Spend $ on food now or disease later | Ways to make the $ stretch for healthy food

Posted on July 15, 2011


One common complaint from those in the “not eating healthy foods as often as they should” camp is that it costs more money to buy healthy foods. To that –  I say Balderdash!! <–does anyone remember that game in the 80’s? So much fun!

For the overall argument that healthy foods costs more, I tell you, it definitely does NOT when you consider that eating processed, refined, sugary, carby, fast-food-type meals often absolutely results in increased risk for disease of all kinds. Eating your kale doesn’t give you a guarantee that you won’t develop some disease down the road, but eating nuggets of any kind, well, that steers you firmly into the ‘potential-for-disease’ path.

So for the long haul, which few adults seem able to see, acting like teenagers who thinks they’re invincible, blind to the effects of their choices…NO. Eating healthy food is not more expensive.

In the short-term, the only things more expensive than junk food are some prime cuts of grass-fed beef or wild-caught fish. But you don’t need to be dining on a porterhouse grass-fed steak every night! Grass-fed ground beef is often one of the cheapest things at the meat counter. There are often sales on organic chicken (made even cheaper if you buy the whole darn thing!) & wild-caught fish.

And when there’s a sale on produce – especially organic fruit – it is SO important to buy as much as you can. Fruit is consistently some of the worst for levels of pesticides on them. Pesticides are endocrine-disruptors, can live on in the gut lining for YEARS, and creates a toxic load the body now must deal with in addition to running its normal processes.

Buy organic fruit whenever you can! Especially apples & berries as they don’t have the protective peel bananas, oranges, or melons have.

When Whole Foods had a major sale on organic blueberries a month ago – I bought 22 pints. I spent $40 just on blueberries that day. Excessive? Absolutely not, given that organic blueberries range normally from $3/pint to $6/pint. I paid $2/pint. That’s a big savings on something that will last in my freezer until we fill our stomachs with every last berry.

But what do you do to store them correctly? If it’s blueberries, simply wash them spread them on cookie trays, baking sheets, roasting pans…whatever you’ve got….freeze them individually on the trays, then once frozen, you can bag them up into freezer bags. This ensures you don’t get massive clumps of berries stuck together when it’s time to use them. For strawberries, you’ll want to wash them, then slice them into whatever size you want, and also freeze them on trays individually. You’ll then be able to bag them without any worry of stuck-together strawberries.

We’ve still got 2 1/2 gallon freezer bags full of blueberries. We pull a handful out to eat frozen on some of these searingly hot days of summer. I microwave a small bowlful just long enough to warm them up and get the juices coming out of them (about 1 min for a small bowl) – it’s like a bite of blueberry pie, sans non-paleo pastry crust. And a handful always goes into our protein smoothies. And they cost me between $1-4 less than if I bought some today at the store.

That’s a savings on healthy food if I ever saw one.

Other things to do to save money on healthy food?

You should already know to shop the sales that the store has each week.

Consider honing your cooking skills a bit more. Nobody wants to buy healthy food if when they cook it, it tastes m’eh, then they throw half their meal away.

Acknowledge that it’s going to take more of your time to cook a meal than to microwave a frozen dinner. Accept that fact. Americans spend the least amount of time cooking meals each week, and we’re the fattest. Correlation? Yep.

Cook with fats. They add flavor & health benefits. Nobody likes a water-logged mushy broccoli stalk. Coconut oil is antimicrobial and antiviral – and cooks well at high heats. Butter, or ghee for the non-dairy Paleo crowd, is also antimicrobial & cooks well at high heat. Bacon fat, yes, bacon fat probably scares the pants off most of you who still think saturated fat is bad (it’s not). We save money on buying cooking oils by saving our bacon grease. It provides an awesome flavor & you’ll likely need less salt on your dishes because of the flavor it imparts. Olive oil….is ok if you’re not cooking with it. Highly carcinogenic if you are (that’s bad). Canola/sunflower seed/safflower/industrial-seed or veggie oils…are really bad. Avoid them as often as possible as they raise your omega-6 and lower your omega-3 profile. You want high omega-3s and low omega-6’s…not going to happen if you eat lots of those last fats.

Follow bloggers who are making it happen. Consuelo Werner amazes me because she’s fed her family a Paleo Diet & says she’s done it on food stamps. That. Is. Awesome. She also has a blog where she shows how much healthier her child got after she put her on a Paleo diet. It’s really neat to see! She’s blogging, on FB & Twitter sending out tips & ways to make evolutionary nutrition work for her family. Check her out! There are many others too, you’ve just got to search, talk to people, find the people who are making it work then follow them. For instance, I’ve tried out tons of recipes & posted them on this site. So swing through the recipes, Paleo & Gluten Free categories for those.

How else do you save $$ while still eating healthy? If you’re in the “it’s too expensive” camp, what hang-ups are you finding that keep you from buying healthier stuff?

Posted in: optimal health