Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Eating Healthy on a Budget

For the months of January, February, and March, I am (and have been) purchasing only what is necessary for our family's health.  That means no processed foods including chips, candy, pastries, ice cream, alcohol, red meats, luncheon meats, and bread.  We are purchasing only the following:

  1. Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
  2. Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, oats) and whole grain pastas 
  3. Various flours including wheat, barley, and oat for making muffins and breads
  4. Beans and nuts (peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, and walnuts)
  5. Organic eggs, organic chicken, organic turkey, whole milk hormone-free plain yogurt, and organic Parmesan cheese for toppings on vegetarian pasta and salads
  6. Butter, olive oil, and coconut oil
  7. Minimal amount of herbs and spices (sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, basil, parsley)
  8. Minimal amount of honey and maple syrup for sweetening

The above ingredients include everything needed for a balanced diet and good health.  There's carbohydrates (#'s 1, 2 and 3), protein (#'s 2, 3, 4 and 5), and fats (#'s 4, 5 and 6).   Vegetarians will probably tell me I don't chicken or turkey and vegans will tell me I don't need eggs, yogurt, or butter either.  Maybe not but I have been a vegetarian for many years and find that my energy is usually low even when eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grain foods.  So I'm going to be a flexitarian for a while.  A flexitarian is someone who is a vegetarian most of the time with occasional meat and dairy added.  So I plan on eating poultry once or twice a week, eggs a couple of times a week, yogurt a couple of times per week, butter in cooking and on toast, and Parmesan cheese to top pasta for added flavor and protein.  This change from my prior diet will increase protein and saturated fats.  Yes, saturated fats.  You're probably thinking how is eating saturated fats healthier?  There is little connection between heart disease and saturated fats or cholesterol.  Your body needs cholesterol to metabolize hormones.  There IS a strong connection between heart disease and trans fats (hydrogenated) and overuse of vegetable oils (especially canola), however, so stay away from them.   

I am doing this experiment for the 3 reasons:
  1. Save money
  2. Health
  3. Energy 
Will we save money on our grocery bill?  Will our health improve?  Will we sleep better, feel better, and have less aches and pains?  Will we have more energy?  We'll see.  I'm on day 10 of this journey and so far don't feel any different except I am enjoying my food more and have a little more energy.  We made bread and blueberry muffins yesterday.  Delicious!!  A few days ago, I made a large pot of my vegetarian soup but added one pound of ground turkey meat instead of vegan ground meat or beans like I usually use.  So I guess the soup is no longer vegetarian.  The pot made 8 servings so each bowl of soup had only 2 ounces of meat.  Again, it was delicious!!  Next time I plan on making the vegetarian soup vegetarian with beans instead of meat.  I'm going to rotate between both meat and beans.   

If anyone would like to join me on this journey, please do and let me know how you are doing.

Caution:  Before starting any new exercise program or diet plan, please consult your primary care physician.

Image: posterize / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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