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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 10-29-2007, 11:26 AM   #1
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Default How do you deal with the expense?

I really want to shop exclusively for whole foods. I really want to do away with sweetener and things I can't even pronounce (seriously, how hard is it to ONLY put milk and cream in Half & Half and not all that other stuff?!). The thing that bugs me is that I have to pay extra NOT to have that extra crap in my food. A Whole Foods just opened pretty close to my house. The closest Trader Joe's is over an hour away. I really want to shop exclusively at Whole Foods, but it seems so expensive (especially the meat!). How do you deal with this? BTW, my local supermarkets have some natural/organic products, but the prices are comparable to Whole Foods prices anyway.
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Old 10-29-2007, 11:42 AM   #2
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Well for me, whole foods really means veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes and other minimally processed/non processed food items. It doesn't necessarily mean organic or buying stuff at "Whole Foods". I think overall it is cheaper not to buy crap but in general, I buy very little at "Whole Foods". I do love my Trader Joe's and I usually buy tons of stuff at Costco. I shop the regular super market as well.

As for expense, I don't feel I spend too much besides I save on all the crap that I read the first few items on the label and see it isn't for me. Also, I rather spend money on groceries now than spend it on poor health later

Oh and if your goal is organic stuff, you might want to see what other markets are in your area and also it is starting to get too late but farmer's markets are great for buying produce.
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Old 10-29-2007, 11:42 AM   #3
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All stores carry foods that are not processed. Think fresh or organic. Also try farmer's markets.. You can save money by looking for special sales on the food you prefer at any store.
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Old 10-29-2007, 11:56 AM   #4
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I buy tons of vegetables at farmers markets for a fraction of what they charge at the supermarket. I buy all of my grains, spices, and other products available in bulk bins at the natural food store, again for just a fraction of what they charge at the supermarket. Cooking from scratch helps keep costs down, as well as making sure I'm in complete control of what's in my food.
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Old 10-29-2007, 12:12 PM   #5
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Next to rent, food is my family's biggest expense. We cut corners everywhere else because quality, organic, local, vegan, whole foods are worth it to us for our health, for the environment and for the animals. We don't have an "entertainment" budget, for instance. I do trades and barters and look for coupons and discounts for everything. We participate in the local CSA (which was hit by the Witch fire in San Diego, sadly ).

All the things mentioned before are great suggestions.
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Old 10-29-2007, 12:17 PM   #6
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While I love the Whole Foods concept I finally had to stop shopping there due to the expense. In the long run it's possible to find good stuff at the farmer's market & in the produce department of the local stores at a significantly lower price. Just avoid processed foods, keep it as clean as possible & you're doing the whole food thing. Good luck & enjoy!
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Old 10-29-2007, 12:38 PM   #7
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I belong to a recipe club that suggests you buy for only 3-4 days at a time and actually PLAN your meals as well as snacks. That way there is not a bag of carrots or apples rotting in your fridge. Wasted food is a big money zapper.
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:14 PM   #8
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Soulbliss... sorry to hear about the fire and the effect on your community .
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:30 PM   #9
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Whole foods stores around here are ridiculously expensive. Some people call the store Whole Paycheck instead of Whole foods! I am a devotee of TJs and count myself very lucky to have one close by. What I do generally is get the store ads on Monday or Tuesday, see what produce is on sale and try to plan my meals around what is on sale. Not always possible 100% or even 50% but gettign some things on sale can only help your budget.

I cannot afford to go the entire way and buy organic yet, so i cannot advise you on that. In the summer and spring time, if you have dirt or pots you might think about planting some stuff youself.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:00 PM   #10
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I agree with what others have said - "Whole Foods" isn't necessarily the best place to buy whole foods.

I have great luck visiting the greenmarkets in my area. Produce is much better quality, and prices are fantastic - always less than any chain supermarket. They also tend to stock as much local produce as possible, which is a plus IMO.

While there are certain items that I now pay more for (organic milk and meat/poultry, for example), I'm finding that - overall - I'm actually saving money over buying processed foods. Partly because I don't eat as much when I'm eating better (due to getting more fiber and lean protein), but also because some items are just cheap, cheap, cheap. Brown rice, all kinds of dried beans, and seasonal produce can allow you to eat quite cheaply, so that even if you incorporate more expensive organic meat, your overall meal cost is still low.

I do find that planning helps. I shop every 3-4 days, and go with a list that covers a complete meal plan for the next 3-4 days. This allows me to buy my produce regularly, so it's nice and fresh. It also means I'm not overbuying - if plans change, I don't have two weeks' worth of groceries sitting in the fridge going bad. I keep a well-stocked pantry, so when I shop I'm mainly buying some meat, loads of fruit and veggies, small milk and some eggs. Every 6 weeks or so, I'll hit Costco to stock up on staples like flour, rice, canned tomatoes, etc.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:09 PM   #11
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I already do plan my meals in advance. There are no other "green" grocers near me, and all farmers markets but one in my area are open during times I cannot attend because I am at work. I want to start going to the one I can attend, but that is only open for a couple more weeks. Its not just the "whole" concept I want to embrace. I just hate seeing the ingredients list for some of the food I eat that CAN be "all natural" (for instance yogurt and ice cream) and isn't.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:15 PM   #12
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Have you investigated joining a CSA for your produce? Here is a list of CSA's in Rhode Island:

http://www.localharvest.org/search-csa.jsp?scale=&lat=&lon=&x=&y=&ty=6&zip=&st=42&but .x=36&but.y=11

I found that this was so much cheaper than the grocery store or even the farmer's market (and the food was fresh and local!). My CSA also had eggs from their own free-range chickens, and they were some of the most amazing eggs I have ever tasted.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:26 PM   #13
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Yes, I have thought of CSAs. The one in RI that I would like to join is close to work, but not to home. Basically, it looks like the only organic CSA in the state. I considered joining a non-organic one (local is still better than non-local even if it isn't organic), but by the time I discovered CSAs, it was well into the season. It is something I am keeping in mind for next year, though.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:28 PM   #14
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I suppose I should add to this that DH doesn't really care if it is organic or local or anything. So on top of trying to shop healthier for myself, I am still going to have to buy some things that I have been buying (deli meat for example) but now just for him since I won't eat them. I think this is probably the main reason I'm having problems with the expense!
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Old 10-31-2007, 03:14 PM   #15
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Lori - You can freeze that processed meat, leave out only as much as he'll eat in a few days. It thaws really quickly. But keep working on your DH. Mine was a huge processed meat eater, but I've slowly gotten him where he won't touch it. I started by buying higher quality stuff (i.e. REAL turkey and beef from the deli) already sliced, and moved from that to sandwiches made from stuff we'd cooked at home. I've also moved from tuna to left over salmon made into a salad for sandwiches.

We don't have either Whole Foods or TJs here. There is a "natural" grocery and an oriental grocery that has high quality produce (also a Costco) in Anchorage - a 50 mile drive. I try to hit those when I go to Anchorage. Otherwise, I'm dependent on my local grocery, but I do pretty well with the regular produce. They do have some organic but it's a pretty slim selection. In the summer we have a farmer's market, plus the only organic farm in the area is about 1/2 mile from me. They do CSAs, and also farmer's market in Anchorage (but not our local one ) and on Fridays from 5-7. We also grow some of our own veggies and fruit (rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries) and my DH fishes for salmon. We sometimes trade for game meat (moose, caribou) and halibut.
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