Thursday, July 28, 2016

What Has Changed Since I Switched to Real Food

Here are a few things I have changed and the best bargain prices for what I buy in my area.
My son and I drink Raw Milk from A2 certified cows from a dairy in a neighboring town. The dairy is called Fond Du Lac and I buy it at Sprouts.
I am able to buy cheese from grass-fed cows or raw Cheese now and then from natural grocery stores nearby. Trader Joe's has raw Parmesan, Sprouts and Natural Grocer's sell raw or Grass-fed Cheddar Cheeses in my area.
We buy Kerrigold butter from Costco on a regular basis, which my husband loves.
I now get grass-fed Yogurt from my Natural Grocers down the street.
I make my own ice cream from Strauss Cream and Fond Du Lac raw milk.
I make my own milk kefir from Strauss whole milk(I had never heard of Kefir before my introduction to the 'Real Food Diet.')
I buy natural, nitrate-free, apple wood smoked bacon from Costco, since my husband prefers it to Applegate brand.
Now and then when I make a trip to Trader Joe's I pick up the Natural Nitrate-free Hotdogs, which is a special treat that I like to garnish with real sourkraut and mustard. Although we don't enjoy Applegate Hotdogs or bacon, we do enjoy Applegate Pepperoni on our homemade pizza and we do like Applegate Ham on our sandwiches. I get these from Natural Grocers or Target!
There is a Farmer's market a few miles away where I can buy pasture-raised chicken and I will roast them in my Crockpot to make shredded Chicken for salad or soup and then cook the bones in water to make stock.
I am able to buy grass-fed beef (which is frequently on sale) at my nearest Sprouts marketplace, but I always have to prepare it or freeze it right away, or it gets old tasting within a couple of days.
I am now able to buy a natural breakfast sausage at the Natural Grocer's down the street that just opened, I'm very excited to have more natural options increasingly more readily available at lower prices.
Fruits and Vegetables:
I buy organic produce if it is on sale close to the price of the regular produce, but if I can't afford Organic I just by the conventional fresh produce and trust the organic herbal tea and fermented cod liver oil I take to help flush the bad things out. (Not that organic produce doesn't have any chemicals and toxins too.) I also buy frozen berries and bananas at Costco so I can make smoothies whenever I feel like it.
Le Petit Demon:
I now buy Hansen's soda for my husband since he can't stand Zevia (which I don't blame him.) And we just didn't enjoy Kombucha, I grew a SCOBY and made Kombucha with Rooibos tisane, but it just got vinegary tasting too fast and we are not fans. I do have some water kefir grains I plan to hydrate soon and hopefully it will be enjoyable enough to replace the soda in our home completely. I get excited and stock up on Enjoy Life chocolate chunks whenever Sprouts has a good sale. I also buy Organic Lollipops and gummy worms to steer my son away from the conventional candy that is offered to him everywhere, but sometimes I can get him to eat organic raisins instead. (I buy the raisins in bulk at Costco.)
I use Real Salt while cooking because it melts into the food fine, but if salt needs to be added we use Celtic Sea Salt since it doesn't have the same grainy texture that needs to break down as in Real Salt. Thrive Marketplace has the best prices for these available to me.
I have started using fresh herbs when I cook but haven't managed to ever keep any alive yet. I always use fresh garlic when I cook and often add onion, most of the time I find food doesn't need much else.
I use Alter Eco Muscobado sugar that is basically Organic Whole Cane Sugar which I purchase from Thrive Marketplace, since whole cane sugar is hard to find in my area. I get my Raw Honey and Pure Maple Syrup from Costco. The only time I use regular Organic Sugar is when I am making something specific for my husband or someone else, or if a recipe calls for it- like Kombucha or Water Kefir. Those are my sweeteners, and I make my own Vanilla Extract. I buy Organic Powdered Sugar at Trader Joe's because frosting is a treat and it's just not the same without powered sugar!
I am more conscious about the ingredients list on my sauerkraut, pickles, olives and relish. I have even fermented my own Cabbage and cucumbers a few times. The same goes for other condiments, but we didn't care for homemade ketchup yet, I love my homemade mayonnaise, but my husband finds it too oily after a while.
I make my own hummus, so I bought a case of organic chickpeas from Jovial to use now instead of cooking them myself, since I loose my momentum during the process. With ready cooked bottled chickpeas, homemade hummus is a healthy snack that happens more often.
We also enjoy Jovial's sourdough crackers with hummus or on their own.
I buy Newman's Own Spelt Pretzels as another clean cracker-like snack option I get from Thrive Marketplace.
Whenever my son is craving the cheese gold fish everyone else seems to be giving their children, I buy Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies as a cleaner option, but I plan to try making my own with Einkorn as soon as I can find a good cutter. ( I found a recipe on the My  Humble Kitchen blog.)
My son also enjoys my homemade Graham Crackers recipe from The Homemade Pantry Cookbook.
I recently ordered and began using sourdough from Cultures for Health and making whole grain wheat sourdough bread, crackers, Tortillas, and biscuits. Most recently I ordered a grain-mill attachment for my stand-mixer and some Einkorn Wheat berries. I have been very happy with how I feel after eating Einkorn flour baked goods. I also order Jovial's Einkorn Wheat Pastas and bottled whole tomatoes from Thrive Marketplace.

These new organic and wholesome whole ingredients are more expensive than the conventional raw ingredients they replace, but when I factor in the gas and time used to go to restaurants and the greater cost of nice restaurant food in comparison to the quality of food and how it makes us feel. It seems worth it to me. I do make up some of the cost by making my own household cleaners, laundry soap, and personal hygiene products. I don't buy menstruation paraphernalia since I use a cup, I use recycled rags and towels instead of paper towels to houseclean (I do still have paper towels, but it takes more than a month to go through a roll.) So in the end, our cost of living has gone up some, but our quality of life has also risen. Really, I feel less and less worry about the good food and ingredients I buy with the higher price tag because I feel like I'm investing that money in myself and my family. That just feels right.

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