Ok, so revolution is a bit of a strong word, but I’m a sucker for alliteration and, to be fair, there has been a bit of a mini revolution going on in our household.
For those of you who are just embarking on a real food journey or are curious about it and what it might mean, there are a ton of really great resources on the web to explore. All I can tell you is my experience. I like to do things with gusto, so when I decided it was time to eat “real” food, I quickly found myself searching for blogs, pinning on Pinterest (something I had not really done much of before) and, worst of all, looking through my cupboards and refrigerator.
My first move was to stop going to our big box grocery store and head to my new favorite local market, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, just a couple miles down the road. I live in a rural community, so there isn’t a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in sight. I had always seen Guido’s as a special occasion store. It’s all quite pricey and our dual non-profit salaried household just couldn’t afford to shop there.
But then I realized that – in the dead of winter – I didn’t stand much of a chance of finding organic produce, grass-fed beef and dairy, free-running chickens and eggs, etc. at local farms or farmer’s markets, so Guido’s seemed like the perfect starting place.
I also discovered a fantastic website called Vitacost.com. I shop local at Guido’s for fresh produce, meats, and dairy, but have started buying a lot of pantry staples, such as canned goods, baking ingredients, oats, and more at Vitacost. They offer free shipping for orders of $50 or more, and the groceries usually arrive in just 2 days!
I had already become a pretty good weekly menu planner before beginning my real food journey. I often spent part of my day on Saturdays looking for recipes for the week and making a grocery list and then would do my grocery shopping and some of my meal prep on Sundays. It sure helps out when we arrive home after a particularly long day at work and have the ingredients for dinner on hand (or, better yet, a meal already waiting for us in the slow cooker), and it also keeps us from dialing the local pizza delivery place.
The other sacrifice we made was eating out less. It really serves two purposes – saving money and avoiding processed foods. This is not so hard in the winter, when it’s below freezing and we don’t want to leave our house. The real trick will be in the summer when we are out and about more and our work schedules don’t always allow us to eat at home.
I’m not going to lie. Our first two months of real food eating involved some pretty pricey grocery bills. I attribute part of that to buying so many new pantry items, and the rest on my newfound enthusiasm for baking. I bought a lot of baking ingredients, which is something I rarely did before embarking on our real food journey. But follow along with me – I am determined to make eating real food on a budget a reality for my family and yours!
To learn more about me and how this all started, click here.