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There is no doubt that eating whole nutritious foods can often be more expensive than conventional processed food. Processed food has been purposely designed to be cheap, but at what cost? How can we possibly eat more naturally when on a budget?
When you pay more…you are more likely to eat less of it. Michael Pollan emphasizes this point in his book, In Defense of Food. When you spend more on a product, you will naturally savor it more! One of the greatest pleasures in being a homemaker is being able to prepare nutritious food that is delicious. We love it…we savor it…we don’t stuff ourselves. We enjoy our food!
Michael Pollan shares: “Overeating promotes cell division, and promotes it most dramatically in cancer cells; cutting back on calories slows cell division. It also stifles the production of free radicals, curbs inflammation, and reduces the risk of most of the Western diseases.”
1. Slow down and enjoy it – serve smaller portions!
If we slow down to enjoy our food more, it will give our body sufficient time to let us know that it is full. Plus, slowing down helps proper digestion, allowing our bodies to receive the full benefit of the food as well. I also practice this by purposefully serving smaller portions and keep the leftovers in the kitchen away from view. It is partly psychological – we stop eating when the plate is empty. In this manner, we naturally slow down more to enjoy it and then we will really be able to evaluate if we need more after the first plate is completed. The bigger our plate is, the more our mind and body think we need to eat it all before we are full.
2. Whole foods sustain longer.
Whole foods, such as whole grains (especially when soaked or sprouted) are far more satisfying that their refined counterparts. Refined wheat for example, has no germ in it. The germ plays an active role in telling our bodies when we are full. When this is removed, our body has no idea how to communicate this. When we eat food that is nutritionally dense, it satisfies the needs of our bodies. When we make our whole wheat pizza for example, Aaron and I will eat just two pieces each because it is satisfying, and then we have leftovers for tomorrow. When we eat out for pizza or take-out, we will be more inclined to eat 3-4 pizzas each because we need more! The refined flour is not providing the body with the nutrition it needs, so it tells us to keep eating until it gets it. Alas for overeating and obesity in our nation. Do you see how it can be more expensive to eat refined foods? You need more to satisfy, but at the risk of overeating.
3. Get rid of the snacks and fancy foods.
When we eat whole foods, we don’t buy the snacks (except for the occasional box of Jo-Jo’s from Trader Joes – my hubby’s special treat)! They are usually empty carbs that we don’t need. Whole foods keep us happier much longer. I have purposely not purchased snacks over the last few years in order to stay within our food budget. But it wasn’t till recently that I realized we really did not need them anyway. We honestly rarely feel a necessity for a snack…even among the children. Delicious green smoothies or soaked oatmeal will keep our bellies full. If we do need a little extra something, a piece of fruit, handful of frozen blueberries, or raisins will do us just fine. Snacky foods are just expensive and when we have them on the shelf in our kitchen we are just tempted to eat them. Did we really need them? NO! If we avoid buying them all together, it is not a problem! We are forced to eat the whole foods.
Lastly, make sure you and your spouse are on the same page. This is key! Read In Defense of Food or Real Food together or just highlight important points to your spouse. Watch Food, Inc together and discuss it. I did this while reading In Defense of Food, and my husband was astounded by some of the facts and then supported me more fully in our food purchases. When you are in agreement as to the importance of eating real food together, you will both be united in seeking ways to cut back in other areas in order to eat whole foods. If you are not on the same page yet, pray it out and still present them with the information in a gracious and appealing manner, and be patient.
That is our goal: use our food budget to buy real food, slow down to enjoy it, serve smaller portions, eliminate the snacks and drinks, and we are happy and satisfied! There are a few more ideas for eating naturally on a budget!
Have you experienced this? How do you seek to eat naturally on a budget?