As we near the end of our series, I just want to encourage you with a few more tidbits. Perhaps this month of posts on real food has you feeling like you really could make some changes in the way you eat. You’ve seen how it’s possible to fit real food prep into a busy schedule, you’ve got ideas for how to get your family on the same page, and you’ve got some great recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But in the back of your mind is the nagging question,
“Can I really afford the cost of switching over to real food?”
In this post I want to explain how you can actually save money on real food in 4 key areas:
First, real food saves you the cost of dietary supplements. When you’re eating whole foods, properly prepared, they provide so much more nutrition that all those pills and vitamins we’ve been taught are necessary. When you are slathering your veggies with butter, you’re encouraging better assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. When you sprout a seed or grain, the nutrition count skyrockets. When you make your own cultured dairy, condiments, and veggies you’re getting a wide range of beneficial enzymes and probiotics that aid digestion allowing proper absorption of everything else you’re eating. And the vitamins in food are recognizable and easily utilized by your body, whereas many supplements are made with manufactured nutrients that you can’t even absorb.
A friend called me just yesterday in distress because she simply could not afford the expensive probiotics she’d been encouraged to take. I calmed her by asking her to list all the cultured and fermented things she was eating regularly (kefir water, kombucha, and yogurt) and then, knowing she loves sauerkraut, promised her I’d make her a jar each of cordito and German sauerkraut when I tackle that cabbage I bought this week. It’s the same thing as the pills, but in food form, made from affordable ingredients as simple as cabbage!
The switch to whole foods, can actually shave you $100’s in dietary supplements.
The second big savings is in the processing.
- A quart of good quality milk costs anywhere from $0.75 to $2.50.
- Good quality yogurt made from whole milk costs upwards of $4.75 per quart.
Do you see where I’m going with this? If I am willing to heat that quart of milk and stir in one ingredient, I can save myself up to $4 with every quart of yogurt we consume! By simply being willing to prepare a portion of your food from scratch, you can save significantly on the cost of processing. What other foods can you easily prepare and save money on? Bone broth is another biggy–you use bones you would otherwise throw away, plus water, to make a real food superstar (while you sleep!), the equivalent of which would cost you $2.50 per 8oz. if you had to purchase it!
Switching to eating more real food can actually mean significant savings if you make the full switch from buying prepared foods to learning to cook for yourself. This principle applies across the board, from bread and cookies to veggies and condiments. Learn to prepare, process, and preserve your own food to trim your grocery budget even as you perhaps spend more for quality ingredients.
Back to the yogurt example. Every time you buy a carton of yogurt, you’re paying for a plastic container you throw away (or hopefully recycle). Every time you make homemade yogurt, you can use the same glass jar over and over and over again.
Switching to whole foods–stuff that can be purchased around the perimeter of your grocery store or from your local farmer–cuts down on the expense of all that fancy packaging you find in the center aisles. Buying in bulk from a co-op also means less containers, less plastic, less waste, and less cost. We rarely think about this expense, but it’s a hidden cost in nearly everything we buy!
Finally, I’ve saved the best for last. This one isn’t as easy to quantify, but it is probably the biggest place you’ll end up saving money as you embrace eating healthier. When you nourish your body well, your body will function the way God designed–your immune system will fight off disease, cells will regenerate, and you will have the energy to live a full, thriving life. You may feel so good, you’ll forget your doctors name. (Or, like me, not even have a doctor!)
I know that’s a hefty promise, and there are a lot of variables that will mean different outcomes for every family, but the general principle applies: eat healthier, and you’ll be healthier. Less trips to the doctor (or dentist), less co-pays, cheaper insurance, less anxiety, and a lot more time to enjoy life, your family and delicious, nourishing food.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, God has blessed our family’s health, and I believe real food has been a tool He’s used. My kids have never been to the doctor. We rarely get sick and when we do, our immune systems kick it within a few days. We have no allergies, no ongoing conditions, and no learning disabilities or behavior conditions. They are healthy and strong and mom and dad have the energy to keep up with them (most days!). Getting to this point takes time and commitment (we made the switch to a Weston A. Price inspired diet when my eldest was about a year old, so going on 6 years) and you may have to go through a season of a stricter, healing diet (like GAPS) but eventually I do believe you will find that a nourishing diet will have significant positive impact on your health.
I guess the real question is not “Can you afford to switch to real food?”, but rather, “Can you afford NOT to?”