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Can We Still Eat Naturally and Frugally?

Last post Sun, Feb 3 2013 12:34 PM by BargainBinge. 6 replies.
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  • Sat, Feb 2 2013 6:44 PM

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Can We Still Eat Naturally and Frugally?

    My husband has been away for work and not eating well. I recently came up to visit with him and we decided to spend some money on getting our diet on track. There was a time when we were eating a lot more naturally with a variety of foods but cost and availability have been issues for the last couple of years.

    We are enjoying getting fresh things while we can and trying some new recipes but I wonder how sustainable this diet will be.

    There is an article on the Dollar Stretcher about this. I know many out there must be having the same problem.

    What are you doing to eat natural and well?

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager

  • Sat, Feb 2 2013 8:41 PM In reply to

    Re: Can We Still Eat Naturally and Frugally?

    Yes, it is very possible to eat healthy and natural on a frugal budget. However, what the means and looks like for each person will vary due to many different factors. People have different budgets, difference priorities on how they spend their money, different access, different energy and availability, different definitions of what they define as healthy and natural, different dietary health needs, issues and concerns, different dietary preferences, different motivations and situations, etc.

    What's important is to do what works best for you and your household. Getting educated on healthy eating and living and tips/advice on ways to make things work will help. When you know what options are out there you can evaluate what might work for you and make healthier things happen. Posts like this are very helpful as they allow members to give feedback on how they are making healthy happen in their homes which gives other's ideas that may possibly work for them as well. It is best to gather every possible idea you can even if they aren't going to work - some will - and the ones that don't can be passed on as ideas to others too... The more options that WILL work though = the more possibilities for healthier eating and living.

    Thank you for the new topic post Brandy!

    Ways we are able to eat healthy in our home: Prioritize healthy eating over other things - this means more $ on healthy whole foods and less money spent on other things/cuts in other areas of our lives as eating healthy is top priority here and how it's always been. Note: we live in CA and have good access to fresh foods - my list here is based on our household and what we do because we are able to do - I understand this is not the case for everyone and am simply stating what we do to answer Brandy's question... It will be nice to see everyone's different answers here... Back to the list now. We grow our own foods, forage foods, trade/share foods; shop local organic farmer's market; shop discount produce racks at multiple stores; preserve/freeze fresh produce when overstock on backyard harvest or end of season sales and also purchase other foods on sale or markdown to use right away or freeze; make our own foods as we can; by bulk whole real foods like dry beans, legumes, peas, whole grains, etc... I have addtional food pantry storage and a large upright freezer in the garage for stocking/storage. I buy raw organic milk from the farm (We only have 2 farms in Northern, CA that can legally sell raw dairy milk - I have to buy at a special market where the farm delivers that morning and I go pick up), it's not budget friendly but I use it for health purposes... I get raw local honey from my friends around the block... I get discounts for buying things in bulk (example: 12pk case of my coconut waters or box of fresh coconuts... organic local avocados from my farmer friends, etc.) and also money back discounts for returning glass milk bottles from my raw milk and glass bottles from my raw honey - this saves money on my next round of purchases... The best way to eat healthy though is to first know how. I have spent over 10 years studying nutrition and it's the best gift I could have never given myself and family. It has helped us in our health and I have blessed to be able to help many people as well. I will continue to study it the rest of my life. Learning is learning and it doesn't matter how you are doing it - the point is you are doing it and learning and that's a true gift to yourself.

    Co ops and CSA programs are also really great for those who have access to them. I see many folks here enjoying Bountiful Baskets and think the whole thing is just beautiful. We don't have that set up here in CA but I am so glad other places have it. Growing whatever you can - backyard, windowsill, under the sink (sprouts!), living room fruit trees/edible plants (yes, it works), grow lights/set up, etc. HELPS. Barter and fair trade = very good idea as well. Learn about foraging, it's fun and may come in handy sometime. Eating by the season can be cheaper due to seasonal sales. Farmer's markets, produce stands, ethnic stores, etc. are great places to shop.

    www.localharvest.org is a great resource

    www.craigslist.org "for sale, farm/garden" section is also good for locals selling home grown foods or willing to trade

    Everyone can make something work even with limited access or funds. Work with what you can and what you have and know that i you are making conscious effort you are doing your best and every bit helps. Do not get discouraged if you can't afford every fresh food you wish you could or even none of them at all sometimes. You will figure out how to make something work as an alternative if you put a motivated mind to it. Never give up hope and be grateful for all that you are given - make good use of it and savor/enjoy it as you can. That's important!

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Sat, Feb 2 2013 9:35 PM In reply to

    Re: Can We Still Eat Naturally and Frugally?

    Another good point to bring up is building a healthy stockpile/food pantry to have healthy foods on hand. I have mentored quite a few people on building healthy stockpiles, stretching healthy foods and making meals/foods they may feel are unhealthy healthier by adding healthy foods to them to healthify the meal better... working with their "unhealthy" foods pile to use up while building up a healthier one in the process. Rome was not built in a day, neither is a healthy food pile. I try to stock up when I see good sales on real/whole/healthy foods I know I can make good use of. Cutting out a lot of fast, convenient, processed, altered, etc. foods can really help. They are often more expensive than the real food itself. Example: potatoes verse potato chips (by product of the real food itself, potatoes)...10lbs of potatoes 1.99 or a bag of brand potato chips 2.50+... I can make good use of those 10lbs of potatoes  that is for sure and if someone is begging for potato chips I can make them healthier myself from my own potato stash and kitchen.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Sat, Feb 2 2013 10:21 PM In reply to

    Re: Can We Still Eat Naturally and Frugally?

    We are eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat than we did a year ago. I also make meatless meals and we are eating more fish. I would still like to add even more fish but my DH isn't a big fan of fish and my DS won't eat it at all. I grow fresh herbs, tomatoes, peppers, green beans and cukes. I get fresh fruits from my parents yard. We share our produce with each other when we have excess.  We try to freeze what we can so we don't waste it. I like to visit the fruit stands and farmers market when I can. I try to buy the staples in bulk to save as much as I can. Every little bit helps keep the grocery bill down.
  • Sat, Feb 2 2013 10:25 PM In reply to

    Re: Can We Still Eat Naturally and Frugally?

    A few more thoughts, sorry but they may help others so I'd rather post than not.

    Some areas offer farm produce delivery boxes. Example, here in CA 2 big ones are Full Circle and Farm Fresh to You. They are like Bountiful Baskets but farm-company run not co-op style and they cost a bit more but may be cheaper than local grocery sales and are fresher and seasonal.

    Farmers in some locations have also teamed up with low income assistance programs and foods banks to help people eat healthier who can't afford much. Food banks and food assistance programs also can offer some fresh foods. I have voluntered with both and here in our area I have seen fresh foods given out and some healthier options with other foods given. There are also the boxes like Angel Food use to do and some have options like fresh produce boxes, all frozen veggie boxes, healthy snack boxes, etc.

    Education and research is everything, it will really help make things happen easier.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Sun, Feb 3 2013 11:08 AM In reply to

    • mechanika
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Sep 25 2012
    • Oregon, USA
    • Posts 258

    Re: Can We Still Eat Naturally and Frugally?

    Wow, thanks for the tip about getting produce from farms on Craigslist - I never thought about that! I bet sometimes you can also pick it up for free on there. For instance, just on food in general, I saw someone the other day clearing out their pantry and offering boxed meals for free via Craigslist, which would be nice for those on a budget. As with any buyer-seller exchange where you don't know the other party, practice good safety and be sure to take a buddy when you go to make the pick-up.

    You can call me Anika. :)
  • Sun, Feb 3 2013 12:34 PM In reply to

    Re: Can We Still Eat Naturally and Frugally?

    Anika, I was actually referring to folks like you and me who may have, for example, a plum tree that has over produced too many plums for them and they are selling them dirt cheap or within good reason or looking to barter for something you may grow yourself for exchange. Some farms offer barter though for work in exchange for farm foods... There are also some good sites that map out trees/places to forage and also pick your own farms. Anyhow, when I look on CG farm and garden section I keyword "organic" "fruit" "vegetables" "herbs" etc to limit my search results from all the other things posted. If I am looking for a specific food like "apples" or "eggs" etc. then I type that in the search box for the farm and garden section.
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
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