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Whole Foods Lifestyle For discussion of whole foods and more natural diets.

How do you deal with the expense?

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Old 11-01-2007, 08:50 AM   #16
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I have to shop on a budget and I found this "daily dozen" list to be very helpful.

I also do what many here have already suggested: I cook from scratch, grow some of my own veggies, and buy from farmer's markets. I have been buying organic spinach and spring greens from Costco lately. I am dismayed at the amount of packaging, but it is a large amount for a great price.

I have noticed that by eating more produce and less meat and grains, that that brings costs down as well. It may seem like organic produce is expensive, but put it into perspective along with the rest of your food budget. Compare it to breakfast cereals or say a dining out budget, then it comes out pretty reasonable, imo.
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:38 PM   #17
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Rosie Kate, YOU are "pretty reasonable" in my opinion!

I just wanted to reiterate to anyone who comes into the thread at this point that a "Whole Foods" lifestyle isn't about shopping at a particular store, it's about eating more whole, natural, fresh foods.
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:53 AM   #18
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Good point, Soul Bliss

I've yet to set foot inside a Whole Paycheck, I mean Whole Foods!



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Old 11-07-2007, 01:03 PM   #19
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Rosie - you should take a look at a WF sometime - maybe leave your $$ at home - they really are very very nice stores! We lived in Seattle for 8 months a few years ago and I really enjoyed having a TJs and WF to shop at. I miss them, but not enough to move back.

I've just discovered a sort of CSA available in my area - boxes of fresh veggies air-freighted in. Not cheap, but it sounds like you get a fair amount. A friend of mine just started last week, so I'm waiting to get her input....
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:47 AM   #20
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Default A few thoughts

Are you near a Costco? Do you have a chest freezer. We bought a 2nd freezer (I mean in addition to our regular fridge/freezer unit in the kitchen) and have a Costco strategy:
Buy the huge bags of organic frozen veg. and fruit there--divide into reasonably large but manageable sizes--put in ziploc freezer bags--keep one bag at a time in the upstairs freezer. Frozen fruit is just fine to use, especially now that fresh fruit is less available.

At the grocery store:
organic plain yogurt
whatever organic veg. are in
whole wheat pizza crusts (i.e. Boboli)
the bags of stir-fry mixed veg (Bird's Eye, etc. that do not come with sauces--make them with tofu or low fat beef)

I also think not everything has to be certified organic (to me, it is particularly important w/dairy and certain fruits). If you buy along the perimeter of the store, you tend to avoid the aisles w/the more processed food. Also, it's not an all-or-nothing thing. One can only make so many changes at one time w/o becoming resentful.
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Old 12-31-2007, 03:14 PM   #21
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Farmer's Markets really are the way to go when they are open...or if you have one near. When the markets are closed, I try and rotate my shopping between Whole Foods and discount supermarkets. That way, I can still get in my organics most of the time, and save money too. Nutrient wise, the most important thing is finding produce that was grown as close to you as possible (you'd be surprised at how many locally grown things you can find at discount stores). Other ways of cutting out the cost are ride your bike or walk/bus to the store a couple of times a week...especially if you are going to Whole Foods. Then you have the satisfaction of knowing you saved money (and are being eco-friendly) on gas and now have a few extra cents to spend on those organics!
I can totally relate on the extra expense of the "significant other" :P My boyfriend wont eat as many greens as I do, but I just buy him cheaper processed food to make up the difference! I know it sounds mean, but really, he eats it, and when there is no other choice will eat (and LIKE!) my healthier choices. I find it is easier to get him to share the food when I prepare it for him.
Getting healthy with your food quickly becomes a huge lifestyle makeover in so many ways, and I promise you will find yourself cutting expenses in other areas of your life(in good ways) and making the grocery budget an easier one to deal with. It just takes time
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Old 01-07-2008, 05:07 AM   #22
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Here in Tampa some of the bigger chains that do organic foods often have sales and while I am rarely in the mood for 25 breakfast burritos at a time, the comparison of 4.99 each to 2.25 is so worth it. In the end if we add up all the crap we have put into our bodies over the years don't you think cleaning your body of all the crap and putting in the better fuel is about time. "Suddenly Susan" seems to have it all on track here. The farmers markets rock, though if you shop around some of the chains you can find little bits or organic here and there and hey at least while you are out and about you are burning calories.
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Old 02-02-2008, 11:57 AM   #23
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We call them whole paychecks here in seattle too ! In our household it is just me and the hubby and we recently started getting deliveries from this company called SPUD or small potatoes urban delivery. They tell you as you are ordering how far the item had to travel to get to their warehouse. Most of the stuff is within 200 miles. I know that seems like a lot, but here in washington, most of our produce is grown on the eastern side of the state. The company has gone carbon neutral and the stuff is packed into reusable totes and no unnecessary packaging for produce and everything else. I love it. We spend about $90-$120/ week on groceries which is about the same as before in the grocery store, but now it is mostly all whole foods and organic.
We live in the suburbs of seattle so all the green markets and big grocery stores are atleast 5 miles away so this helps a lot with travel time, gas expenses and helping the environment.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:17 PM   #24
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Hey Tigerente, It's great that you do that. I live in eastern Washington and I remember visiting Seattle last summer and going to a Whole Paycheck for some supplies. They had piles of beautiful and expensive produce all imported from California! It was the height of summer and eastern Washington was producing all that same produce in abundance and instead of buying from in-state, Whole Foods was importing from CA! I became quite enraged, actually, particularly when we went over to the wine section and they had about 4 bottles of WA wine and about a million bottles of CA wine. Way to support local agriculture...

But at least you're doing the right thing.

ETA: We have the opposite problem out here. Produce is relatively inexpensive (especially in summer when we can buy from the farmer's market or directly from farms: like 75c/lb for asparagus and 10lb onions for $3) but dry goods that have to be trucked in are terribly expensive. We pay (literally) twice as much for things like canned tomatoes and boxes of pasta than we did when we lived in a city. I try to limit my purchase of those kinds of things, but some trucked in items are necessary each week. It gets expensive.

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Old 02-02-2008, 12:33 PM   #25
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I just joined a CSA for the first time this year and I'm looking forward to all the fresh organic produce
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:00 PM   #26
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Baffled111~ I live in central WA and find that everything is more expensive then it was in California (we moved in August.) I think that's mainly due to the fact pretty much everything has to be trucked in. I can't wait until the farmer's market opens in April! Even though the prices are higher then in your area (75c/lb for asparagus!!! I'm jealous!) the prices are still better then the stores.

I just watch adds and I shop at all the stores in town. There are certain things you can only get for a good price at certain stores. Good thing we live in a small town so I don't waste too much gas. I also love to buy grains, spices, honey, molasses, etc. at the local health food store in bulk.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:28 PM   #27
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Wow I didn't know this thread was still around! I have always known that whole foods doesn't mean organic It is just the preference of mine when choosing processed food (since most processed food that isn't organic has added ingredients that I don't want to be eating!) and I thought maybe some here who made the same choice would be able to give me some tips!

I do have a BJ's membership, but I tend not to use it. There are only two of us, and since I've started eating more whole foods, I don't like to buy things in bulk since they tend to go bad before we can finish them.

Since I started this thread, I have done the following:
* Looking into joining the organic CSA near where I work this coming summer. Not sure if I will like it though since I won't get to choose what I get
* I'm up to about 80% of what I eat being whole foods and non-processed. I still can't seem to get rid of my sweetener (2 a day in my 1 cup of tea), Fiber One bars (tend to have 1 every day), breakfast cereal, and FF hot cocoa.
* I print out recipes for the week and have my DH choose which ones he wants me to make out of those. I make a list and shop ONLY from my list. This has been THE BEST thing to reduce my grocery budget.
* I look at fliers for all 3 supermarkets in my area and base where I shop off of that. Whatever has more on sale from my list, that is where I go. Some weeks I go to multiple stores.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:12 AM   #28
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I am a newbie to the whole foods thread but I had a few thoughts to contribute here. I don't worry about buying things that are labeled "organic" because I am not sure that label carries a lot of value, but I do think it adds a lot to the cost. I do try to get a lot of things locally, and I know that they are grown "organically" because I know the farmers and farms, but they have not gone to the trouble and expense of becoming certified organic. Even if it is labeled organic, if it came across the country, I prefer not to buy it. It pays to get to know what is available in your area and build relationships with the vendors/farmers. I know a lady who gives me farm eggs when she has too many - so I know that her chickens are "free range" and naturally fed. I buy from a local dairy, and lots of times when I go in there, since I am a regular, they throw in extras. I shop at the Amish Market nearby. I am a big bargain shopper and I think I pay more now for my food, but not significantly more.

But I have a question for those of you experienced with CSAs - similar to modkttn's comment. A couple of the vendors I'm familiar with at the Farmer's Market have CSAs and I'm considering signing up. So I would be getting the same stuff I see at the market, except it would be a surprise each week. Which could be fun, but could also be a pain trying to figure out how to use it. What is the main advantage of CSA over Farmer's Market? Is the cost significantly lower? I haven't kept good enough records of my veggie expenditures to do a good comparison.
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:58 PM   #29
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Don't know if my suggestions will help or not.
I'm a small farmer & I raise most of my own food - about 75%.
I agree with Schmoodle - organic isn't what its cracked up to be. The USDA has changed the standards to accommodate big agr biz. Certified Naturally Grown is good but the USDA is trying to interfere with that too.

What I always tell people who want to keep the cost of their food down is to try & grow some of it yourself and freeze or home can it.
There are so many homesteading & self reliant blogs out there with tons of information.

Even people with small postage stamps yards in town can grow some of their own food.
It is not hard.
Ever thought about raising a few backyard chickens?
They are no more trouble than a couple of cats & give an egg almost everyday.

CSA is good for some people but please understand that certain veggies & fruits are only in season for short while depending upon your location. A freezer is almost a necessity.
Cooking from scratch will save a fortune.
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Old 02-11-2008, 08:04 PM   #30
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In the summer here (June-early Sept) we grow what we can, i.e. that has a short enough growing season. Usually we do lettuce, swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, spinach, zucchini, green beans and a few cabbages. We also have a greenhouse where we grow tomatos and cucumbers. For fruits we grow rhubarb, raspberries, currents and strawberries. We also buy local when we can. The season for farmer's markets is also short (they don't get any special weather yet). The rest of the year I get fresh veggies from a CSA in Washington state. It's about as "local" as I can find fresh stuff. At least it doesn't come from South America!

Schmoodle - I get a list on Thursday for what will be in my CSA box on Tues. It's enough time that I can arrange my other shopping to accommodate what I'm getting and I can substitute a certain number of things if I don't like them. I have fun looking for recipes for things we don't usually eat.


I've kept chickens in the past, and they are entertaining as well as giving you fresh eggs. Again the winter is what makes it difficult. I kept them through the winter several times, but they stop laying and require a lot more care - which means higher electric bills and no eggs to offset that cost.
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