Friday, January 6, 2012

An Evolution: the Beginning

It's funny how one small change can snowball in to many big changes. 

I've always considered myself (and my family) to be healthy eaters. If you looked in our pantry a few months ago, it would look like most "healthy" Americans. Organic stuff, boxed stuff, a package of cookies here, white sugar (you know, for baking) there. In our fridge was some organic produce that we eat raw: spinach, celery and a few other items. 

It's always been in the back of my mind to do a little more. Maybe I could buy better milk than the mainstream organic, maybe we could buy raw cheese (and milk), and, just maybe, better meat was within our reach. 

Like it always is, money is an issue. We have been working diligently for a few years to be debt free by 2013 so sticking to a budget is a must. I was already spending $220 (I'm telling you this so you get an idea of what I was spending on commissary items and what I'm now spending on organic, free range, etc) so the thought of any more money spent on food was disheartening. 

A friend (hey Teresa!) asked if I had read the blog 100 Days of Real Food (I had not). Intrigued, I checked it out. After staying up way too late reading, I looked in the cabinet and started really reading ingredients of our stocked pantry. Our "healthy" bread, for example, had a list of ingredients that included three different types of sugar disguised as healthy things. Product after product of "healthy" things I was feeding my family just didn't sound so healthy after they were broken down. 

After a little thought, I figured I could do the ten day pledge without much trouble. Almost everything on the challenge list wasn't a problem so I decided to take it a step further.

 I chose to start with milk because it's irked me for a while. The nature of most "organic" brands is a a joke and a waste of money. It's almost always ultra-high pasteurized and void of any nutrition. Could I buy better milk and still stay within budget? I checked out my options: raw milk or lightly pasturized, non homoginized. I priced the raw milk from Full Quiver Farm and for my family to start drinking raw milk (about 3 gallons for the kids and one for the adults - 4 total) was going to cost about $600 (the break down is done by how many shares you have to buy + a few other costs). That is just out of the question right now. The next option is Natural by Nature milk in glass jars.

To make the milk happen and not go over budget, I hit the commissary with a strict list. I had to stay WELL under budget so I could afford the milk (total of about $32 for 8 quarts). I did just that and was able to afford the milk! I should mention I bought absolutely ZERO snack items. None. 

So, quickly, my next step in the evolution became solving the snack dilemma...

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