things I always have in the kitchen; raw butter, Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil and their coconut cream (to use in recipes that call for heavy cream or for decadent desserts) Dijon mustard, olives, herbs and spices, an array of vinegars, olive oil, sesame oil, masa harina, coconut oil, lemons, limes, Kava tea, organic coffee, Yerba Mate Tea, quinoa, rice, teff, coconut and tapioca flours, coconut milk, curry sauces, olives.
Bear in mind that this is a very basic dinner menu, showing how to meet all of your calorie and nutrient needs affordably. These dinners reflect basic eating, by adding other ingredients I can get real fancy, and I do at times.
Organic is still insanely expensive no matter how you pad it. At least around here where it is usually seen as a fad or marketed to the upper middle-class or rich. Our family is just climbing out of dirt poor. As someone who already cooks from scratch and rarely goes the pre-made, pre-packaged route organic prices are very scary at the store. Of course I am cooking for 8 people and that magnifies the situation a bit. We live in a rural location but are just now able to begin working on raising our own foods. The garden area is getting lots of TLC this year to turn it from glorified sand into real dirt. My dad built us a portable coop and some young hens. We are also slowly acquiring some rabbits for future meat production. But even those things take money and not too long ago if I couldn’t buy it at the grocery store with food stamps I couldn’t get it. I understand not everyone is where we are and most folks use “affordable” as an excuse to avoid the issue but dang those prices are scary!!
I know, Coleen, that affordable is a relative term! I could not afford to eat all organic when I was raising my kids as a single mom. I am glad you are able to begin raising meat and veggies for your family. This will make you less dependent on those high prices. I started growing my own food when I found myself unemployed about 4 1/2 years ago…it kept me busy and slowly started saving me money!