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Real Food, for Real People, on a Real Budget (new series)

Yo, I’m starting a new weekly series – Real Food, for Real People, on a Real Budget (Rx3).

If you want to get started with real food, but don’t know where to start, this series is for you.

If you are already dipping your toe in the water of healthier eating, this series is for you.

If you hate to cook and dishes scare you, um…well, keep reading and maybe you’ll change your mind?

This series is all about breaking down what seems to be overwhelming, to make it, uh, welming(?).  I know you can be overwhelmed, and I know you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?  (Name that movie).

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Real Food – what is it?
Well, in a nutshell it is something you can make yourself, has a list of ingredients that you can pronounce and recognize, and something that makes your body happy.  That last one is entirely subjective because, for some people, wheat can wreak havoc on their innards.  For people like me with a goat’s gut, wheat does nothing but make me happy.

If you take a look at the ingredients on a loaf of store-bought bread, even organic expensive bread, do you know where to buy all of those things?  I sure don’t!

real food on a budget
Sorry, I’ve rotated this photo landscape, but it refuses to upload to Blogger in that direction.  :kicks blogger:

Whereas I make bread at home and know every single ingredient that goes into it: flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, honey, water, and vital wheat gluten (a product from wheat that makes whole wheat bread nice and fluffy).

Next time you’re at the store, pick up a container of yogurt – even the fancy $2 yogurt.

real food on a budget

Dang, that is a LOT of ingredients, and unless you’re a chemist, chances are the words don’t just roll off your tongue.  Homemade yogurt ingredients: yogurt culture, and milk.

In addition to having fewer ingredients (and ones that you can pronounce), real food makes your body feel nourished.  It gives you more energy and doesn’t sit like a brick in your belly, and make you feel like a slug.  There is not one person on earth who doesn’t know that smoking isn’t bad for them.  Not one.  In the same vein, it’s impossible to look at a bag of Doritos and think “yep, this is exactly what my body needs to perform at its best”.

Real People
I don’t live on 30 acres of private farmland.  I don’t grow all my own food, raise my own meat animals, and use fiber from those animals to spin yarn and then knit clothes for my own brood of Von Trapp children.

Between work and commuting, I’m gone from the house at least 50 hours a week. My husband is only home one to two days a week, which means I do pretty much everything (and I mean everything – cleaning, laundry, mowing, gardening, chicken cleaning up after (it’s a thing), cooking, etc.,) around the house.  Basically, I don’t have a cleaning person, yard person, or any other outside help to get my stuff done.

And if I had the money to hire anyone, it would be someone to rub my feet and brush my hair for an hour every night.  Hair first, and then feet, because who wants their hair to smell like feet?

I mean, really.

Real Budget
I’m not making it rain at the clubs.  No one would accuse me of a lavish lifestyle.  I don’t have any tigers on a gold leash, and I’m only driving Cadillacs in my dreams.  So, I’ll never be a royal if you will.

My budget for pretty wholesome, mainly organic, and local when I can get it, for three people is about $350 per month.  How do I make it happen?  Well, I’m not going to give away the entire series now, but basically, it comes down to a lot of farking dishes, cooking from scratch, and changing how you view your eating habits.  My $350 per month might look different than your family’s amount, but please understand that you can likely eat wonderful and wholesome food at a lower price point than you are currently spending.

What It’s Not
Nothing in this series is designed to make you feel bad about what or how you eat.  My goal is only to show you healthy and yummy food can be made on a tight budget.  I read some “real food” bloggers out there, and I walk away thinking that I must be a horrible person because I’m not making cod liver oil pancakes or fermenting my toothpaste.  Sheesh, real food is a great guide, but food is not a religion and shouldn’t consume your life.

I’m excited about this series, and I hope you enjoy future posts.

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39 comments on “Real Food, for Real People, on a Real Budget (new series)”

  1. Thank you! This sounds like a great series! ‘Can’t wait to read more! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  2. I’m really excited for this new series! Being that I just work part-time, while my husband is in school using his GI Bill we ain’t making it rain anytime soon either. I took your advice and ordered grains from cultures for health, by the way! Also, a 30 acre farm is HIGHLY overrated. My parents have five acres, and that sometimes seems overwhelming. Although it could be those spitting alpacas… 🙂

    • Yeah, 30 acres seems like a ton!

      I’d love 3-5 acres of USABLE land, and maybe 5-10 acres of just woods that I could use for firewood, and for Jack (and hopefully a future little frugalette) to play in.

      I need to know more about spitting alpacas!

  3. “10 things I hate about you!!!!!” ………..and I am so excited for this series… which would go on a list called: “10 things I like about you.”

  4. I can’t wait for the series…. I have a small yard and we can hardly keep up with that and I would rather by from the local organic farmer… I do agree making our own breads with less ingredients… Again looking forward to the series…Lisa

  5. I’m so excited for this series!!! You’re my favorite! 🙂 Oh–and I had a dream last night that you’re living in the Seattle area was a hoax and I found out you ACTUALLY live in my tiny town. Reality sucks! 😉

  6. I realize you’ll probably get into it … but does said $350 budget include EVERYTHING? I.e. we buy our beef 1/2 cow at a time from a local farmer – we know what we’re getting, and overall it’s cheaper. We also buy bulk pork from a local organic pork farmer, and organic chickens as well. But 1/2 a cow is a big bill. Do you stock this way? and if so – is that part of the budget? Or is this budget the “regular” groceries??

    Really looking forward to this series as it fits our current changes perfectly! We’ve recently made some changes in our home that require tightening up the financial belt considerably; and we’re also dedicated to eating clean and healthy (you know … for the most part)! My goal for Saturday is to do up the 25lbs of organic tomatoes I just got for $20 (canning pasta sauce and a big batch of zucchini salsa). Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

    • Yep, everything, but keep in mind that is aggregate. Some months I have a huge purchase, and other months I barely buy anything.

      We do buy some meat in bulk, but don’t eat enough of any kind of meat to purchase a share. I know it’s such a great idea, but would be a waste for in our case.

  7. I’m on with you on the last part… some places just shun others with their higher/mightier-than-thou attitude, while their means are, well, a lot larger than a lot of the readers’. A long time ago I used to love following crafters’ blogs, but got tired of the “you should have time/means/skills/money to do this”. Well, I didn’t. And I am sure I wasn’t the only one. As always, thanks for keeping it real. Looking forward to the series.

    • I’d have plenty of time for everything if I had a whole staff of people to do all my work and I didn’t have to work outside the home, had oodles of money, etc. A fleet of helper monkeys sounds lovely.

  8. I believe education is never wasted. Cannot wait for you to educate us, young lady!

  9. The Lorde reference cracked my shit up.

    And make me realize you’re pretty legit with this series. I’m hooked.

  10. I’m so excited that you’re doing this. I’ve been sending my brother various links to various posts you’ve done, as he’s recently embarked on a new way of eating. I’ll be sending him over!

  11. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for homemade food. I would, however, like to point out that just because you don’t know what an ingredient is in your food or why it’s there, doesn’t make it unsafe, unhealthy, or not a “real” food ingredient. The FDA has pretty specific labeling rules that change all the time. Here’s a great resource to learn more about “scary” sounding ingredients: http://www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=What_s_in_Our_Food_Understanding_Common_Food_Ingredients

    • Totally valid point.

      What I was trying to convey and probably didn’t do very well at is that I shouldn’t need ingredient conversion charts to figure out what is in my food. Not all of these things can be found in a local grocery store. More along the lines of what I meant.

  12. Your Rx3 sounds like just the prescription!
    Oh puns – how I love you. But I’m seriously excited for this series.

  13. I can’t wait! This is right up my alley. My husband & I went on diets a while back that taught use to eat better, cleaner & I am trying to do this for my entire family, although I occasionally get some resistance from my 4 children. I’m still new to this, trying to remove processed crap out of my life & on a budget. My husband & I work full time while raising our gang, so on a budget is super important!

  14. This sounds great! Can’t wait!!

  15. Just in time! I’m in the process of replacing all my junky food with real food. I started with dairy because that’s pretty easy and am venturing into the flours. I can’t wait to learn more.

  16. Excellent idea, and I love how you designed it to be approachable. I know it will not disappoint! Looking forward to it 🙂

  17. Wish I had a goat’s gut! My daughter and I don’t but I am thankful that we figured it out while she was still pretty young.
    I am all about Rx3, so I am super excited about this series.
    And yes, hair before feet, cause stinky foot hair would keep me up all night.

  18. I am looking forward to your series. My family of 4 with another on the way currently only eats organic, real food and we are on a $300 a month budget. We cook almost everything ourselves and it doesn’t consume our lives. We are always looking for new ideas and things to try though and I love hearing that other people are giving it a go.

    p.s. Some of those foodie blogs scare me too because, while I am a stay at home mom, that means I am working the entire time I am home and don’t have 4 hours to prepare dinner. Do we still have a three course meal every night? Yep – veggies, followed by a starch and more veggies, sometimes a protein although I try to keep this lighter and keep our protein heavy meals to lunch and a fruit dessert. What is my average time for planning, prep and cooking? 35 minutes. Unless I have to put the acorn squash into the oven or something else that requires an hour at 400 degrees.

    Thanks for the series.

  19. Not sure if you have heard of Lucie’s List, but it’s another great blog, but aimed at baby topics. She is also really funny, like you, and recently she posted on her Facebook asking if anyone else would be interested in just this topic. Real food for real people. Over 1,000 people indicated they were interested (myself included), so I think you should send this to her. I feel like you two could team up well.

    Either way, I am excited about this. Also, I don’t actually know her, so if it’s weird, don’t blame me! 🙂 I don’t think it will be, though.

    (this is my 2nd attempt to post, so hope it’s not a duplicate)

  20. You know I HAD to Google cod liver oil pancakes? Maybe I should make some to help my brain power!
    Looking forward to this x

  21. I am so excited for this! My family has been on a real food journey for about two years, and people always seem to think that has to be so expensive. I’m happy I’ll be able to send them over here to see how it can be done!

  22. Love it. I don’t have diamonds on my timepiece either, but I am trying to make the switch to less processed foods. I’ve had the trouble that my kids are so used to store bread that when I bake it they complain and ask for the store whole wheat. Any thoughts on this? Or should I just tough it out and in time they will just get used to it? PBJ is our go to back up food, and it doesn’t do me much good if they won’t eat it. Blerg.

  23. My favorite guilty pleasure movie – 10 Things I Hate About You!

    Real food regulates your appetite and keeps you from getting hungry so fast. It’s also almost regulated my blood sugar again. I’ve gone from fasting levels of low to mid 200s in the morning to 130 to 150.

    To Adam’s point, just because the FDA says an ingredient is “safe” does NOT mean I want to eat it. I have done a TON of reading and educating myself this month and it’s made me VERY aware of what I buy. I’ve been hitting our farmer’s market every week, and I have local sources for my beef and pork (looking for one for chicken), and I’m going to place my first Azure Standard order in November – I found out they have a drop point about 15 minutes from my house – YAY! Costco has wild-caught USA-sourced shrimp and salmon, and a lot of organic items. If I never have to go to a grocery store again, I’ll be happy.

    We have also only eaten at restaurants about three times this month, which is a total change for us. And last week we went someplace that I thought would have been OK (Cheddar’s), because I got Tilapia with a fresh mango salsa. Later that week, I read where Asian seafood farmers (shrimp and tilapia) are feeding their stock pig shit. Ugh. I may stay out of restaurants for the rest of my life.

    Anyways, sorry to go on – this has been an eye-opening month for me. I’m looking forward to your series. Thanks for doing this!

  24. I’m looking forward to this series!

  25. The Lorde reference made me pee my pants… as do most of your posts. You never fail to make me smile!

    I am a graduate student living in an apartment with approximately 0.0 square feet of land to garden and 0.0 dollars to feed myself… I am soooo looking forward to this series! I’m already a daily reader but will be obsessively stalking your blog even more… sorry I’m not sorry.

  26. Excited, very excited. I have the same aims as you, here in London, but always get distracted by expensive cheese or smoked salmon and end up blowing my budget (currently 75 pounds a week, yours works out at 50 pounds a week btw, but mine includes wine and beer). So encouragement and tips would be great, because I don’t lack cooking ability, just motivation at times.

    But R x 3 – I’m sad you couldn’t work out another acronym to rival F.A.R.T.S. Get to it…

  27. Ten Things I Hate About You…love it! But seriously, I am really pumped for real food talk. My family just got hit with about 3 major life changes at once, and that has forced us to re-think groceries and budgeting for said groceries. I am really looking forward to whatever you have to share. And if you need someone else who is a busy mom to test recipes for you, just let me know. I am so on board!